New Orleans Public Library
|Administrations of the Mayors of New Orleans|
Walter Chew Flower (1850-1900)
Walter C. Flower was born on his fatherís plantation in East Feliciana Parish, near Fort Hudson on August 6, 1850, the son of Richard P. Flower and Minerva A. Scott, a daughter of Dr. Scott who had an extensive plantation near Jackson, in the same Parish. His father was a well known planter who was also engaged in the cotton business in New Orleans. As a boy he received the rudiments of an education amid the refinement of his home circle on the plantation. Later he came to New Orleans where he continued his studies until the outbreak of the War between the States. His fatherís plantation being in the center of the Federal operations, he moved with his family to Dr. Scottís plantation where they remained until the end of the war. He then attended Pass Christian College from which he was graduated as valedictorian of his class.|
Being equipped with a good education, he came to New Orleans and embarked on a journalistic career as reporter on the staff of the Daily Picayune. After a modest beginning in this field he determined to study law. To accomplish this he was obliged to study during his free time and also had to deprive himself of many luxuries in order to pay for his tuition at the Louisiana University which is now known as Tulane University. Again he became valedictorian of his class. He worked for awhile as reporter on the New Orleans Times and later practiced law for a number of years.
Upon the death of his father he was appointed executor of the estate and in settling matters incidental to the cotton factorage business he became much interested and finally relinquished the practice of law to embark upon a commercial career. He started as a clerk in the firm of Edwin Nall & Co., but his ability to quickly grasp the difficult problems and a complete knowledge of the intricacies of trade, placed him in the good graces of his employer and soon he was made a partner. The death of Mr. Nall ended the existence of the firm. He there upon formed the firm of Flower Brothers in 1884 with his brother Ivy G. Flower as partner. In 1888 Walter C. Flower and Branch M. King formed the firm of Flower and King, but in 1891 the name of the firm was changed to Flower, King and Putnam. In 1895 he retired from business due to ill health. During the few years he had been in business, he had through his energy and ability, amassed a fortune which enable him to retire in comfort. He was president of the Cotton Exchange in 1891 and was unanimously re-elected the following year. This was the only public position ever held by Walter Flower before his election to the mayoralty.
In 1896 he made his entry into politics and was elected to head the reform ticket of the Citizensí League in that memorable campaign against municipal corruption on April 27, 1895. He rode into office on the wave of a great upheaval and the record of his administration will be one of the brightest spots in the history of New Orleans. Four years of important and constructive work did much to better the conditions in the city, such as pure water, improved sewerage and drainage. While in office he was offered the presidency of a bank at a large salary, but declined as he felt that resigning would in a measure be a betrayal of the trust placed in him by the people. The administration under Mayor Flower was all that could be desired. He was possessed of great executive ability as was evinced by the prosperity and improved conditions of the city, due to his able and conservative discharge of his public duties.
In 1885 he married Miss Adele McCall, four children blessed this union of which two died in infancy and two survived him.
He died at his country home in Covington, Louisiana, October 11, 1900 at the age of fifty, from a tubercular affliction and is buried in Metairie Cemetery.
|Members of the Flower Administration|
April 27, 1896-May 7, 1900
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