Mayor Robert S. Maestri

City Archives
New Orleans Public Library

Date range: 1936-1945 [bulk 1936-1938; 1944-1945
Size of collection: 6 boxes; 20 scrapbooks; 57 rolls of 16mm. microfilm
Terms of Access: Available to registered researchers by appointment

Historical Note

Robert S. Maestri was born in New Orleans on December 11, 1889. He attended public and parochial grammar schools and briefly studied at Soule Commercial College. As a teenager, he began to work in the furniture store owned by his father and uncle and, upon his father's death, became President of the corporation. At a young age, he also began to invest in real estate and, in later years, was thought to be one of the largest individual property owners in the city and one of the city's wealthiest men.

An early supporter (both politically and financially) of Huey Long, Maestri was rewarded in 1929 with an appointment as Long's Commissioner of the Department of Conservation, a position he held until 1936. When, after Long's death, New Orleans Mayor T. Semmes Walmsley bowed to state pressure and resigned his office, Maestri was selected by Governor Richard Leche and other state power brokers to fill Walmsley's seat. When no opponents e ultimately emerged to challenge his bid for the mayoralty, Maestri was "certified" into office by the registrar of voters. A constitutional amendment subsequently extended his term to 1942. In 1942, Maestri was easily reelected to a second term. In 1946, he was narrowly defeated by reform candidate deLesseps S. Morrison. Following his defeat, Maestri retired to private life, tended his real estate and oil interests, and died in 1974 at the age of 84.

Arrangement and Scope

The records consist of incoming and outgoing correspondence in two series (one consisting of manuscript correspondence and the other microfilm copies of correspondence), and scrapbooks of newspaper clippings (also available on microfilm). There may be some duplication between the manuscript and microfilmed correspondence, but for the most part, the originals of the microfilmed series are no longer extant. In general, the correspondence reflects the day-to-day business of municipal government. Much of it consists of letters from New Orleans citizens or other individuals seeking information or assistance or the mayor's responses to such letters.

The microfilmed correspondence is arranged alphabetically by subject heading within each of the two years represented by the records. It is unclear whether the subject headings were derived from original folder titles or were artificially created by the librarian(s) who prepared the records for filming. Two of the original rolls of microfilm are currently (9/1997) missing. Also microfilmed is the "Mayor's Cross-file" (e.g., reading file), carbon copies of outgoing correspondence for the period August 1, 1937-August 1, 1938, arranged alphabetically by name of the recipient.

The surviving original correspondence is primarily from the mayor's second term, though a considerable amount of material, especially that dealing with WPA activity in New Orleans, has survived from the 1936-1942 period. This series has been reconstructed from fragments previously unprocessed or dispersed in subject files kept in the Library's Vertical File; it is arranged alphabetically by name of the corporate or individual correspondent or, if marked with clear filing notes, by the subject designated in the note.

The scrapbooks are newspaper clippings covering the years 1936-1945 (the books actually begin with July 1, 1936 and cover the days leading up to Maestri's inauguration on August 17). Each volume is arranged chronologically and is preceded by a typed "table of contents," also arranged chronologically, giving the article's headline (or photograph's caption), the name of the newspaper the article/photograph appeared in, the date, and the scrapbook folio number. In the microfilm edition of the scrapbooks, the tables of contents for all volumes have been combined and filmed as Roll No. 1 of the series.

Detailed Description of the Records

Manuscript Series: 1936-1945 [bulk 1944-1945]

Box 1

"A" Miscellaneous
Advertising Club of New Orleans
American Legion
American Red Cross
American Relief for Italy
Assessors, Board of, Orleans Parish
Audubon Park Commission

"B" Miscellaneous
Bauerlein Advertising
Bayou St. John Improvement Association
Bureau of Governmental Research

"C" Miscellaneous
Carrollton Business Men's Association
Chennault-Collins Homecoming
Child Welfare and Community Health Association
City Architect
City Archives
City Attorney
City Auditor
City Employees
City Engineer
City Hospital for Mental Diseases / City Alienist
City Park, Board of Commissioners of
City Planning and Zoning Commission
Commission Council
Council of Social Agencies
Custodian, City Hall Buildings

Box 2

"D" Miscellaneous
Delta Society of Safety Engineers
Development Planning Board (3 folders)
Donations and Assistance

"E" Miscellaneous
Edgewood-Gentilly Civic and Social Club
Electrical Inspection, Department of
Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Hospital

"F" Miscellaneous
Federal Works Agency
Fink Asylum
Firemen's Charitable and Benevolent Association of New Orleans
Firemen's Pension and Relief Fund, Board of Trustees of the
French Market Corporation

"G" Miscellaneous

"H" Miscellaneous
Health Department, City of New Orleans
Higgins Industries

"I" Miscellaneous
International House
Isaac Delgado Central Trades School
Isaac Delgado Museum of Art

"J" Miscellaneous
Jones, Governor Sam H.

"K" Miscellaneous

Box 3

"L" Miscellaneous
Latter & Blum, Inc.
Leche, Governor Richard W.
Liquidation, City Debt, Board of
Long, Governor Earl K.
Louisiana Civil Service League
Louisiana Secretary of State
Louisiana State Fire Marshal
Louisiana State University

"M" Miscellaneous
Mardi Gras
Mayoralty Permit Office
Mayors (or City Managers), Other Cities
Milne-Municipal Boys' Home
Motion Picture Advertising Service Co.
Municipal Auditorium

"N" Miscellaneous
New Orleans Association of Commerce (2 folders)
New Orleans Fire Department
New Orleans Fire Prevention Board
New Orleans Floral Trail
New Orleans Horticultural Society

Box 4

New Orleans Ministerial Union
New Orleans Open Golf Tournament
New Orleans Police Department
New Orleans Public Library
New Orleans Public Schools
New Orleans Spring Fiesta
New Orleans Urban League

"O" Miscellaneous
Orleans Parish School Board
Outdoor Hall of Fame
Overton, Senator John H.

"P" Miscellaneous
Pan American Airways
Pan-American Regatta
Police Board of the City of New Orleans
Police Training Division
Post War Projects
Price Administration, Office of
Public Finance, Department of
Public Markets, Department of
Public Officials, Other Cities/States
Public Property, Department of
Public Safety, Department of

Box 5

Public Utilities, Department of
Public Welfare, Department of

"R" Miscellaneous
Rabies Control
Real Estate Board of New Orleans
Real Estate Department
Roosevelt, Eleanor
Roosevelt, President Franklin D.
Rummel, Archbishop Joseph F.

"S" Miscellaneous
Sales Tax
Service Station Association of Louisiana
Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans
State Legislation

"T" Miscellaneous
Telephone Service
Tuberculosis Hospital / Lapeyre-Miltenberger Building
Tulane University

Box 6

"U" Miscellaneous
United Nations Conference on International Organizations
United States Department of Commerce
United States Navy
Unsigned Correspondence

V-Day Committee
Venereal Disease Control
Veterans Affairs
Veterans Hospital
Vieux Carre Commission
Voting Machines

"W" Miscellaneous War Memorial Committee (2 folders)
Works Progress Administration (2 folders)
Young Men's Business Club of New Orleans

Microfilm Series [Call #: AA512]

Roll 1[?]

The box is labeled "Airport-Bd.. of Levee Commissioners"; the film is missing.

Roll 2 [397B]

Board of Levee Commissioners, Orleans Levee Board, Port of New Orleans
Board of Health, City and State
Board of Liquidation
Boards, Commissions, Reception Committees
Bureau of Criminal Investigation
Bureau of Governmental Research
Canal Bank & Trust Co.
Carnival Organizations, Parades, etc.
City Attorney
City Engineer, City Architect
City Hall, Annexes and Property
Chart of City Property, Blue Print (original in VF)
City Park
Civil Service Commissions
Claims against City
Community Chest
Congress, U.S.
Conservation Department

Roll 3 [398B]

Consuls, Consular Service
Conventions, Meetings
Coroners Report
Criminal District Court
Danziger, Alfred--Personal File
Delgado Trade School, Delgado Succession
Democratic Party, National
Development & Planning Board, Streets, Sidewalks, Bridges, Highways
Donations, Assistance, Aid
Electric & Gas Rates
Elections, Election Commissioners, etc.
Executive Department, State of Louisiana
Farley Dinner
Federal Building
Finance, Department of Public
Finances, City
Fire Department--continued

Roll 4 [399B]

Flood Relief
Guillot, James P.
Hospitals, Hospitalization
Alvin Kaplin
Levee Commissioners
Maps, City
Mayors Conference [U.S. Conference of Mayors]

Roll 5 [400B]

Mayors Conference--continued
Minutes of Meetings
Mississippi River Bridge
Municipal Repair Plant
National Emergency Council
NYA [National Youth Administration] Navy, U.S.
Parkway Commission
Personal File

Roll 6 [401]

Personal File--cont.
Playgrounds/Playground Commission
Police Department

Roll 7 [402]

Property Owners Association
Public Belt Railroad
Public Relations
Public Service Commission
Public Buildings, Division of
Public Library Board
Public Property
New Orleans Public Service
Public Utilities
Public Works
Purchasing Department

Roll 8 [403]

Recommendation, Letters of
Records Court
Roosevelt Birthday Ball
Real Estate
Reports, Misc.
Resolutions by Boards, Trade Bodies, Commissions
Commissioner of Public Safety, Traffic, Traffic Reports
Recorders Court [re traffic matters]
Sales Tax
Scholarships, High School
School Board
Secretary of State
Sewerage and Water Board
Louisiana State Museum
State Parks Commission

Roll 9 [404B]

Tax matters, Records, etc.
Touro-Shakespeare Home
New Orleans Joint Traffic Bureau
Transportation--Requests for Passes and Half Fare
Treasury Department, State
Trust Funds
Union Station
Universities, L.S.U., Tulane
U.S. District Court
U.S. Engineers
Vacate notices
Vieux Carre Commission
Public Welfare, New Orleans--Requests for Assistance--cont.

Roll 10 [405B]

Public Welfare, New Orleans--Requests for Assistance
West End Park
West End Roof
Wisner Funds
Zoning, Applications, Protests, etc.


Roll 11 [406B]

Agriculture, State Department of
Air Mail & Aviation
American Legion
Adjutant General
Appraisal Committee, State
Architect, City
Attorney General
Auditor, City
Audubon Park Commission
Association of Commerce

Roll 12 [407B]

Banking Department, State
Barrett, John A. [Department of Finance]
Bayou St. John
Beverage Department
Bills & Requisitions
Boards of Health--City & State
Board of Liquidation
Board of Trade
Bureau of Governmental Research
Business & Professional Women's Club
Buildings, City
Calliope Street
Canal Street (Cleaning)
Carnival Organizations, Parades, etc.
Catholic Church
Cave, Jesse S. [Commissioner of Public Finance]
Charities, Public
Charity Hospital
Chef Menteur Highway
Christmas Baskets
City Attorney--cont.

Roll 13 [408B]

City Attorney--cont.
City Park
Civil Service Commission
Commission Council
Community Chest
Conservation Department
Conventions, Meetings
Coroner's Office
(New) Courthouse Commission
Criminal District Court
Criminal Sheriff
Defraites, Henry
Delgado Trade School, Delgado Succession
Development & Planning Board

Roll 14 [409B]

Dock Board
Donations, Assistance, Aid
Dryades Street, Widening
District Attorney
East Louisiana State Hospital
Education, State Department of
Elections, Elections Commissioners, etc.
Electric & Gas Rates
Ellender, Allen J.
Employees, City
Engineer, City
Engineers, State Board
Engineers, U.S.
Eucharistic Congress
Exhibits [General Motors Parade of Progress photographs]
Federal Building
Federal Courts
Federal Housing Authority--cont.

Roll 15 [410B]

Federal Housing Authority--cont.
Federal Offices in New Orleans
Federal Prison
Fernandez, Congressman J.O.
Fire Department
Fire Marshal, State
Fireworks (Sale & Control)
Flood Control
Flood Control Commission (La.)
French Opera Revival
Foreign Nations
Game Protective Association, La.
Garbage Collection
Gomila, Commissioner Frank R. [Public Safety]
Governor's Office
Highway Commission, La.
Home Owners Loan Corporation
Horticultural Commission, La.
Hospital Board, State
Industrial Board, State
Inspection Trips
Interior Department, U.S.
Italian Ambassador's Visit--cont.

Roll 16 [411B]

Italian Ambassador's Visit--cont.
Juvenile Court
Klorer, John
Labor, State Department of
Labor Department, U.S.
Labor Unions, National
Lakeshore Drive
Legislation, Federal
Levee Commissioner
Liberty Place, Board of Commissioners
Library Commission, Louisiana
License Department
Licensing Board for General Contractors, State
Louisiana Avenue Parkway
Louisiana State University
Maloney, Paul H. [Congressman]
Mayors Conference, State
Mayors of Other Cities
Mayor's Office--Personal
Merit Certificates
Mineral Board, State
Milne-Municipal Boys' Home
Miscellaneous Letters

Roll 17 [412B]

Mississippi Valley Association
Monuments, Public
Mullen Shipyard
Municipal Auditorium
Municipal Repair Plant
Municipal Stadium
Louisiana State Museum
Municipal Auditorium
National Emergency Council
National Guard
Navy, U.S.
New Basin Canal and Shell Road Commission
New Orleans Better Films Chapter

Roll 18 [413B]

Anti-Noise Campaign
Notarial Archives
Old Spanish Trail
Overton, Senator John H.
Pardon and Parole Board
State Parks Commission
Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co. Complaint
Planning & Zoning Commission
Planning Commission, State
Playgrounds, Playground Commission

Roll 19 [414B]

--Box is labeled "Police-Public Belt RR" but contains a copy of Roll 415B

Roll 20 [415B]

Public Belt Railroad
Public Library Board
Public Property
Public Service Commission
New Orleans Public Service
Public Welfare Department, City--cont.

Roll 21 [416B]

Public Welfare Dept, City--cont.
Public Welfare Department, State
Public Works
Purchasing Department
Recommendations, Letters of

Roll 22 [417B]

Recorders Courts
Reilly, John L. [Deputy Commissioner of Public Property]
Resolutions by Boards, Trade Bodies, Commissions
Revenue Dept., State
Revenue, Enforcement Division
Rotary Club
Safety League
St. Claude Ave.
Saint Patrick's Day
Sales Tax [target only; no correspondence]
School Board
Secretary of State, Louisiana
Secretary of State, U.S.
Senators and Representatives
Sewerage and Water Board

Roll 23 [418B]

Sidewalk, Gutter, Curbing Repairs
Skelly, Joseph P. [Commissioner, Department of Public Property]
Social Workers
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Spring Fiesta
State Fairs
State Street Drive
Stocks and Bonds

Roll 24 [419B]

Sugar Bowl
Suggested Legislation
Tax Commission, Louisiana
Temple of Peace
Tilden, Charles [Deputy Commissioner of Public Buildings]
Tobacco Road
Touro-Shakespeare Home
Training School at Alexandria
Treasury Department, U.S.
Tulane Ave.
Tulane University
Union Station
U.S. Conference of Mayors

Roll 25 [420B]

U.S. Constitution Sesquicentennial Commission
U.S. Department of Commerce
Veteran's Hospital (proposed)
Vieux Carre Commission
War, Secretary of
Washington Office of the State of Louisiana
Weeds and Grass
West End Roof
Wisner Funds

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coded: 1/15/1999
coded by: Irene Wainwright

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