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Governor Allain’s portrait set to complete Hall of Governors

Inside the state capitol building in Jackson (Photo by SuperTalk Mississippi News)

If you’ve been to the Hall of Governors on the first floor of the Mississippi Capitol, you would’ve seen a gap between the 58th and 60th Governor portraits.  That gap will finally be filled in January with a portrait of former Governor Bill Allain.

Allain served as the 59th Governor of Mississippi from 1984 to 1988, after being attorney general for four years. Never one for the spotlight, Allain chose not to sit for a portrait while he was living. Brandon Presley, Public Service Commissioner for North Mississippi, who knew Allain well, says that he was one of a kind and explained why there had been no portrait for so long.

“He just didn’t want it done. He literally said to me one time ‘portraits are for dead folks’ and he was not going to sit to have a portrait done,” Presley said. “He had his own way of doing things, and I think in some ways he thought it was a frivolous expenditure, but I think toward the end of his life he realized that having been Governor, something needed to be done.”

There has always been a gap left for a portrait of Allain, in chronological order between Governors William Winter, Ray Mabus, but now Presley is proud to be a part of completing the Hall with the portrait of his friend.

“Everybody that goes to the Hall of Governors that knows anything about Mississippi history always says ‘why doesn’t Governor Allain have a portrait?’ So hopefully ow that piece of history will be complete,” Presley said.

Pontotoc native, Robbie Boyd painted the portrait based on a photo that Allain himself selected later in life. However, Boyd said that Governor Allain’s private nature presented some problems as the number of photographs was limited because he did not like to be photographed.

The painting is finished and has been delivered to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, and it is scheduled to be unveiled on January 29, 2018.

The Natchez native Governor passed away in 2013 at the age of 85.



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