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Moon Landrieu
7th United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

In office
September 24, 1979 – January 20, 1981
President Jimmy Carter
Preceded by Patricia Harris
Succeeded by Samuel Pierce
56th Mayor of New Orleans

In office
May 4, 1970 – May 1, 1978
Preceded by Victor H. Schiro
Succeeded by Ernest Nathan Morial
Member of the Louisiana House of Representatives
In office
Preceded by J. Marshall Brown
Succeeded by Eddie Sapir
Personal details
Born Maurice Edwin Landrieu
July 23, 1930(1930-07-23) (age 92)
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Verna Satterlee
Children 9, including Mary and Mitch
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 1954–1957

Maurice Edwin Landrieu (born July 23, 1930) is an American lawyer and politician who served as the 56th Mayor of New Orleans from 1970 to 1978. A member of the Democratic Party, he represented New Orleans' Twelfth Ward in the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1960 to 1966, served on the New Orleans City Council as a member at-large from 1966 to 1970 and was the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under U.S. President Jimmy Carter from 1979 to 1981.

Early life and career

Landrieu was born in Uptown New Orleans to Joseph Geoffrey Landrieu and Loretta Bechtel. Bechtel was of German descent, with grandparents who came to Louisiana from Alsace and Prussia. Joseph was born in 1892 in Mississippi, the son of Frenchman Victor Firmin Landrieu and Cerentha Mackey, the illegitimate child of a mixed-race black woman and an unknown father.[1]

Mitch went to Jesuit High School and won a baseball scholarship to Loyola University New Orleans, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in business administration in 1952 and a law degree in 1954. As an undergraduate, he was elected student body president at Loyola. In 1954, he joined the United States Army as a second lieutenant and served in the Judge Advocate General's Corps until 1957. Upon completion of army service, he opened a law practice and taught accounting at Loyola.

In the late 1950s, Landrieu became involved in the youth wing of Mayor deLesseps Morrison's Crescent City Democratic Organization. Running on Morrison's ticket, Landrieu was elected by the 12th Ward of New Orleans to the Louisiana House of Representatives in 1960 to succeed J. Marshall Brown. There he voted against the "hate bills" of the segregationists, which the Louisiana State Legislature passed in the effort to thwart the desegregation of public facilities and public schools.

In 1962, Landrieu ran for New Orleans City Council and lost but, in 1966, he was elected Councilman-at-large. In 1969, he led a successful push for a city ordinance outlawing segregation based on race or religion in public accommodations, an issue that had been addressed nationally in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. As councilman, Landrieu also voted to remove the Confederate flag from the council chambers and voted to establish a biracial human relations committee. He succeeded with both votes.

Landrieu as mayor

Landrieu was elected Mayor of New Orleans in the election of 1970 to succeed fellow Democrat Victor Schiro. His opponent in the Democratic primary runoff was Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Jimmy Fitzmorris. Landrieu won by assembling a coalition comprising 90 percent of black voters and 39 percent of whites. Perennial candidate Addison Roswell Thompson, the operator of a taxicab stand and a member of the Ku Klux Klan, also ran again for mayor in the Democratic primary, but polled negligible support. In the general election, Landrieu defeated Ben C. Toledano. In that contest, Landrieu received 99 percent support from black voters.

On May 3, 1970, the day before he took his oath of office as mayor, Landrieu received a death threat by telephone, but authorities quickly caught the culprit.[2] During his tenure as mayor, Landrieu oversaw desegregation of city government and public facilities as well as encouraging integration within business and professional organizations. Before Landrieu was elected, there were no high-ranking black employees or officials in City Hall; he worked actively to change this by appointing African Americans to top positions, including Chief Administrative Officer, the number two position in the executive branch of city government. When Landrieu took office in 1970, African Americans made up 19 percent of city employees; by 1978, this number had risen to 43 percent.[3] He also appointed Reverend A. L. Davis to fill a temporary vacancy on the City Council; Davis was the city's first black city councilor. Landrieu also employed an African American assistant: Robert H. Tucker, Jr.[4]

Landrieu obtained federal funds for the revitalization of New Orleans' poor neighborhoods, and he promoted the involvement of minority-owned businesses in the city's economic life. Like his predecessor, Landrieu presided over continued suburban-style growth in the Algiers and New Orleans East districts, with Algiers essentially built-out, having exited its greenfield development stage, by the end of his administration. Landrieu was also involved in the planning and construction of the Louisiana Superdome, the Piazza d'Italia, and other projects designed to improve the economy of New Orleans. He advocated the creation of the Downtown Development District to revitalize the New Orleans CBD, and worked to promote the city's tourism industry. His tourism-related projects included the Moon Walk, a riverfront promenade facing the French Quarter, the Louisiana Superdome, as well as renovations of the French Market and Jackson Square.

By the midpoint of Schiro's mayoral administration, an accelerating number of building demolitions were approved and other projects were also being contemplated, such as the elevated Claiborne Expressway and Riverfront Expressway segments of I-10. Landrieu authorized the 1972 New Orleans Housing and Neighborhood Preservation Study. Most of that study's recommendations were enacted by Landrieu, including the 1976 establishment of the Historic District Landmarks Commission ("HDLC"), which extended design review and demolition controls for the first time to parts of New Orleans outside the French Quarter .[5] In this period, Congress passed federal tax incentives favoring the rehabilitation of historic buildings. Combined with the founding of HDLC, New Orleans had hundreds of historic tax credit-subsidized redevelopment projects in the ensuing decades, representing hundreds of millions of dollars of new investment.

During 1975–1976, Landrieu served as president of the United States Conference of Mayors. He was reelected in 1974 and served until April 1978. After leaving office, he was succeeded by Dutch Morial, the city's first openly black mayor. Landrieu was the last white elected mayor of New Orleans until his son Mitch was elected in 2010; however, Landrieu, however, is of one-eighths African ancestry.[1]

After city hall

After leaving office in 1978, Landrieu served as Secretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). President Jimmy Carter appointed Landrieu to this post during a major reshuffle in which he reassigned Patricia Harris to replace Joseph A. Califano Jr. at the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. Carter chose Landrieu for the position in order to draw Catholic Democrat voters away from Ted Kennedy in the upcoming 1980 Democratic Party presidential primaries.[6] Landrieu served as judge of the Louisiana 4th Circuit Court of Appeals from 1992 until his retirement in 2000. In 2004, Landrieu was inducted in the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame in Winnfield. His personal papers are archived at Loyola University New Orleans[7] and the New Orleans Public Library.[8]

Personal life

Moon is the father of former U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu and former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Mary was inducted into the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame in 2007.[9] The family is Catholic.

See also

  • Timeline of New Orleans, 1960s–1970s


  1. 1.0 1.1 "BATISTE: Mitch Landrieu Hides In The Shadows Of Race" (in en-US). 2018-03-19. 
  2. "Moon Landrieu's life threatened", Minden Press-Herald, May 4, 1970, p. 1
  3. Morial retains racial mix inherited from Landrieu, The Times-Picayune, May 6, 1980.
  4. Eckstein (2015), p. 136.
  5. "Wholesale demolition is a discredited approach", The Times-Picayune, February 6, 2010.
  6. Pious, Richard M. (2008). Why presidents fail. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. ISBN 978-0-7425-6284-4. OCLC 213080311. 
  7. "Moon Landrieu Collection". 
  8. "Mayor Moon Landrieu Records, 1970-1978". 
  9. Winnfield, La - Old L&A Depot, LA Political Museum Archived 2009-07-03 at the Wayback Machine.


  • Baker, Liva. The Second Battle of New Orleans: The Hundred Year Struggle to Integrate the Schools. Harper Collins, 1996.
  • Eckstein, Barbara (2015). Sustaining New Orleans: Literature, Local Memory, and the Fate of a City. Routledge. ISBN 1135403325. 
  • Hirsch, Arnold and Joseph Logsdon. Creole New Orleans: Race and Americanization. LSU Press, 1992.
  • Perez, Dawn Watts. "Moon Landrieu: Reflections of Change." UNO Masters Thesis, 1996.

External links

Unrecognised parameter
Preceded by
J. Marshall Brown (D)
State Representative, New Orleans' Twelfth Ward
Succeeded by
Eddie Sapir (D)
Political offices
Preceded by
James Fitzmorris (D) & Joseph DiRosa (D)
Councilmembers at Large, New Orleans

Moon Landrieu (D) & John Petre (D)

Succeeded by
James Moreau (D) & Joseph DiRosa (D)
Preceded by
Victor Schiro (D)
Mayor of New Orleans
Succeeded by
Ernest "Dutch" Morial (D)
Preceded by
Patricia Roberts Harris
U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Served under: Jimmy Carter

Succeeded by
Samuel Riley Pierce

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