James C. “Jim” Beam
Jim Beam was born in Cameron, Louisiana on October 7, 1933. A life long resident of Lake Charles, he is a 1951 graduate of LaGrange High School. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from McNeese State University in 1955, served in the U.S. Army from 1955 to 1957, and taught in the Calcasieu Parish School System from 1958 to 1961. Beam obtained his Master of Arts in American History from Louisiana State University in 1962. Beam became a reporter for the Lake Charles American Press in 1961. He was promoted to city editor in 1965, to co-editor in 1982, and became editor in 1992. He began to cover the Louisiana Legislature part time in 1968 and full time since 1975. Since that time he has written regular political columns which have won awards from the Louisiana Press Association, the Louisiana-Mississippi Associated Press and the Louisiana Medical Society. His publications include “Positively Beaming”, a collection of 110 of Beam’s favorite columns, and “A Matter of Trust”. In 2000, Jim Beam was selected by the Advertising and Press Club to be the first “Lake Area Legend” and in 2010 was awarded the Hector San Miguel Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in Journalism. Although officially retired from his position of editor since 1999, Beam continues to cover the Louisiana Legislature and write editorials for the American Press.