Former New Orleans Mayor, Moon Landrieu passed away on September 5th, 2022. Landrieu was New Orleans first bi-racial mayor (1970-1978). Landrieu’s great great grandmother, Lurena, was a slave to William Clarence Mackie and had a daughter named Harriet with Mackie. Harriet’s daughter Ciryntha, married Victor Fermin Landrieu in Mississippi, who moved the family to New Orleans after the 1896 Homer Plessey ruling. Explained in The Hayride
The Homer Plessey ruling was the beginning of segregation based on the 1/32 blood rule. The phrase “Passe Blanc” meaning “Pass for White” would often be used during this time. The Landrieu family’s experience in New Orleans with the phrase “Passe Blanc” as Moon Landrieu moved in politics is discussed in Mitch Landrieu’s book.
As New Orleans first bi-racial mayor, Landrieu carried on and completed many of the integration programs of his predecessor Mayor Victor Schiro, who served from 1961-1970.
Mayor Morrison, Moon Landrieu’s mentor, refused to integrate schools during his terms. In 1960, the famous Ruby Bridges event with nationwide, ending when President Eisenhower ordered Federal Marshals to escort her to school.
Schiro integrated New Orleans schools and City Hall during his term, transitioning New Orleans from segregation to integration. Schiro campaigned in 1965 to build the Superdome, passing a bond measure to obtain the land, widen Poydras Street, and create the Central Business District. The Dome opened in 1973.
Moon Landrieu would continue the development of many of Schiro’s business programs. During Schiro’s terms: Jazzfest was started, the NFL granted New Orleans the Saints football franchise, and Mardi Gras Super Krewes were founded. In the 1960s, NASA opened in Michoud and New Orleans Square opened in Disneyland.
Under Moon Landrieu, the population of New Orleans decreased from 593,00 in 1970 to 577,000 in 1980. Today the city’s population is 377,000 and ranked 53rd in the US. Under Landrieu, New Orleans moved from being a home to oil & gas companies to a focus on tourism.
Moon Landrieu erected monuments to Mayor Morrison and New Orleans National Guard Unit known as the Washington Artillery, using their Civil War Cannon. The Washington Artillery monument was removed in August 2022, with the City Council claiming it was erected as a sign of White Supremacy.
As explained in The Hayride.