African Americans in New Orleans:
City Government Employees

This photograph, taken in December 1999, shows New Orleans Mayor Marc H. Morial with the members of his staff. It indicates that, as we approached the beginning of a new century, African Americans comprised a majority of the New Orleans municipal government’s top leadership. It was just thirty years earlier that Mayor Moon Landrieu appointed the city’s first black department heads of the twentieth century. The Crescent City has indeed come quite a distance over the course of those thirty years.

In 1981 Mayor Ernest N. “Dutch” Morial’s administration published Blacks in City Government. That little booklet documented the more than 250 African American New Orleanians who held leadership positions at City Hall and its satellites. Many of the black women and men who worked for Dutch Morial twenty years ago hold places in city government today. Others have moved on to positions with other public bodies or in the private sector. A few, including Mayor Morial, are, regrettably, no longer with us.

After Dutch Morial’s second term ended in 1986 the records of his administration were transferred to the City Archives here at the New Orleans Public Library. Included were original prints of the photographs used in the 1981 booklet. Most of the images in this exhibit come from that group of photographic prints.

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