Ernest “Dutch” Morial became the 1st African American mayor of New Orleans by defeating City Councilman Joseph V. DiRosa by a vote of 90,500 to 84,300.
Morial won with 95% of the black vote and 20% of the white vote, which came mainly from middle and upper class Uptown precincts. He won this election without the support of major local black political organizations, like SOUL and COUP.
During most of the election campaign, Morial was viewed by most commentators as a spoiler candidate with little chance of victory. The two established ‘serious candidates’ — Nat Kiefer and Toni Morrison (liberal son of former mayor DeLesseps S. “Chep” Morrison) — came in third and fourth respectively.
Ernest Nathan Morial (known as Dutch) was a U.S. political figure and a leading civil rights advocate. He was the 1st black mayor of New Orleans, serving from 1978 to 1986. He was the father of Marc Morial, a subsequent New Orleans mayor.
Read more about Morial’s life & legacy at: Daily Black History Facts