This week marks 70 years since the election of deLesseps Story "Chep" Morrison as mayor of New Orleans. The Jan. 22, 1946 election saw Morrison defeat incumbent Mayor Robert Maestri by 3,800 votes. A native of New Roads, Louisiana, a former state lawmaker and World War II hero, Morrison, 34, was swept into office in part by the "broomstick brigade," women voters who pushed brooms down Canal Street on the eve of the election to illustrate Morrison's pledge to sweep clean the corruption many felt had been a hallmark of city politics.
Morrison went on to serve four terms in office, spanning a pivotal 16 years in the city's history. Hailed by some and criticized by others for his stance on integration (his administration hired NOPD's first black officer in 1950, but he publicly supported segregation), Morrison oversaw a period of growth and modernization. He ran for governor and lost three times, then left office in 1961 and became Ambassador to the Organization of American States. He and his son Randy were killed in a plane crash in Mexico in 1964.