Date of Award

Spring 5-19-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Dr. James Mokhiber; Dr. Connie Atkinson

Second Advisor

Dr. Al Kennedy


Ernest “Dutch” Morial’s 1977 grassroots mayoral campaign disrupted the political status quo in New Orleans with his message of citizen participation. Morial’s citizen-driven campaign reached over the constituencies of established Black Political Organizations, capturing an eager audience with his message of political, social, and economic equality. With the help of volunteers and other community organizations, Morial created a grassroots campaign that focused on making city government more inclusive. Unattached to the traditional patronage structure, Mayor Morial empowered the black community, reducing the constraints of their political access. Although his legacy is difficult to discern in New Orleans current political realities, Morial’s first campaign and administrations represent a departure from the political status-quo and the powerful patronage structures critical to their status.


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