Duke seeking council seat in election

Published 8:44 am Monday, June 22, 2015

Merlin Duke, a resident of the city for 49 years, recently announced that he is a candidate for the Washington Parish Council for the District 3 seat.

Duke received his B. A. degree in education from Louisiana College in Pineville, and his master’s degree in special education was granted from Southeastern Louisiana College, along with a Plus 30 and certification as a speech and hearing therapist while he was employed with Bogalusa City Schools. He has also worked as a classification officer at WCI and as the patient advocate for LSU Bogalusa Medical Center.

He is retired and pledges to devote his time by being a full-time council member.

His wife, Eleanor Watson Duke, retired from teaching with 30 years at Bogalusa Junior

High School, and she serves as a school board member from District 2.

They have two grown sons, David Merlin Duke, an attorney and city prosecutor, and Damon Watson Duke, who works for Charter Communications and is married to former Bogalusan Nikki Stewart Duke. They have one son, Finn Gabriel.

Duke as been active in several local organizations, such as the Community Chest before it became the United Way, Key Club sponsor, Friends of the Library, Friends of the Cassidy Park Museums, president of ADAPT Inc. Board of Directors, along with being on the Board of Directors of the Elizabeth Sullivan United Methodist Church and co-chair of the church’s centennial celebration.

Currently, he is president-elect of the Rotary Club as well as being past president and assistant district governor of the Piney Woods Territory. He was selected as the Rotary President of the Year in 2008 in the 52-area-clubs in district 6840. He was selected as the 1974 Young Man of the Year, the 2008 Northshore Retired State Workers’ Volunteer of the Year, the 2014 AARP Volunteer of the Year, L’Heritage Francais founder, Zipper Club president, former vice president of Milltown Players and Nellie Byers Training Center’s Boards and former membership chairman of the Washington Parish Fair Association, when an automobile was the grand prize.

He currently is the secretary for the Washington Republican Parish Executive Committee. He served as Magic City Carnival Club’s King MCCA XVI.

His slogan is “Vision, Stewardship and Efficiency,” and he believes in fairness to all by treating citizens and parish employees with respect, searching for new ideas for improvement of government and focusing on the future and its needs. He thinks being passionate about the parish should be the desire of all its citizens and all voters should accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative in their respective communities.

It is his prayer to attempt perfect attendance at meetings and to contact the more than 3,500 voters in precincts 1, 4, 5, 5-B, 7 and 8 before the election on Saturday, Oct. 24.

He can be contacted at his home at 985-732-2366.