Allan Ellender was born in Montegut, Louisiana, on 24th September, 1890. After graduating from Tulane University, New Orleans, in 1913, he was admitted to the Louisiana Bar and worked as a lawyer in Houma.
A member of the Democratic Party, Ellender served in the House of Representatives in Louisiana (1924-36) . He was elected to the Senate in 1936.
A strong opponent of McCarthyism Ellender was one of the first senators to attack the tactics of Joseph McCarthy. In the Senate Ellender served as chairman of the Committee on Claims and as a member of the Committee on Agriculture and Forestry.
Ellender remained in the Senate until his death at the Beshesda Naval Hospital, Maryland, on 27th July, 1972.
When Ralph Flanders of Vermont attacked McCarthy, the Senate was as silent as it was some weeks earlier when Ellender of Louisiana made a lone onslaught and Fulbright of Arkansas cast the sole vote against his appropriation. Only Lehman of New York and John Sherman Cooper (R.) of Kentucky rose to congratulate Flanders. Nobody defended McCarthy, but nobody joined in with those helpful interjections which usually mark a Senate speech. When the Democratic caucus met in closed session, the Stevenson speech was ignored. Lyndon Johnson of Texas, the Democratic floor leader, is frightened of McCarthy's Texas backers.