Larry Joseph Bennett

Larry Joseph Bennett made the world’s best fried chicken and a mean martini.

Yes, he accomplished many other things, but the quality of his fried chicken and vodka martinis cannot be overstated.

Larry’s life began in Bay St. Louis on July 14, 1938. He was born the youngest of three children to Jesse and Verina Moran Bennett. For the most part, he grew up in the Clermont Harbor community. He attended Bay Middle School and graduated from Bay St. Louis High School in 1956 and furthered his education at Pearl River College. His employment began in the mailroom of Stennis Space Center, and he later became the Vice President of Baily’s Insurance Company. After Hurricane Camille, Larry felt compelled to move back home to help rebuild his family home for his father.

In 1975 he went on a blind date that would be life changing. He met and immediately fell in love with Joan and her “3 snotty nose kids,” as he often affectionately referred to them. They began to build their life together on January 10, 1976, after a small ceremony at their home. Together they opened the “Chick A Boom”, fried chicken restaurant in Bay St. Louis. He was also elected to the Finance Commissioner Post. In 1977 he was elected Mayor of Bay St. Louis, and this would be the job he loved the most. Mayor Bennett served 2 terms and was proud of his achievements. He was Mississippi’s first Mayor under the Mayor-Council form of government. Mayor Bennett was also the first Mayor in Mississippi to have an African American Police Chief and Fire Chief. Another notable accomplishment was the Main Street Project where the illustrious Bay St. Louis streetlamps are still admired. In 1978 his best accomplishment was born, and she was named after his father, Jesse. He has also served as a Cabinet Member to Governor Cliff Finch and more recently a Board Member of the Housing Authority.

Larry, alongside of his wife, their home often served as a community gathering space year round. Often people would stop by to catch a bite of a home cooked meal or to have a “smidge” on the patio. They were known for their open house parties on New Year’s Eve and other family traditions.

Larry was devoted to his family and is survived by his wife of 47 years, Joan Corso Bennett, that he affectionally referred to as “his Lady,” four children: Albert J Brignac Jr. (Donna), Bryan K Brignac, Sr. (Theresa), Desiree Brignac Sutton (Lance), and Jesse Bennett Shiyou (Kenny). He was also survived by his grandchildren: Cory, Kristian, Justin, Sherell, and Keith, and great-grandsons Tristan and Hudson. And of course, Cody, his four legged companion. Larry was preceded in death by his parents and sisters Alecia Dell Bennett Starita and Reba Bennett Scortino.

Larry was always known as a southern gentleman, and a sharp dresser with fancy socks and a lover of spray paint and rope lights. He enjoyed gardening and cooking, and when asked about hobbies, his answer was always "my wife." Larry worshipped at Our Lady of the Gulf, and his faith was an important part of his life.

The family would like to extend a warm thank you to Enhabit Health, especially to his hospice nurses Jennifer & Peyton and aide, Amy.

Visitation will be Tuesday, May 30th at Our Lady of the Gulf Church from 10:00am – 11:00am and Mass will be at 11:00am. A celebration of Life will be held in his honor at the 100 Men Hall from 1:00pm – 4:00pm where we hope to tell stories in his memory. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

As Larry always said, “Here’s to it!”

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