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Blakeview: The 40th anniversary of the election of Ernest "Dutch" Morial 

New Orleans voters selected the city's first black mayor Nov. 12, 1977


With a mayoral runoff just two weeks way, this week we mark the 40th anniversary of the election of Ernest N. "Dutch" Morial as the city's first African-American mayor. He defeated Councilman At-Large Joseph DiRosa by more than 5,000 votes in the runoff election on Nov. 12, 1977. Covering the race for The Times-Picayune Clancy DuBos — now Gambit's political editor — pointed out that although Morial pulled in nearly all the support of black voters as expected, he did well among white voters as well. In her story, T-P reporter Millie Ball noted that Morial never mentioned race in his victory speech. "The election speaks eloquently for our city," he said. "It shows people recognize quality and leadership." Morial was the first African-American elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives since Reconstruction and later was the first black judge elected to Juvenile Court and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal. He was mayor until 1986 and died in 1989. Marc Morial, one of his five children, served as mayor from 1994 to 2002.


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