St. Landry DA Earl Taylor announces retirement. We revisit his career.

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OPELOUSAS, La. (KLFY) — “Mr. District attorney. Champion of the people. Defender of the truth.”

From his very earliest memories of radio specials in the 1940s with his family to his high school student-elections, 27th Judicial District Attorney Earl Taylor knew his dream.

“I didn’t want to be a legislator, I didn’t want to be attorney general,” he told KLFY today after announcing his February 2020 retirement. “I wanted to be district attorney.”

Thirty-six years after high school, he ran for that position in his home parish…and lost. Four years later, 58-year-old Earl Taylor finally was elected as St. Landry’s district attorney.

“I hope my legacy is that this is someone who cared for us, and this somebody who really wanted to do the right thing,” he said.

For 23 years, Taylor lived his dream, turning the lives of young people around, and even ending a deadly gang. That he said was truly memorable. He also admitted making mistakes. His hardest decisions involve the death penalty and trying minors as adults.

“Those are decisions that I made on my knees,” said Taylor. “They are really, really hard decisions. What is the right thing to do? What does justice require?”

But Friday morning, Taylor announced he’s stepping down as district attorney February 1, 2020. He said it’s the hardest thing he’s ever had to do after 40 years of service (17 years as Assistant D.A. and 23 years as D.A.).

“I mean I’m leaving my dream,” said Taylor. “I’m leaving where I want to be, but I know it is the best thing for me and it’s the best thing for St. Landry Parish.”

Taylor’s first assistant, Charles Cravins will fill the position until the next election. Cravins said he plans to run for office continuing Taylor’s values.

“I just cannot let someone take over this office that won’t feel the same way, won’t do it for the same reasons,” said Cravins.

Taylor said he didn’t get into the position by himself.

“So many people reached out, helped me, supported me, encouraged me, that I just want to say thank you to those people,” said Taylor. “They have helped me live my dream. Thank you St. Landry.”

When asked what’s next, Taylor said he plans to be an unpaid consultant for the parish, practice private law, and play swamp pop with his band.

Even though he won’t be sitting at the district attorney’s desk much longer, Taylor said, he’ll be helping in the community as long as he is able.

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