Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Day 37° Partly Cloudy
News >  Nation/World

Moon Landrieu, New Orleans mayor who led on civil rights, dies at 92

Sept. 5, 2022 Updated Mon., Sept. 5, 2022 at 8:50 p.m.

By Emily Langer Washington Post

Moon Landrieu, who faced down segregationists as a young Louisiana state legislator in the 1960s, integrated the New Orleans city government during his transformative years as mayor in the ’70s, and was the patriarch of a Democratic political dynasty, died Sept. 5 at 8:30 a.m. at his family home in New Orleans. He was 92.

His death was confirmed by his daughter, Madeleine Landrieu. He recently had a heart attack.

Landrieu was the father of Mary Landrieu, a former three-term U.S. senator from Louisiana, and Mitch Landrieu, a former New Orleans mayor currently serving under President Joe Biden as senior adviser for the implementation of last year’s $1.2 trillion legislation to upgrade the nation’s infrastructure.

The elder Landrieu had been the first in his family to enter politics – his parents “had no political power, no money, no nothing,” he once said – and he was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to serve as Housing and Urban Development secretary from 1979 to 1981. But his legacy rested chiefly on his political career in Louisiana during and after the civil rights movement.

“Despite continuing bitter resistance,” the historian Arnold R. Hirsh once wrote, Landrieu “saw and brought the future to New Orleans.”

Landrieu first held elective office as a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives, where he was elected in 1960 amid roiling racial tensions. Six years earlier, the U.S. Supreme Court had outlawed racial segregation in public schools with its landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education.

Landrieu once reflected as mayor on his early years in public office and the forces he had overcome in pursuing his work on behalf of civil rights, beginning with his service in the legislature.

“I never thought that I would get elected again,” he said, recalling his stand against the school segregationists, “but I didn’t care.”

“It was one of those crises of conscience … when a man has to decide what he is going to do with himself,” he observed. “I thought about it … and prayed over it, and just decided that I wasn’t going to sell myself over it. If that is what I had to do to stay in public office, I just wasn’t going to do it. I just did what I had to do.”

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.