Since Black History Month coincides with the carnival season in New Orleans, we open up this exhibit with a combination of the two celebrations!

Mayor Ernest N. “Dutch” Morial tries on a Mardi Gras Indian headdress for size in this ca. 1980 photograph by Marion Porter. He came to city government from the state legislature and the judiciary; the office of mayor was Dutch Morial’s first position with City Hall. Mayor Morial died in 1989.

Mayor Moon Landrieu appointed Sidney J. Barthelemy to head the city Department of Welfare in 1972. He left City Hall to serve in the Louisiana Senate but later returned as one of the city’s two councilmen-at-large in 1978. In 1986 he became the second black mayor in the Crescent City’s history. We’re not sure just when this photograph of Sidney Barthelemy was taken but we suspect that it was sometime during his years as mayor (1986-1994) and definitely on Mardi Gras!

While Mayors Morial and Barthelemy, like most New Orleanians, took part in the city’s annual carnival celebration, neither could lay claim to carnival royalty. Morris F. X. Jeff, Sr., a division chief in the New Orleans Recreation Department, could make such a claim! This photograph shows him as the Zulu King in 1974. Mr. Jeff died in 1993; the Morris F. X. Jeff Elementary School on North Rendon Street stands as a memorial to his long career in city government.

We get serious again! Dr. Morris F. X. Jeff, Jr. followed his father into city government and has served as Director of the Department of Welfare for more than twenty years. This photograph shows Dr. Jeff with participants in a Youth Leadership Development Program sponsored by the Department .

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