Joe Cornelius Sr.
He is the second African American in nearly a quarter century to succeed directly from the Minden City Council to the mayors position after an unexpected vacancy developed. A native of Minden, Cornelius is one of five children of the late Sidney and he graduated from the former historically black Webster High School in Minden, since incorporated into the desegregated Minden High School. At one time, he resided in The Bronx borough of New York City, where some of his children live, and in Shreveport. He owns Mr. Joes Ice Cream truck delivery in Minden, Cornelius has long been involved in such community affairs as the annual Christmas and Martin Luther King Jr. parades, and Black History Month each February. As a city council member, Cornelius worked for additional street lights, including the lighting of school zones, water and sewer projects and he is a former deputy for the Webster Parish Sheriffs Office and a former member of the parish Office of Community Services. Cornelius is a past recipient of the Distinguished Service Award presented by the Minden branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, in 1998, he received a humanitarian award from the Association of Black Social Workers for the North Louisiana Region. Cornelius is a steward and choir member at Mt. Zion CME Temple and he is also a member of the Masonic lodge. Cornelius is married to the former Jacquelyn Williams and he has three living children, including Joe Cornelius Jr. A daughter died in 2013 during his mayoral campaign, a Democrat, Cornelius through his role as Mayor Pro Tem became mayor in June 2013, upon the death of long-term mayor Bill Robertson. After Robertsons death, the council voted three-to-two, along racial lines, before his death, Robertson, also a Democrat, had recommended that the city council choose as the next mayor Marvin Thomas Tommy Davis, a Republican. First elected in 2006, Davis was the only Republican on the current city council, Davis, also a businessman, is a native of Stephens in Ouachita County in south Arkansas. In the special election held on October 19,2013, to fill the remainder of Robertsons term, a third candidate, Walter Woo Morgan, Jr. an African-American barber and hair stylist who operates a shop at the intersection of East Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Minden, polled the remaining 646 votes, on July 15,2013, the council named Wayne Edwards as the interim District A member to succeed Cornelius. An African American, Edwards had been the runner-up to Cornelius in the 2010 primary election for city council, prior to Cornelius, the seat had been held by Rodney Dale Seamster, who died in office in April 2010. Edwards then won the seat in the special election over the African-American Republican candidate. Earlier from 1991 to 1995, Cornelius represented District B on the Minden City Council, in 1992, Cornelius claimed that the city had long neglected District B in regard to drainage, street lights and repairs, police patrols, and the large number of dilapidated houses. In calling for mass repairs to houses in the district, Cornelus clashed with both Mayor Robertson and District E council member Tyrus Lamar Ty Pendergrass, a Republican and later Independent, Robertson accused Cornelius of playing politics on the housing issue. In 1994, Cornelius led the move on the city council to rename Maiden Lane as Martin Luther King, drive in honor of the civil rights figure
Oscar James Dunn was one of three African Americans who served as a Republican Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana during the era of Reconstruction. In 1868, Dunn became the first elected lieutenant governor of a U. S. state. He ran on the ticket headed by Henry Clay Warmoth, formerly of Illinois, after Dunn died in office, then-state Senator P. B. S. Pinchback, another black Republican, became lieutenant governor and thereafter governor for a 34-day interim period. He was born into slavery in 1826 in New Orleans, as his mother, Maria Dunn, was enslaved, he took her status under the law of the time. His father, James Dunn, had freed in 1819 by his master. James was born into slavery in Petersburg, Virginia and had transported to the Deep South in the forced migration of more than one million African Americans from the Upper South. He was bought by James H. Caldwell of New Orleans, Dunn worked for Caldwell as a skilled carpenter for decades, including after his emancipation by Caldwell in 1819. After being emancipated, Dunn married Maria, then enslaved, by 1832, Dunn had earned enough money as a carpenter to purchase the freedom of his wife and both children. They gained the status of free Blacks decades before the American Civil War, as English speakers, they were not, however, part of the culture of free people of color, who were primarily of French descent, Catholic religion and culture. James Dunn continued to work as a carpenter for his former master Caldwell and his wife, Maria Dunn, ran a boarding house for actors and actresses who were in the city to perform at the Caldwell theatres. Together, they were able to pay for education for their children, having studied music, Dunn became both an accomplished musician and an instructor of the violin. Oscar Dunn was apprenticed as a man to a plastering and painting contractor. On November 23,1841, the contractor reported Dunn as a runaway in an ad in the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Dunn must have back to work because he progressed in the world. Dunn was an English-speaking free black in a city in which the caste system was the underpinning of daily life. Free people of color had been established as a class of merchants, artisans. However, American migrants from the South dismissed their special status, classifying society in binary terms, Dunn joined Prince Hall Richmond Lodge #4, one of a number of fraternal organizations that expanded to New Orleans, out of the Prince Hall Ohio Lodge during the 19th century. In the latter 1850s, he rose to Master and Grand Master of the Eureka Grand Lodge which became the Louisiana Grand Lodge, author and historian, Joseph A. Walkes, Jr. a Prince Hall Freemason, credits Dunn with outstanding conduct of Masonic affairs in Louisiana
Eddie Jordan (attorney)
Eddie Jack Jordan Jr. was the district attorney for Orleans Parish, Louisiana from 2003 until 2007, when he resigned. A member of the Democratic Party, Jordan was the first African American to have held the elected position. He announced his resignation on October 30,2007, when a court rendered a judgment against his office on behalf of white employees that the D. A. had earlier dismissed on account of their race. Jordan was born to Mr. and Mrs. Eddie J. Jordan Sr and he grew up in the middle class Pontchartrain Park neighborhood of the Ninth Ward of New Orleans. He graduated from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut in 1974, after being admitted to the bar and practicing in Pennsylvania for some four years, Jordan returned to Louisiana in 1981 to teach law at Southern University in Baton Rouge. He became a member of the Louisiana bar the following year, in 1984 Jordan returned to New Orleans to serve as assistant U. S. attorney under then-U. S. Attorney John Volz, a Republican appointed by U. S. President Ronald W. Reagan, in 1994, Jordan he was named United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana by his fellow Democrat, President Bill Clinton. As U. S. Attorney, he supervised the prosecution of Governor Edwin Washington Edwards which resulted in the imprisonment of Edwards, Jordan has been criticized for not also having indicted former U. S. Representative Cleo Fields as an Edwards conspirator despite Federal Bureau of Investigation video showing Fields stuffing $20,000 into his pockets, Jordan became a well-known figure on television with his trademark moustache and derby hat. In 2001, Jordan retired as U. S. attorney to enter private practice, on November 5,2002, Jordan was elected district attorney to succeed the retiring Harry Connick Sr. Jordan defeated fellow Democrat Dale Atkins,62,155 votes to 57,977. In the October 5 primary, six Democrats and one Republican had filed for the office, the combined Democratic candidates polled 98 percent of the primary vote in the historically Democratic city and parish. Ray Nagin said that the city cannot pay the judgment rendered to the white employees. On March 30,2005, Jordan was found liable for discrimination by a federal jury for the mass firing of forty-three white employees immediately after he took office. These employees were replaced almost entirely by African Americans, as a result of Jordan being found liable while acting in his capacity as a public official, the Orleans Parish District Attorneys Office was required to pay $2.4 million to the plaintiffs. Jordan lost an appeal of the case, while he was celebrated for his supervision of the Edwards trial, Jordan has not garnered similar praise for his performance as district attorney. Under Jordans reign, the murder and attempted murder conviction rate was only 12 percent in 2003 and 2004 and his office also had an overall prosecution rate of only 7 percent Jordan has also faced widespread criticism for releasing suspects in high-profile murder cases. In July 2007, Jordan released Michael Anderson, a suspect in the murders of five teens. Jordan said that his office was unable to find a key witness in the case, as of mid-2007, many in New Orleans had voiced complaints about Jordan regarding the low conviction rates of murderers at a time of rising violent crime