Friends, colleagues reflect on Steve Carter's impact in and out of politics
BATON ROUGE – Twenty-four hours after the announcement, there’s still an emotional hole in Baton Rouge politics with the death of Steve Carter. The former state lawmaker and mayoral candidate died from COVID-19. He was first hospitalized earlier this month. Those that knew him say his legacy will live on through his many accomplishments.
“When I saw the phone last night and saw who it was I had a bad feeling, it was pretty sad,” said Conrad Appel.
Appel worked closely with Carter for 11 years in the Capitol. Appel was the Head Chair of the Senate Education Committee, and Carter was the Head Chair of the House Education Committee.
“I don’t want to say that it was not a surprise, but we knew that he was not doing particularly well,” said Appel.
The two lawmakers made a big impact on the education system together. They wrote and championed an overhaul of the state’s entire educations system, creating uniform standards in early education to set students up for success.
“When it was over for a couple of years we went to conferences, he and I both, to tell the rest of the country what we had done here, how important it was,” said Appel.
Carter also had an impact in Baton Rouge outside of politics.
“He’s incredibly liked in the world of tennis,” said Andy Brandi, the co-head coach of the LSU men’s tennis team.
Carter played on the team and was the captain for two years while at LSU. He returned to coach in the 70’s where he helped the team excel.
“He was SEC coach of the year twice, and he set a standard to be the first coach to take a team to the NCAA’s for LSU,” said Brandi.
Steve Carter's name is on two plaques in the LSU Tennis Facility. One for his coaching achievements and one as a player, which he visited and signed himself.
”While he was in the hospital our men’s team sent him a video to him hoping he would get well and have the opportunity to see him again, unfortunately, we lost him,” said Brandi.
Many are feeling the weight of that loss.
"Our last conversation was around Christmas time, we were planning to have lunch when the holidays were over. That's obviously not going to happen,” said Appel. “He’s gone now so that’s a shame.
Appel is in talks with other lawmakers to see if there is something they can name after Steve Carter. He says something preferably having to do with education.
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