|Born:||October 9, 1930|
Harahan, Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, USA
|Died:||March 25, 2014 (aged 83)|
Ochsner Medical Center, Jefferson, Louisiana
|NFL draft||1952 / Round: 17|
|Louisiana State Representative for Jefferson Parish|
|Louisiana State Senator for Jefferson Parish|
|Political party||Democrat / later Republican|
|Spouse(s)||Betty Valker Lauricella|
|Children||Francis Lauricella Jr.|
|Alma mater||Holy Cross High School (New Orleans)|
University of Tennessee
|Occupation||Real estate businessman|
|Branch/service||United States Army Corps of Engineers|
Francis Edward Lauricella, known as Hank Lauricella (October 9, 1930 - March 25, 2014), was a real estate developer from suburban New Orleans, Louisiana, a college football legend, and a member of both houses of the Louisiana State Legislature.
Lauricella was a Hall of Fame player for the Tennessee Volunteers football team. He represented Jefferson Parish as a Democrat in the state House from 1964 to 1972 and then in the state Senate from 1972 to 1996. On his retirement, he was succeeded in the state Senate by the Republican Art Lentini.
Born in Harahan in Jefferson Parish, Lauricella was one of three children of John L. Lauricella Sr. and the former Theresa Sherling. He was a star player at Holy Cross High School in New Orleans, which he had entered as a boarding student in the fifth grade. His team there won the city championship in 1947 with use of the single wing offense.
After Holy Cross, Lauricella attended the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, where he earned in 1952 a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. He played under Coach Robert Neyland from 1949 to 1951 as a member of the 1950 and the 1951 National Championship teams. Lauricella gained national attention as the running back in the single wing offense, at the time that most schools had switched to the T-formation. At that position, Lauricella was responsible for the majority of the rushing and passing. Because of his skill at both aspects, Lauricella was dubbed "Mr. Everything".
The led the Volunteers to a 10-1 season in his junior year and victory in the 1951 Cotton Bowl. Tennessee went undefeated during the regular season of his senior year, won the SEC title, and was named national champion before losing to the University of Maryland at College Park in the 1952 Sugar Bowl. During his senior year, Lauricella was a repeat all-SEC player, was named an All-American, and was the first runner-up in the Heisman Trophy voting to Dick Kazmaier of Princeton University. He played one year of professional football, for the Dallas Texans in 1953. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1981, the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 1982, the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 1983, the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame in 2005, and the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in 2013.
From 1953 to 1955, Lauricella was a first lieutenant in the United States Army Corps of Engineers, with a year of commitment to South Korea. He returned to Harahan in 1955 to join his father and his brother, the late John Lauricella Jr., in the family business, John L. Lauricella and Sons, which focused first on residential real estate and subsequently on commercial enterprises. The business is now known as the Lauricella Land Company. His son Louis Lauricella of New Orleans joined the firm in the late 1980s and worked with his father in recent years.
Lauricella first served in the state House in 1964 as a Democrat, when there were only two Republicans in the legislature, and then in the state Senate in 1972, when all thirty-nine members were Democrats. He later became a Republican, whose party ranks soared to majorities in both houses after 2012.
Lauricella was particularly interested as a legislator in economic development and transportation. He supported the interests of the Greater New Orleans area, including the now Mercedes-Benz Superdome, The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, Louis Armstrong International Airport, and the Port of New Orleans. He served on the boards of the original Dome Stadium Commission, the Port of New Orleans, the World Trade Center New Orleans, and the Jefferson Business Council. He was the first chairman of the board of the Jefferson Community Foundation.
Lauricella married his college sweetheart, the former Betty Valker, who survives him. In addition to Louis Lauricella and wife Connie Jo, the couple has four other children, Francis Lauricella Jr., and wife Mary of San Francisco, California, Elizabeth Lauricella McStravick and husband Peter of Katy, Texas, Marc and wife Kyle Lauricella of Wilton, Connecticut, and Christopher Lauricella and wife Ellen of Los Angeles.
A funeral mass for Lauricella was held on April 2, 2014 at St. Rita's Catholic Church, 7100 Jefferson Highway in Harahan. The obituary does not list a place of interment.
One of Lauricella's nephews, John L. "Jay" Lauricella III (1953-2017), a general partner in the family-owned Lauricella Land Company, died at the age of sixty-three aboard his boat, DUKE, while on vacation in Destin, Florida. He is inurned at Lake Lawn Cemetery in New Orleans.