1986 was a historic year in Opelousas. In November the city election was held with historic results when John Wilfred Joseph (1933-2017) was elected Mayor of Opelousas. Joseph the son of Reverend Adam Joseph and Julia Lee Jones, was born in Plaisance, LA, and later moved with his family to Opelousas. He graduated with honors from St. Landry Training School in 1951, and furthered his education at Leland College, Southern University, USL, LSU and Clark Atlanta University. He married Cecile Catherine Slaughter in 1955; the couple had eight children. He worked for the St. Landry Parish School System for 32 years serving as teacher, coach, guidance counselor, assistant principal, principal, supervisor and director of federal programs. Following his retirement, he ran for mayor and won the election in November of 1986. Joseph was reelected to a second term in 1990 and served until 1994 when he retired.