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Phyllis Taylor Donates Lt. Gen. Lejeune Statue to Marine Corps Support Facility New Orleans


Phyllis Taylor Donates Lt. Gen. Lejeune Statue to Marine Corps Support Facility New Orleans

25 Sep 2023 | Lance Cpl. Sarah Pysher U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve

A sea of green gather for the start of a ceremony in the large foyer illuminated by the sun shining through the large glass doors leading in. Small chatter booms and echoes through the hall while Marines stand waiting to see this historic event take place. As the audience shuffles into their places, a hush falls over Marine Corps Support Facility New Orleans, Sept. 20, 2023.

Towering over every Marine, Sailor and civilian, his bronze eyes watch over any who passes through the doors of the building. Dressed sharply in his World War I era dress uniform, Lt. Gen. John A. Lejeune stands steadfast on his podium, forever adjusting his glove with a slight smile donned on his chestnut face.

Lejeune was born in 1867 to a Confederate Army captain in Point Coupee Parish, Louisiana. During his long life of 75 years, Lejeune served in the military for 40 years leading multiple units through military efforts such as the Spanish-American War, the Cuban Campaign, and World War I. He became the 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps in 1920 and retired from service in 1929. Lejeune’s service to his country and Corps has shaped and defined all Marines, past, present, and future, who have come after.

Patrick F. Taylor, a Beaumont, Texas native, joined the Marine Corps during his sophomore year at Louisiana State University under the Platoon Leaders Course officer training program. Due to a heart condition, Taylor was unable to continue his service and was honorably discharged in 1959. Taylor graduated from LSU with a degree in petroleum engineering. After many years working in this field, Taylor formed Taylor Energy Co. in New Orleans which has become one of the larger independent oil companies in the Gulf of Mexico. He married Phyllis Miller Taylor in 1965 and, with her, founded the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation in 1986. This foundation enables low-income youth to attend college based on their ability to learn, not their ability to pay. The foundation has successfully given millions of children the opportunity to pursue a college education.

“The Marine Corps has always held a special place in my heart, I think they happen to be the branch of the military that distinguished themselves above and beyond all others.”Phyllis M. Taylor

Mr. Taylor died Nov. 6, 2004, at the age of 67. Although Taylor was unable to serve in the Marine Corps how he wished, the couple found their own way to fulfill their calling to serve the U.S. military. Mrs. Taylor explained how her husband decided to have these statues built as a tribute to Lejeune so that all will remember the contributions he has made to society.

One of six statues now sits guarding the doors of the Marine Corps Support Facility New Orleans’ Hall of Heroes, on behalf of Mr. Taylor. She explained the statue used to stand at the Taylors’ ranch in Mississippi, but Hurricane Katrina destroyed most of the sheds, statues and equipment stored there. After sifting through the aftermath and ruins that the storm left behind, Taylor found Lejeune standing tall with minimal damage. After making restorations to the statue, she took it down from its place in Mississippi to replace it with one a statue of Mr. Taylor.

“I started to think about ‘Well where should this go? I can’t just put it in hiding,’” Taylor said. “And this (Marine Corps Support Facility New Orleans) was the natural answer.”

For more than 40 years, Mrs. Taylor has served on boards of numerous organizations. The Taylors have been generous donors to the Marine Corps, including Toys for Tots, Marine Corps Birthday Ball fundraising campaigns, and have donated statues and restorations in numerous states. Taylor has continued to donate and has been named the 76th Honorary Marine in 2013.

“The Marine Corps has always held a special place in my heart,” Taylor said. “I think they happen to be the branch of the military that distinguished themselves above and beyond all others.” said Taylor.

With Taylor’s benevolent gift, every person who will pass by the statue will remember the dedication Lejeune had and the fundamental mindset he put forward in shaping the Marine Corps:

“Let each one of us resolve to show in himself a good example of virtue, honor, patriotism and subordination, and to do all in his power, not only to maintain, but to increase the prestige, the efficiency, and the espirit of the grand old Corps to which we belong.”

WHO WE ARE: Marine Corps Support Facility New Orleans provides administrative and support functions to seven tenant commands: Marine Forces South, Marine Forces Reserve, 4th Marine Division, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, 4th Marine Logistics Group, Force Headquarters Group, and Network Activity - Reserve. Located on a 29-acre secure compound in the historic New Orleans neighborhood of Algiers, the facility is anchored by the 411,000-square-foot Lt. Col. Joseph J. McCarthy Building, named after the Iwo Jima Medal of Honor recipient. The support facility serves as a workplace for more than 1,800 Marines, civilians, and contractors, and also as a Reserve drill location for several Marine Corps Reserve units.