After serving in the state legislature and as a City Councilman, Moon Landrieu won election in 1970 as an anti-segregationist who promised equal access to City Hall. He introduced polling data and technology into the campaign — a break from the old ward politics — and successfully linked his progressive agenda with an outgoing personality and the increased power of African-American political organizations. Upon taking office, he assembled an integrated, youthful staff and set about improving the city’s fiscal situation, developing the tourism industry, and focusing attention on historic preservation. The administration increased substantially the federal funding to the city and undertook numerous building projects to revitalize the French Quarter and downtown business district, raising New Orleans’ profile as a destination city. Still one of the city’s most popular mayors, Landrieu ushered in a new style of politics and government.Watch an interview with Moon Landrieu
Dec. 13, 1969: Landrieu wins the runoff for mayoral office against Democrat Jimmy Fitzmorris by 12,800 votes, with a coalition of 90 percent black vote and 40 percent of whites.
May 2, 1970: Inaugurated after defeating Republican Ben Toledano in the general election by nearly 30,000 votes.
1970: Begins efforts to revitalize Jackson Square, transforming St. Peter, St. Ann, and Chartres Street into a pedestrian mall. This and subsequent plans for a nightly light show in the Square set the administration at odds with preservationists. The City begins the clearing of French Quarter wharfs to redevelop the riverfront, leading to the Moonwalk promenade.
September 14, 1970: NOPD and Black Panthers engage in shootout in Desire neighborhood. Landrieu maintains the shooting was not a racial incident. Further confrontation follows in November. In an August 1971 trial, the Panthers are acquitted.
1971: Through improved coordination with the state, the budget for the Tourist and Convention Commission is tripled, marking significant step in the growth of the city’s convention business.
1971: Appoints commission to commemorate life of recently-deceased Louis Armstrong, leading to the development of Armstrong Park, opened in 1980.
1971: The French Market Corporation is granted a new 40-year operating agreement. Landrieu appoints a 12-member board to supervise Market policy and operations.
1972: In the city’s annual budget, federal funds account for $37.7 million, or 25% of the total budget. In 1970, federal funds accounted for $2.4 million (3%).
January 7, 1973: Mark Essex goes on a shooting rampage, killing 9 people, including police, wounding 13. A protracted siege ends with Essex’s death on the rooftop of the Howard Johnson on Loyola Avenue.
1973: As a result of preservationist and residential protests, Mardi Gras parades no longer run through the French Quarter.
Oct. 1, 1973: Landrieu wins the first Democratic Primary with 70 percent of the vote.
1974: The New Orleans Downtown Development District created as the first assessment-based business improvement district in the United States.
1974: New Louisiana constitution provides for an equalization of the property tax system, a measure supported by the City to improve the business climate.
August 1975: Superdome opens as largest fixed dome stadium in the world with final costs at $165 million (the upper estimate planned in 1971 had been $46 million.) As a City Councilman, Landrieu served as Executive Director of the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District Commission, which supervised the project. Later, controversy arises over Superdome Services, Inc. (SSI), a black-owned and operated janitorial, security and ticket service, headed by Landrieu’s political allies.
1975-1976: Serves as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
1975: Landrieu appoints civil rights activist Rev. A.L. Davis to fill a temporary position on the City Council, making Davis New Orleans’ first African American councilman.
1975: The French Market Corporation makes the first major renovation since the Public Works Administration (PWA) of the 1930s, reconstructing the historic Red Stores and transforming the Market’s open stalls into modern stores.
1976: Appoints Terrence Duvernay as the first African-American Chief Administrative Office, the most important appointed position in the executive branch. For the first time, African-Americans serve as departments heads. During Landrieu’s tenure, he also appoints the first female Executive Assistant to the Mayor and the first female member of the Sewage & Water Board.
1976: In the city’s annual budget, federal funds account for $66.6 million, or 39% of the total budget.
January 1978: Superdome hosts its first Super Bowl.
1978: Opening of the Piazza d’Italia, one of several public spaces and renovations completed in the CBD.
1978: Term ends as Dutch Morial becomes 1st African-American mayor. Landrieu goes on to serves as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development for the Carter Administration, and as Louisiana 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge from 1992-2000.