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Checking in on a former LAGCOE Looey

Don Briggs

Don Briggs staked a claim to a career in the oil industry while he was in college in the 60s. In the course of over four decades, he owned and operated several oilfield services companies. He’s seen more than his share of upticks and slumps in the industry. In the 90s, when the industry was on shaky ground, he worried whether it could survive the barrage of bureaucratic state and federal taxation. It compelled him to step away from his business in Lafayette and be a voice for the industry at the state Legislature.

With the help of eleven others, Briggs established the Louisiana Independent Oil & Gas Association in 1992 (what later became Louisiana Oil & Gas Association- LOGA) and became its president.

Representing the independent and service sectors of the oil and gas industry for 26 years, Briggs created incentives for the industry’s growth, warded off tax increases at all levels, and educated the public and government of the importance of the oil and gas industry to the state of Louisiana.

His crusades have found him in meetings with Fortune 500 businessmen, politicians and dignitaries of all walks of life and have brought him special friendships like that with former President George W. Bush.

His efforts to enhance the industry, including shrimping and oyster fishing, while protecting the environment has put him in the forefront of heated issues like the ongoing Coastal Management Zone law suits against oil and gas companies.

Perhaps the industry toughened him for one of the biggest battles of his life. After nearly dying from a fall in 2016, he recovered eight months later and went on to work until his retirement last year.

By that time, LOGA had grown from the original 12 to nearly 1,500 members.

Briggs doesn’t put much stock into awards, but he is proud of his new license plate, Louisiana the Energy State, the first issued this year and bearing the number “1,” which he was gifted for proposing the idea years ago.

Now in a new phase of his life, he has become an enthusiastic gardener, raving over his organic vegetables like he had never been the man who was integral in boosting the petrochemical industry through the Haynesville Shell project.

His work as a Eucharistic minister in a hospital has made him realize a calling to help those who are very ill and have lost hope – a feeling he remembers well. His new vocation has taken him to visit patients from Abbeville to Lafayette and as far as Jacksonville. Reflecting, Briggs says, “Cardinal Timothy Dolan told me after my accident that I was blessed [in surviving] to do work. I think this is what he meant.”

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