Walter Bertram "Bert" Hatten
|Mayor of West Monroe, Louisiana, USA|
July 1, 1966 – June 30, 1978
|Preceded by||J. Allen Norris (not related to Dave Norris)|
|Succeeded by||Dave Norris|
|Born||March 9, 1927|
Sikes, Winn Parish
|Spouse(s)||Mary Ann Henderson Hatten (born 1933)|
|Children||Beth Hatten Hinton|
Catherine Olivia Hatten
|Parents||William Earl and Pina Head Hatten|
|Residence||West Monroe, Louisiana|
|Alma mater||Ouachita Parish High School|
University of Louisiana at Monroe
Walter Bertram Hatten, known as Bert Hatten (born March 9, 1927 - d. 1 February 2005), is a former newspaperman who served for three terms as the mayor of West Monroe in Ouachita Parish in North Louisiana, a position which he filled as a Democrat from 1966 to 1978. He is perhaps best known for his editorial column, "Inside Straight", in The Ouachita Citizen, a weekly in West Monroe.
Hatten was born in Sikes in Winn Parish, Louisiana, to William Earl Hatten and the former Pina Head. The Hattens moved to West Monroe in 1940, where he lived for the rest of his life with the exception of his hears in the military. At the age of seventeen, Hatten entered the United States Merchant Marine during World War II; he served for three years. When the war ended, he was aboard the USS Grove City Victory, which was anchored in Tokyo Bay when General Douglas MacArthur accepted the formal surrender of Japanese authorities. Upon his return from the war, Hatten continued his education at Northeast Junior College, now the University of Louisiana at Monroe.
Hatten's career as a journalist began in 1948, when he was attending college. He joined the reporting staff at the former Monroe Morning World. He remained at the News-Star World for fifteen years. By the middle 1950s, before he was thirty, Hatten was the managing editor at the Morning World, since merged into the Monroe News-Star. In 1956, he hired Sam A. Hanna, Sr., subsequently an award-winning journalist and newspaper entrepreneur in his own right, as an outdoor writer for The Morning World. 
On January 1, 1965, Hatten purchased The Ouachita Citizen from the families of Lee Hawkins, Amos Hood, and Dewitt Henry. He penned "Inside Straight", an editorial column focused on the people, places and events in Ouachita Parish. The Ouachita Citizen, a weekly newspaper, began in 1924 as the West Monroe Churchman. He published The Citizen for twenty-one years. Hatten's daughter Beth handled the operations of the business. In 1986, Hatten sold The Ouachita Citizen to Bob Barton, an employee of the Ruston Daily Leader in Ruston in Lincoln Parish. After a time in West Monroe, Barton later bought the Bossier Press-Tribune in Bossier City. In 1995, he was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives from Bossier Parish in northwestern Louisiana and served one term in the chamber.
In 1963, Hatten was heavily involved in the campaign to return former Governor Robert F. Kennon to the state's highest office.
On June 14, 1966, Hatten was handily elected mayor of West Monroe. He succeeded fellow Democrat J. Allen Norris, who served from 1952 to 1966. He defeated the Republican nominee, William Green "Billy" Haynes, Jr. (1912-1984), also a West Monroe insurance agent, 2,490 votes (68 percent) to 1,171 (32 percent). Five Democrats were elected with Hatten to serve on the city council. One of those aldermen, Charles Anding, a trade union official, was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives in 1987 from District 15, which encompasses West Monroe. Another alderman, Truett Thorn, was a coach at West Monroe High School and the older brother of the Louisiana journalist Dale Thorn, another alumnus of the Monroe newspapers. Altogether, Hatten served with twelve city council members, all men.
Hatten often joked that his only experience in municipal government prior to his election as mayor had been in covering city council meetings for the Monroe newspapers. He hence relied on advice from seasoned mayors, W. L. "Jack" Howard of his sister city of Monroe and Clyde Fant of Shreveport, and other mayors from such smaller communities as Bastrop and Columbia. Hatten noted that Monroe and West Monroe, separated by the Ouachita River, never developed the animosity sometimes associated with other twin cities but instead took pride in the strength of each other.
During his tenure as mayor, Hatten oversaw the rebuilding of every street in West Monroe and the upgrading of the water and sewer systems, including the installation of the first sewage treatment plant. He also worked to upgrade the West Monroe Fire and Police departments and to construct Downing Pines Industrial Park, He supported the establishment of the West Ouachita Industrial Park. Under his administration a modern City Hall, Corrections Center and Convention Center were built on the former site of the Ouachita Valley Fair Grounds located on North Seventh Street. The new city complex was completed during the last days of the Hatten administration. He never occupied the new facility, at which his successor, Dave Norris, was sworn in and began his ten terms as mayor.
In 1971, West Monroe streamlined its municipal charter and expanded the powers of the mayor. Under Hatten's tutelage, the city constructed a new City Hall, police department, jail, and convention center on the former Ouachita Valley Fairgrounds.The West Monroe justice complex is modeled after a plan developed for the needs of smaller cities by the University of Illinois. West Monroe was the first municipality to follow this particular model.
In 1998, in a series of articles written for The Ouachita Citizen, which reflect on his time as mayor, Hatten said that he had received invaluable support from the general public as well as volunteers who helped to make city programs succeed. Hatten said that he has often received credit that should have been shared with others.In 1978, Hatten did not seek a fourth term as mayor and was succeeded by Dave Norris, a fellow Democrat and then a professor at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, who remains mayor and was unopposed in 2014 for a tenth four-year term.
Memberships and awards
Hatten served as president of the West Monroe Chamber of Commerce and was the recipient in 1962 of the Jaycees "Young Man of the Year Award". In 1988, he received the A. O. Evans Award. He is a member of the West Monroe Masonic Lodge No. 419, 32nd degree Scottish Rite and York Rite Bodies and Barak Shrine Temple.
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- Colvin, John (2 February 2005). "Former newspaperman Hatten dies". News-Star. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
- "Click Walter Hatten, March 1927". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved May 22, 2014.[permanent dead link]
- Cannon, Chuck (28 March 2004). "A newspaper man with natural instincts (profile article)". The News-Star. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
- "Membership in the Louisiana House of Representatives, 1812-2016" (PDF). house.louisiana.gov. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 6, 2014. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
- "About the Ouachita Citizen". hannapub.com. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
- The Hanna family also owns and operates the Concordia Sentinel in Ferriday/Vidalia and the Franklin Sun in Winnsboro, Louisiana, the birthplace of Sam Hanna, Sr.
- "William Green Haynes, Jr". findagrave.com. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
- On February 1, 1972, W. G. "Billy" Haynes, Jr., a pioneer of the Louisiana Republican Party, ran as the Republican nominee for Louisiana Commissioner of Insurance. He was handily defeated by the Democrat Sherman A. Bernard of Jefferson Parish.
- Lake Charles American Press, June 15, 1966, p. 10
- "West Monroe High School (Class of 1983)". e-yearbook.com. Retrieved May 17, 2014.
- "Jesse Dale Thorn". Baton Rouge Morning Advocate. Retrieved May 17, 2014.
- "Bert Hatten: Neighborly relations remembered, 1998". The Ouachita Citizen. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
- Gordon E. Harvey, Historic Ouachita Parish: An Illustrated History. HPN Books, 2007, p. 44. Retrieved October 29, 2013. Search this book on
- "West Monroe Mayor Norris to deliver commencement at ULM, April 25, 2014". Monroe News-Star. Archived from the original on May 22, 2014. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
J. Allen Norris (not related to Dave Norris)
| Mayor of West Monroe, Louisiana
Walter Bertram "Bert" Hatten
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