It’s election day in New Orleans. Even though the city is caught up in Super Bowl fever... plus, of course, being smack in the middle of Mardi Gras season... today’s mayoral primary is a pretty big deal.
Chances are, New Orleans will have its first white mayor since 1978. Mitch Landrieu has been polling far ahead of his competitors.
Interesting thing is, Landrieu ran four years ago against incumbent Mayor Ray Nagin, who by then was a national joke for his handling of Hurricane Katrina.
The way the story is told, Mitch Landrieu lost in 2006 because old-line white New Orleanians simply loathe the name “Landrieu.”
Because Mitch’s father, Moon Landrieu – the last white mayor of New Orleans – did so much to empower black people. The “progressive” Mayor Landrieu appointed many blacks to public office.
On the flip side, while many black New Orleanians respect the Landrieu name, they were reluctant in 2006 to return the keys of City Hall to a white man. Black voters went four-to-one for Nagin in the runoff.
Times change. If Mitch Landrieu wins today’s election, it’ll be because of black support. As this campaign ad illustrates.
I’m finding that New Orleans has a fascinating political history. Would you like to hear a little of it from the mouth of Moon Landrieu himself?
I’m streaming a 3-minute excerpt of a 1974 Moon Landrieu interview on my Vox blog. Click here to listen. (Certified kosher for Black History Month.)