– The era of black power in New Orleans begins with the rising of a Moon and ends with the setting of a son. Maurice “Moon” Landrieu, who is white, is widely credited as the elected official responsible for not only helping usher in desegregation in Louisiana but also finally opening New Orleans’ city hall to African Americans for jobs and political offices. Three decades of black mayoral leadership, including four black mayoral administrations, succeeded him. But that power has fizzled in recent years, culminating in the election this year of Moon’s son Mitchell Landrieu.
Asked today what happened, “there’s nowhere I can point to to say that black political power is still going strong,” says Cleveland Spears III, a young, bright African-American star in New Orleans who runs his own marketing consulting firm and is active in multiple social service and political agencies, such as Urban League and EngageNOLA.