Documenting the American South Logo
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Moon Landrieu, January 10-11, 1974. Interview A-0089. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Lingering economic inequality and urban decline as pressing issues in the urban South

Landrieu identifies urban renewal and economic equality for African Americans as his two primary goals in his second term as mayor of New Orleans. Although he acknowledges progress in terms of changing attitudes about race, economic equality was still out of reach for many African Americans. In addition to rectifying that social inequality, Landrieu advocated for historic preservation and the revival of the downtown area. His comments help to illuminate two significant social problems that continued to plague the urban South in the mid-1970s.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Moon Landrieu, January 10-11, 1974. Interview A-0089. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

Excuse me, what goals do you still have left to accomplish as mayor?
Oh, gosh. I don't know that we have accomplished anything thus far. I think we've started a lot of things that I would like to see us finish. I would like to break down every vestige of racial and religious prejudice in this city if I could. We've gone a long way to do that. I don't think there are too many other barriers left. I'd like to see the. . . . We haven't succeeded well in the economic field. That's been the toughest of all, to get blacks into the mainstream of economic life. Wherever I've had power to do it by signing my name, I've done it. Just do it, bang! Get it done. But you can't do it just by signing your name in economics. Takes much longer and much tougher. But I think the attitudes here have generally been improved and once the attitude is changed, I think the rest will follow. But some kind of effort is going to have to be made in the economic area. I want to see New Orleans preserved historically. I want to see the downtown section stay strong and viable. And I would like to see the neighborhoods of this community identified and rehabilitated and stabilized. It's a large order. I'm very optimistic about New Orleans. In fact, I'm becoming more optimistic about all of the cities. There has been a general recognition. . .
Right. I think there is a general recognition that the cities are the answer. I've always been given to cyclical approach to most everything. Virtually everything comes full cycle sooner or later. And now I think you're going to see a redevelopment of most of America's cities. And I think that was predictable. You know, they had to get bad before they got better. They are going to get better. Those cities that are doing extremely well now are going to know some hard times in the future. Some cities that are doing very poorly now are going to know some better times.