Former Lake Charles Mayor Ed Watson has died

Published: Sep. 21, 2016 at 10:20 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 22, 2016 at 2:00 AM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Former Lake Charles Mayor Ed Watson died on Wednesday after a lengthy illness.

He was 73 years old.

Watson, who was mayor from 1985-1989, was instrumental in the creation of the Chennault Industrial Airport, which has helped contribute to the area's economy. Watson testified before Congress and the Louisiana Legislature as part of that process.

Current Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach called Watson a mentor who "met everyone with a smile."

"I remember Ed as a man who thoroughly enjoyed serving the people of Lake Charles, the legislative process, and the role of mayor as an ambassador of the city...He was a good friend and mentor to me personally and professionally. Shortly after I was elected, he told me to focus on the basics; to remember that my first responsibility was to the residents of the city; and never forget that we were part of a five-parish region," he told KPLC.

Roach said as mayor, Watson helped the city "to recover from the 1980s recession.

"In four short years, he balanced the city's budget, helped create the Chennault Industrial Airpark, managed the regional effort that supported four-laning Highway 171 to Shreveport, convinced Boeing to open an aircraft maintenance facility at the new airpark, and helped create a new business climate that has contributed to much of the economic success we enjoy today," he said.

Arrangements are pending but will be handled by Johnson Funeral Home.

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