Louis McDonald, IM 1948


Louis McDonald, IM 1948


This is a Living History interview with Louis F. McDonald conducted by Marilyn Somers on February 29, 1996, at his law office in Atlanta, Georgia. The subject of the interview is student life at Georgia Tech. Mr. McDonald was born in Cleveland, Georgia on October 12, 1925. When he was five years old his father moved his family to Atlanta. He remembers living near the estate of Charles Ottley and the scandal when he was kidnapped. After his freshman year of high school he contracted polio and he was bedridden for a year and paralyzed below the waist. He believes that he was very lucky that he did not have any serious problems because of it. He now has Post-Polio Syndrome that causes him some physical problems. Once he was recovered his father sent him to military school at what is now Marist. Once he graduated he went to Georgia Tech as part of the Navy's V-12 program. He started Tech in July of 1943. He went year round, having both Tech classes and Navy training. He remembers George Griffin was the Executive Officer for Tech and he wore his Navy uniform to school. He was in the same unit as Griffin's son Clayton. He remembers that he had weekend "liberty" but that he had to go to class on Saturday. He had a brief graduation in the Fox and then he was sworn into the Navy. When he was commissioned he was assigned to the USS Altamaha. Once he got on the ship he was seasick from California to Hawaii. The war was over when he graduated so his ship was part of the "Magic Carpet Fleet" that brought troops back from the Pacific. He extended his tour of duty so that he could remain on his ship while it worked on the atomic bomb tests on Bikini Island. His ship transported the bombs to the island from Hawaii. He was only 5 miles from the underwater blast site and he was one of the first people there afterwards. He says that one night on the pacific he decided to return to Tech and finish his degree and then go to law school. He says that he loves Tech and thinks that it is a great school. He returned to Tech and finished his degree in Industrial Management. He finished Tech in December of 1947 and started Emory Law School the next month. He went to Emory full time and graduated in spring of 1950. After law school he got a job with Bryan, Carter, Ansley & Smith, one of the best law firms in Atlanta. Then he took a job as an Assistant Attorney General for Georgia. He held this job until 1970 when he left to start a private practice. During this time he moved to Colonial Homes apartments and met his wife who lived next door to him. Mr. McDonald's passion is genealogy. He has traced his ancestors in this country back as far as 1608. His great-great-grandfather was governor of Georgia from 1839-1843. He concludes the interview by recounting his extensive family tree.


1996 February 29