BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The news of Louisiana losing one of its state lawmakers is sudden and unexpected.
State Representative Alfred Williams from Baton Rouge died late Tuesday night at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. His friends and colleagues say he suffered from complications from knee surgery. People who were close to him are just as shocked that they will never see him again
Baker Councilwoman Joyce Burges looked for an old photograph. It is a reminder of a man she considered family.
Back in the 1970s, the councilwoman and her then boyfriend had a baby. They got married, but Burges didn't want her son to carry her maiden name. She needed an attorney, and a young Alfred Williams reached out and helped with the name change.
"Whenever there was any kind of thing needed to be done, notary or legal, Alfred was the friend to call," said Burges.
Burges knew Williams for nearly 40 years, last seeing him a couple of months ago at the Baker Walmart.
Shoppers at the store are still very familiar with Williams' final cause. That was calling for an investigation of the state's child services in July after Baton Rouge police found a 15-year-old, 47-pound boy living in absolute deplorable conditions.
"Child protection agency should have been more on top of what they was," said Dixie Clark, shopping at the Baker Walmart.
"It shouldn't be that way. So much has happened with these kids. It's just awful," said another shopper, Brenda Rome.
Williams also grabbed headlines this past legislative session. He was behind a bill changing the racial makeup of city court judges. Now the law, city court must be made up of two white judges, two black, and one at large.
Statements of condolences are pouring in from Williams' colleagues like Gov. Jindal, House Speaker Chuck Kleckley, and Williams' old political group, the Legislative Black Caucus.
"I am extremely saddened to know that I will never see him again," said Rep. Regina Barrow, D-Baton Rouge.
Both Rep. Barrow and Burges say they'll remember Williams for his passion for children, working to make their lives better.
"He was very passionate about what he believed in. He never gave up a fight," said Rep. Barrow.
"He loved children and families, and my heart goes out to his wife and his children and all of his family. We're praying for y'all," said Burges.