The American flag outside Baton Rouge City Hall flew at half staff Monday afternoon in honor of Charles Kelly, a former East Baton Rouge Parish metro councilman who died Saturday.
Mayor-President Kip Holden ordered the flag lowered to honor his former colleague and friend, whom he said was “one of the best people who’s held office here in Baton Rouge.”
Kelly, 74, was a lifelong Baton Rouge resident who grew up in the Zion City neighborhood. He graduated from Scotlandville High School and Southern University with a degree in business administration.
Kelly served as a metro councilman from 1997 to 2008. He represented the council’s District 5, which generally represents the Delmont, North Highlands, Glen Oaks, Lanier, Sharon Hills, Merrydale and Greenbrier areas of East Baton Rouge Parish.
Friends of Kelly remembered him for his enthusiasm and work to support his collegiate alma mater.
“The Jaguar Nation mourns the loss of Mr. Charles Kelly, an accomplished community leader,” Southern University System President Ronald Mason Jr. said in a statement.
“Mr. Kelly was a dedicated Southern University alumnus and loyal friend who gave back to his alma mater in many ways.
“He was a staunch booster and fan of Jaguar sports and athletics. His legacy will live on through his generous support of SU.”
Kelly leaves behind his wife, Bobbie Lacey Kelly, and his three adult sons Charles Jr., Rodney and Brandon.
Holden said Kelly was a “man of his word” who improved District 5 but also thought about what was best for the parish as a whole.
“He’ll go down as one of the greatest people that’s ever served on this council,” Holden said. “He compromised when you needed to compromise, but he could also take a stand for something he believed in.”
The completion of the widening of Ford Street in 2011, part of Holden’s Green Light Plan road improvements project, is a testament to Kelly’s commitment to improving north Baton Rouge infrastructure.
Holden said Kelly, who was a councilman when the project was being planned, fought passionately to secure funding for the widening, which was controversial among his constituency.
“A lot of things happened in Zion City because of the infrastructure that he stood there and fought for,” Holden said.
Kelly retired from the Louisiana Training Institute, now Jetson Center for Youth, and worked as a real estate business broker for 29 years.
Funeral arrangements are pending.