Mayor Sidney J. Barthelemy

City Archives
New Orleans Public Library

Date range: 1986-1994
Size of collection: 232 cartons; 53 videocasettes
Terms of Access: Available to registered researchers by appointment

Historical Note

Sidney John Barthelemy was elected Mayor of New Orleans in May, 1986. He was elected to a second term in 1990.

Born in New Orleans on March 17, 1942, the third of six children, Barthelemy attended Corpus Christi Elementary School and St. Augustine High School. From 1960-1963, in preparation for entering the priesthood, he studied at Epiphany Apostolic Junior College in Newburgh, New York, and then entered St. Joseph Seminary in Washington, D.C., where he received a B.A. in Philosophy and pursued graduate study in Theology.

In 1967, having made the decision not to enter the priesthood, Barthelemy returned to New Orleans and worked as an administrative assistant in the office of Total Community Action. From 1969-1972, he served as Director of the Parent Child Center of Family Health, Inc. During these years he also completed a Masters of Social Work at Tulane University, worked part-time for the Urban League of Greater New Orleans and assisted with various political campaigns.

From 1972-1974, Barthelemy served as Director of the Department of Welfare under the administration of Mayor Moon Landrieu, and in 1974, he was elected to one term in the Louisiana State Senate from District 4, the first African American to serve in that body since Reconstruction. While he served in the Legislature, he also joined Xavier University as Assistant Director of the Urbinvolve Program and as an instructor in the Department of Sociology and became an adjuct faculty member in the Applied Health Sciences Department, Maternal and Child Health Section, of Tulane University.

In 1978, Barthelemy was elected to an At-Large seat on the New Orleans City Council, a position he held for two terms, until his election as Mayor in 1986.

Among the highlights of the Barthelemy administration were the opening of the Aquarium of the Americas, the Riverfront streetcar, and the giant Pic N' Save distribution center in New Orleans East; the visit of the Pope (1987), the hosting of the Republican National Convention (1988) and the NCAA Final Four tournament (1993); the controversial legalization of a single land-based casino and riverboat gambling; the passage of the equally controversial "anti-discrimination" ordinance affecting the membership in Carnival krewes; the unsuccessful pursuit of a recreation park/amusement center for Armstrong Park; and the securing of funding for the new sports arena next to the Superdome.

Scope Note

Under the Barthelemy administration, the Office of the Mayor was divided into three sub-offices (variously called divisions or departments) in addition to the Mayor's Executive Office, each headed by an Executive Assistant to the Mayor: the Office of Economic Development (known for a time as the Office of Urban Development), the Office of Human Resources (or Human Resources Administration), and the Office of Intergovernmental Relations. Records transferred to the City Archives at the end of Mayor Barthelemy's terms in office include subject/correspondence files from the Executive Office, and central files of the Mayor's Executive Assistant for Economic Development and the Director of International Relations/Trade Development, a subdivision of the Office of Economic Development. The City Archives also received files and video tapes from the Public Information Office, a subdivision of Intergovernmental Relations. A collection of memorabilia (largely unprocessed) is also available. An additional series of Mayor Barthelemy's speeches has not yet been processed. No subject or correspondence files were received from the Office of Human Resources.

Files from the Intergovermental Relations files dealing with mayoral appointments to boards and commissions, begun during the administration of Mayor Ernest N. Morial and continued in use through Mayor Barthelemy's terms and into Mayor Marc Morial's administration, were also accessioned and described separately. Two series from the Office of Economic Development, the first dealing with the Restoration Tax Abatement Program and the second with the efforts of Hitcom to develop a motion picture studio in the Warehouse District were also accessioned and described separately; both of these records also span both the Ernest N. Morial and Barthelemy administrations. (See below.)

From filing numbers used by the Executive Office of the Mayor, we know that not all of the records housed in that office were transferred to us. (For example, we received folders marked "City Council #4," "City Council #5," and "City Council #6" but none marked #1, 2 or 3.) Efforts to locate the missing records have thus far been unsuccessful.

The City Archives also holds records from Sidney J. Barthelemy's terms as Louisiana State Senator (1974-1978) and New Orleans City Councilman-At-Large (1978-1986). See below for links to finding aids for these records.


The records are arranged alphabetically by subject heading in five series, as below:

Executive Office of the Mayor
Subject/Correspondence Files, 1986-1994

Mayor's Office of Economic Development
Subject/Correspondence Files, 1986-1994

Mayor's Office of Economic Development. Office of International Relations/Trade Development
Subject/Correspondence Files, 1986-1994

Mayor's Office of Intergovernmental Relations. Office of Public Information
Records, 1986-1994

Memorabilia, 1986-1994

See also:

Back to Nutrias Home

iw 6/23/2000