Joseph Sampite'
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Joseph Michael Sampite'

Funeral services for colorful long-time Natchitoches mayor Joe Sampite' will be conducted Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. at the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Natchitoches with interment immediately following at Memory Lawn Cemetery in Natchitoches, LA. Visitation will be Monday from 4:00 to 8:00 pm at Blanchard St. Denis Funeral Home. A rosary will be held at 7:00 pm during the visitation.

Sampite', who died Friday at the age of 81, served five terms as mayor of Natchitoches from 1980 until his retirement in 2000. He was known for wearing white socks, a carryover from his coaching career before becoming mayor, and for the "I Love Natchitoches" stickers that he distributed by the thousands over the years.

Born in New Orleans in 1931, Sampite' received a business education degree from Northwestern State University in 1959. He served in the National Guard and U.S. Air Force before beginning a career in teaching and coaching. Sampite' was a successful basketball and baseball coach at St. Mary's High School in Natchitoches and Jesuit High School in Shreveport.

After retiring from his education career, Sampite' became one of the most effective and dynamic mayors in Louisiana history. He was instrumental in bringing the filming of the movie "Steel Magnolias" to Natchitoches and was at the forefront of downtown revitalization and the development of a vibrant tourism industry in the city.

Natchitoches was recognized in national publications during Sampite's tenure as mayor as a leading site for tourism in Louisiana and the South and as one of the nation's most attractive communities for retirees.

As mayor, he expanded the city's recreation program and police and fire departments and spearheaded major improvements in infrastructure and the community's airport. He guided the annexation and development of a corridor from the city to Interstate 49 that increased the size of the city by 40 percent.

Sampite' served as president of the Louisiana Municipal Association and was the first recipient of the statewide organization's President's Award. While serving as mayor, Sampite' was selected by The Shreveport Times as one of the Top 100 Influential People in Northwest Louisiana.

Inducted into the Louisiana Political Hall of Fame in Winnfield in 2002, Sampite' was also inducted in 2000 into the Northwestern State University Hall of Distinction, or Long Purple Line, the university's highest honor for alumni.

During his political career, Sampite' was profiled in the prestigious magazine, "The Oxford American," in an article entitled "No Ordinary Joe."

He received numerous other honors, including Man of the Year Awards from the Natchitoches Parish Chamber of Commerce, Natchitoches Jaycees and the Louisiana Parks and Recreation Association. He was a life member of the Chamber of Commerce, Knights of Columbus, American Legion and Founders of Natchitoches.

The former mayor was an active member of Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church as well as many local groups during his retirement such as the Agitators, The Gerousia and the Coach Ledet Coffee Club.

Sampite' was preceded in death by his parents, Dr. Alphonse J. Sampite', and Bathilda Guillot Sampite'; his wife, Hazel Barnes Sampite'; daughter, Sharon Elizabeth Sampite'; along with many of his siblings: Albert Sampite', Eleanor Sampite' Dimmick, Leona Sampite' Hernandez, Grundy Sampite', Kelly Sampite' Poche, Cecilia Sampite' Morford, Michael Sampite' and Mary Sampite' Lacour. He is survived by his son, Chris Sampite' and wife, Daphne Gray Sampite', and their sons Michael and Ryan Sampite'; daughter, Sheila Sampite' Hardin and husband, Lt. Col. Alan Hardin, and their sons Daniel and Andrew Hardin; daughter, Michaela Marie Sampite'; and his grandchildren, John and Allison Van Hoof along with siblings: sisters, Sally Logan of Alexandria and Marielise Sampite' Brosset of Cloutierville, brother, A.J. Sampite', Jr. of Hemet, CA.; and close friend and companion Sue Vercher.

Pallbearers will be Marvin Brosset, Charles Lee, John Van Hoof, Gary Deblieux, Lawrence Fuller, Mike Poche, Terry Sampite' and Frank Cicero. Honorary pallbearers include Aubrey Logan, Charles Wurster, Sam Friedman and Wayne McCullen.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent to the "Joe Sampite' Scholarship Fund" at the Northwestern State University Foundation.

Online condolences may be given at

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Shreveport Times on May 20, 2012.
Memories & Condolences
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12 entries
May 14, 2020
I still think of Coach very often. He was more than a coach, teacher, and mentor to me. He was a dear friend and like a second father. I miss him very much!
Tim Looney
May 14, 2019
I think of Coach often still and miss him very much! He was a wonderful man and a great influence on my life and the lives of so many others.
Tim Looney
May 22, 2012
I have know Mayor Sampite for 20 or more years. Him being a board member for MERS, I got to know what a sweet and wonderful man he was. Always supporting the City of Natchitoches no matter where he went. Handing out Natchitoches stickers, giving Christmas light bulb necklaces to the ladies, he was always joyful and a delite to be around. I will sure miss him and he will always be remembered.
Will be praying for the family.

Janet Stevens
Baton Rouge, LA
May 21, 2012
I remember Coach Sampite as our civics teacher at Jesuit Shreveport back around 1963. We always had some "spirited" discussions. He will always be remembered as Coach.

He will be missed and I keep both Coach and his family in my prayers.

Larry Markaverich
Jesuit '66
Broken Arrow, OK
Larry Markaverich
May 21, 2012
What a wonderful man! True to family, friends, colleagues, community. We loved and will miss him.

Clem & Martha Henderson
Clem Henderson
May 21, 2012
Natchitoches may have been the first permanent settlement of the Louisiana Purchase, but it was Mayor Joe Sampite who put Natchitoches on the map. I was a former (1984) Natchitoches Bureau Chief for The Times in Shreveport, and the Mayor -- with his white socks, "I Love Natchitoches" lapel stickers and colorful personality -- was a great character to cover. He was always gracious, always fun to be around and had enthusiam that lit up any room. He was, in essence, a friend to all. -- Don Walker, (Communications Director for Brevard County Government, Viera, Fla.)
Don Walker
May 20, 2012
Joe was a dear friend for many years and was respected and admired all over the state for his contribution to the folks in Natchitoches and to the people of Louisiana. He was a Mayor's Mayor. Other public officials throughout the state looked to Joe for advice on how to run their cities. He always had a big smile and a kind word. Joe was a supporter, an adviser and a friend, and I send my deepest condolences to his family. We will miss Joe, but we will always remember him.
Jim Brown
May 20, 2012
To the Sampite family, my condolences for your great loss. I will miss him greatly. He touched my life in so many ways! I loved him like a father. He was one of a kind. I'm so glad I was able to talk to him just a few days before his passing. I think he must have called to say good-bye.
Tim Looney
May 20, 2012
Joe has a model citizen. He coached me at St. Mary's. I thought he was great.
May 20, 2012
I was so very sorry to hear about Mr. Joe's death. To me he WAS Natchitoches and he always brought a smile to my face. I will miss seeing hiim around town.
May 20, 2012
To the Sampite family, We share in your lost of a loved one. Being a native of Natchitoches, I knew Joe as a well loved Mayor and Coach. God has accepted another member to his Heavenly Home.
John T. Adams
May 20, 2012
Joe loved Natchitoches and Louisiana. We could use more Joe Sampite's in the world.
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