Moon Landrieu

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Moon Landrieu
Moon Landrieu official portrait.jpg
7th United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
In office
September 24, 1979 – January 20, 1981
PresidentJimmy Carter
Preceded byPatricia Harris
Succeeded bySamuel Pierce
56th Mayor of New Orleans
In office
May 4, 1970 – May 1, 1978
Preceded byVictor H. Schiro
Succeeded byErnest Nathan Morial
Member of the Louisiana House of Representatives
from the 12th district
In office
Preceded byJ. Marshall Brown
Succeeded byEddie Sapir
Personal details
Maurice Edwin Landrieu

(1930-07-23) July 23, 1930 (age 89)
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Verna Satterlee
Children9, including Mary and Mitch
EducationLoyola University New Orleans (BA)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army
Years of service1954–1957

Maurice Edwin "Moon" Landrieu (born July 23, 1930) is an American politician from Louisiana who served as the 56th Mayor of New Orleans from 1970 to 1978. He also is a former judge, 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. He is a member of the Democratic Party.

Early life and career[edit]

Moon Landrieu was born in Uptown New Orleans, the son of Loretta (née Bechtel) and Joseph G. Landrieu, the owner of a small corner grocery. A pair of Joseph's paternal great-grandparents, Geoffroy Stanislas Landrieu and Mélanie LeMoine, had immigrated to New Orleans from France in 1848. Maurice acquired the nickname "Moon" in his early childhood and later had his name legally changed. Landrieu has stated in interviews that he doesn't know what led to the creation of the nickname, except that it was first bestowed on his brother Joseph, he went to Jesuit High School. A promising athlete, Landrieu won a baseball scholarship at 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. After a three-year stint in the United States Army, Landrieu opened a law practice and taught accounting at Loyola. In 1954, Landrieu married Verna Satterlee, with whom he had nine children (Mary, Mark, Melanie, Michelle, Mitchell, Madeleine, Martin, Melinda, and Maurice, Jr.).

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, Moon 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 was one of the few white legislators who voted against the "hate bills" of the segregationists which the 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[edit]

Moon 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, who was supported by most of the municipal political establishment. Running on a "progressive" platform, Landrieu won an unexpected victory 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, the only Republican to have made a serious bid for mayor of New Orleans in the 20th century. In that contest, Landrieu's pro-Civil Rights Movement stance was rewarded when he received an overwhelming 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.[1] 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.[2] He also appointed Rev. A.L. Davis, a prominent Civil Rights Movement leader, 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.[3]

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. New Orleans East, though far from fully developed, had by that time become visibly affluent relative to the metropolitan area, with upscale, multimillion-dollar residential and commercial developments debuting alongside new office buildings and modern business parks.

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 growing 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. Critics alleged that patronage from these development projects disproportionately aided his campaign contributors, most notably his political allies who controlled Superdome Services, Inc.

By the midpoint of Vic Schiro's mayoral administration (i.e., the mid-1960s), New Orleans' historic built environment was under siege, as an accelerating number of building demolitions were approved. Unprecedented intrusions into the existing urban fabric were also being contemplated, such as the elevated Claiborne Expressway and Riverfront Expressway segments of I-10. Responding to the ongoing erosion of the city's existing built environment, 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 .[4] In this period, Congress passed generous 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, most notably within New Orleans' downtown and Warehouse District. Many building were updated and adapted for new uses, but historic scale and detail were retained.

During 1975–1976, Landrieu served as president of the United States Conference of Mayors. Landrieu became nationally known as an advocate for American cities in Washington, D.C., and was credited with helping to convince Congress to bail out New York City during its financial crisis in 1977.

He was reelected in 1974 and served until April 1978. After leaving office, he was succeeded by Dutch Morial, the city's first black mayor.

Landrieu was the last white elected mayor of New Orleans until his son Mitch Landrieu was elected in 2010.

After city hall[edit]

After leaving office in 1978, Landrieu served as Secretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Landrieu served as Judge of the Louisiana 4th Circuit Court of Appeals from 1992 until his retirement in 2000.

He is the father of nine children, including former U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu and former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

In 2004, Landrieu was inducted in the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame in Winnfield, his daughter Mary was inducted into the organization three years later.[5]

Landrieu's personal papers are archived at Loyola University New Orleans[6] and the New Orleans Public Library.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Moon Landrieu's life threatened", Minden Press-Herald, May 4, 1970, p. 1
  2. ^ Morial retains racial mix inherited from Landrieu, The Times-Picayune, May 6, 1980.
  3. ^ Eckstein (2015), p. 136.
  4. ^ "Wholesale demolition is a discredited approach", The Times-Picayune, February 6, 2010.
  5. ^ Winnfield, La - Old L&A Depot, LA Political Museum Archived 2009-07-03 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Moon Landrieu Collection" (PDF). Special Collections & Archives, J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  7. ^ "Mayor Moon Landrieu Records, 1970-1978". New Orleans Public Library. Retrieved 17 July 2018.


  • 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[edit]

Louisiana House of Representatives
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