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Ivory J. Payne Honored with 40-80-40 Celebration

By Stephanie Ashton Anthony


Baton Rouge, Louisiana - Bishop Ivory J. Payne was honored with a 40-80-40 Banquet, which was held recently.  The gala event featured the mayor of Baton Rouge as keynote speaker, words of encouragement from a sitting judge, songs of tribute, and proclamations from elected officials.


The 40-80-40 festivities mark Payne’s 40 years as a newspaper publisher, 80th birthday and 40 years of pastoral service. 


The celebration held at Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church on Scenic Highway was abuzz with excitement beginning with the invocation by Rev. Donald Montgomery.  Lela Kelly directed the event as Metro Councilwoman Chauna Banks-Daniel presented a proclamation from District 2 and related personal childhood memories of kindnesses shown to her by First Lady Cassie M. Payne and the Payne family.   “Majestic”, his church praise team and a tribute song by “Revelation” provided music for the program.  Bishop Payne is a true Scotlandville fan but few guest realized he had established a quartet during his early days and named it the Scotlandairs.  The other original member Ben Brashear wowed guest with a rendition from the mike.  


Children Ivory and Derek spoke on behalf of themselves and their siblings Delphine and David about growing up in the Payne household.    Elected officials including but not limited to President Pro Tempore of the Louisiana Senate Sharon Weston Broome, State Representative Yvonne Dorsey-Colomb, and State Representative Regina Ashford Barrow, Baker Mayor Harold Rideau, Baker Councilman Dr. Charles Vincent, Metro Councilwoman Donna Collins Lewis and East Baton Rouge Parish School Board Member Vereta Lee presented proclamations and awards. .


Bishop Payne also received recognition from Southern University for his years of service as a campus policeman.  At one point during his career he was shot 5 times, however he survived his injuries and worked until retirement. 


Not only were awards and accolades received by Bishop Payne but they were given, in the form of Impact Awards presented to people such as Walter Dixon, editor of the Weekly Press, veteran photographer and archivist James Terry III, and first intern and activist writer, yours truly, Stephanie Anthony.


First Circuit Court of Appeals Judge John Michael Guidry offered words of encouragement to Bishop Payne.  Baton Rouge Mayor Melvin “Kip” Holden served as the keynote speaker.  The Scotlandville native reflected on how the prolific newspaper publisher was an influence in him pursuing a media career before his legal and political career.  With a big smile and a hug he made Bishop Payne honorary Mayor of Baton Rouge while presenting him with a certificate and a metal.

Some 40 years ago Ivory Payne began publishing the Scotland Press, which later went citywide and became The Baton Rouge Weekly Press.  Over the past 40 years the paper has documented community, parish, state, regional and national news and events.  It has had 5 editors and is part of the Black Publishers Association where Ivory Payne currently serves as vice president. 


It was 40 years ago when Ivory Payne answered the ministerial call and became assistant pastor of Greater New Galilee Baptist Church before becoming pastor of St. Mark Baptist Church, later New Philemon Baptist Church & New Bethel Baptist Church until he organized New Birth Full Gospel Ministries, 13 years ago.  The National Holy Trinity Baptist Association ordained him to bishop in 2010 and in 2011 he was appointed to oversee the Northeast District.   


Bishop Ivory Payne was born in Chamberlin, Louisiana in 1935.  He moved to Baton Rouge in 1951 and attended Scotlandville High School where he befriended and later married his wife of 55 years.  At the close of the program Bishop Payne thanked everyone; embraced First Lady Cassie gave her a kiss and proclaimed his love for her. 


Publisher for 40 years, 8 decades of life, 40 years in the ministry rolled up into an evening to remember for Bishop Ivory J. Payne, his family, friends, and associates.

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