Saturday, February 6, 2010

The last white mayor of New Orleans

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.)


Ash said...

It is a pretty interesting story. I didn't really know anything about Landrieu. I'm glad they're finally getting rid of Nagin. Maybe the city can finally take steps to get back on track.

9thWardChick said...

I voted early in the election (as I just returned to the city after work-related travel), but I did not like my choices at all. Mitch Landrieu won because he had no viable opposition. He lost four years ago for a reason, but Mr. Nagin's negligence, and lack of viable (Black, White, Hispanic, Asian or otherwise) opponents set-up Mr. Landrieu's win. I was not around during Moon Landrieu's tenure, but one thing I know, Mary (his Senator sister) and Mitch I'm not really impressed with either one at this point.

I am hoping that the city made the right choice and we can finally have true leadership, I'm hoping but I am not convinced.
I have stayed with this city when I could have left easily. I love this city, but it seems we can't get a break on electing someone who is a good, honest leader with vision and the ability to get the job done.
I'm willing to give Mr. Landrieu a chance but his sister will not have my vote anymore. I'm done with that Landrieu.

DeAngelo Starnes said...

Nagin stunk. I really envy your stay in the Big Easy. The year before I began attending law school, I spent seven weeks down there as part of a DOJ trial team. Had the time of my life. Here's a link to my most recent piece. It's about NOLA. Let me know if there's more or less to add:

maria said...

what about the impact of the other landrieu, mitch sister, state sen. mary?

uglyblackjohn said...

A sign of the times;
A gay mayor in Houston, a white mayor in the ATL, a white mayor in NOLA and a Black President.

Davis Rogan said...

66% , no runoff, hit the ground running.
This mayor gets and supports the music and film industries.