Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Powers, Madelon

Second Advisor

Atkinson, Connie

Third Advisor

Mokhiber, James

Fourth Advisor

Mizell-Nelson, Michael


This study examines the political career of Maurice Edwin "Moon" Landrieu from his election to the Louisiana legislature in 1960 to the end of his first term as mayor of New Orleans in 1974. Landrieu was a white southern liberal who vigorously supported the agenda of the civil rights movement. He succeeded in building an unprecedented coalition between liberal, middle-class whites and a large segment of the black community. As the 1970s unfolded, however, he found his coalition increasingly threatened not just by disgruntled white conservatives, which might be expected, but also by angry black radicals of the Black Panther Party. This study argues that Landrieu's firm commitment to opening up political and economic opportunity to all citizens enabled him to keep his progressive, biracial coalition together and to help pave the way for the 1978 election of Ernest "Dutch" Morial, the first black mayor of New Orleans.


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