We cannot resist using a line that was first uttered when Jimmy Fitzmorris was a boy. He was the happy warrior of our political battlefield, a man known and treasured in every corner of Louisiana and particularly in his hometown of New Orleans.
Jimmy Fitz served three terms on the City Council, only narrowly losing a bid for mayor of New Orleans. And he served two successful terms as lieutenant governor, working the state and using his business background to recruit new companies.
He grasped the potential of the hospitality industry to New Orleans early on, to its lasting benefit. And he made friends in his inimitable style from one end of Louisiana to the other. He died at age 99 having mentored generations of others in public life.
In the histories, he may be defined by his losses: The narrow loss to an incumbent mayor, then missing the 1979 runoff for governor by only a few thousand votes.
A lifelong Democrat, he then endorsed his Republican primary opponent in the runoff and served in Gov. David C. Treen’s administration. Service didn’t depend on party label with Jimmy Fitz.
For those who know him, and that took in practically everybody in public life in Louisiana over many decades, he was defined by his gift for friendship and limitless optimism about the future of Louisiana and New Orleans.
He will be missed, and his example more so.