Louisiana Division/City Archives   New Orleans Public Library

Image of the Month
December 2008

William Howard Taft was elected president one-hundred years before Barack Obama captured the same prize. Taft had a longer transition period than will Obama since inauguration day back then was March 4 (the date was changed to January 20 by the 20th amendment to the Constitution, passed in 1933). Among other pre-inaugural activities, President-elect Taft made a ten-day inspection visit to the Panama Canal construction site at the request of Theodore Roosevelt. On his way back home Taft stopped over in New Orleans during the 1909 carnival season. While in the Crescent City Taft was paraded down Canal Street, made a speech at City Hall, attended the Elves of Oberon ball one night and a sumptuous banquet the next, played golf at the New Orleans Country Club, spoke to a crowd of African-American citizens at Pelican Park, and called at the Confederate Soldier's Home. He must have passed a good time since he returned later in the year, as president, for a Halloween visit!

This image shows Taft shaking hands with Mayor Martin Behrman in front of City Hall. It appeared in a commemorative book celebrating Behrman's years in office.

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