Historical Note

According to Mohr and Gordon [1], Barbara Marie Guillory and Pearlie Hardin Elloie were among the first black students approved for admission to Tulane for the spring semester of 1963.  Although registration of the black students was not marked by any disturbance, the press release by Joseph Merrick Jones was followed by a tragic incident.

Jones, who was president of the Administrators of the Tulane Educational Fund, had announced that black students would be admitted to Tulane beginning in February of 1963.  On March 11, 1963, Jones and his wife were killed in a fire that swept his suburban home in Metairie.  The cause of the blaze was never determined [2].

In 1988, racists in Metairie (Jefferson Parish) succeeded in electing David Duke, former Imperial Wizard of the Louisiana Ku Klux Klan, to the Louisiana state legislature, where he served along with a number of sympathizers in the House of Representatives until 1992.  That was the only public office ever held by Duke, who was unsuccessful as a candidate for the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Presidency, and the Louisiana Governorship (in which he garnered 55% of the white vote in an election won by Edwin Edwards) [3,4].  The seat vacated by Duke when he ran for Governor was won by David Vitter of Metairie.

Duke's supporters were considered so valuable that in 1995 Republican gubernatorial candidate Murphy James "Mike" Foster secretly purchased Duke's mailing list for $152,000 [5].  Long after winning the election, Governor Foster paid a $20,000 fine imposed by the State Board of Ethics for failing to disclose that campaign expenditure [6].  In 1999, Governor Foster was handily reelected to a second term.

It is not clear whether 2003 Republican gubernatorial candidate Piyush "Bobby" Jindal, who was strongly endorsed by Governor Foster, benefited from the Duke mailing list [7].  Jindal lost that election to Democrat Kathleen Babineaux Blanco.  However, he received 63% and 74% of the vote in Jefferson and St. Tammany parishes, respectively, where Duke support was strong [8], and one study suggested that Jindal's support would have been even greater had it not been for a racial bias [9].

Following his 2003 defeat, Jindal moved with his family to Jefferson Parish and immediately announced his candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives [10].  By the following July, he had raised $1.3 million and was well on his way to winning the 2004 election [11].  On November 2, Jindal easily "cruised to victory over five poorly financed opponents," capturing 78% of the vote [12].

Four years later, Jindal once again declared his candidacy for the gubernatorial race in Louisiana [13].  This time, however, he would not be facing Kathleen Blanco, who, frustrated by difficulties with the problem-plagued programs that were intended to rebuild areas devastated in 2005 by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, decided not to seek reelection for a second term [14].

By the time Jindal's tenure as Governor was approaching the end, his approval rating had declined to 20%, and it was clear that his handling of the state's fiscal affairs had been catastrophic [15].  Jindal's abysmal performance paved the way for the election of John Bel Edwards [16], a Democrat who was immediately faced with the task of dealing with the devastating deficits left by his predecessor's administration [17].

  1. Clarence L. Mohr and Joseph E. Gordon, Tulane: The Emergence of a Modern University, 1945 - 1980, Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge, 2001, p. 234.

  2. John P. Dyer, Tulane: The Biography of a University, 1834 - 1965, Harper & Row Publishers, New York and London, 1st Ed., 1966, pp. 289 and 315.

  3. Anti-Defamation League, "Extremism in America — David Duke," http://www.adl.org/learn/ext_us/duke.asp, accessed June 25, 2003.

  4. Tyler Bridges, The Rise of David Duke, University Press of Mississippi, 1995, 300 pp.  See also: "The rise and fall of David Duke," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, April 13, 2003, p. 12.

  5. "Election notes; Candidates to release mailing lists," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, October 15, 2003, p. A-4.

  6. Robert Morgan, "Foster fined $20,000 for Duke list," Alexandria Daily Town Talk, Alexandria, August 20, 1999.

  7. Scott Dyer, "Jindal: Campaign secret, but government to be open," The Advocate, Baton Rouge, October 14, 2003.

  8. "It's Blanco; Come-from-behind victory gives La. its first female governor," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, November 16, 2003, p. A-1.

  9. Adam Nossiter, "Racial bias likely in Blanco win, study says; 'Duke vote' rejected Indian-American," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, April 3, 2004, p. A-2 (from the Associated Press).

  10. Manuel Torres, "Bobby Jindal joins congressional race; District backed him in run for governor," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, January 30, 2004, p. A-3.

  11. Manuel Torres and Matthew Brown, "Jindal's fund raising far outpaces opponents'; Cash on hand is $1.1 million," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, July 2, 2004, p. A-3.

  12. "JINDAL, JEFFERSON WIN EASILY; Tauzin and Melancon will meet in Dec. 4 runoff," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, November 3, 2004, p. A-1.

  13. Jan Moller, "Jindel quietly begins his run; E-mail announces campaign for governor," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, January 23, 2007 [National, p. 2].

  14. Ed Anderson & Robert Travis Scott, "BLANCO BOWS OUT OF RACE; Slow recovery takes toll on governor.  Blanco: Politics a distraction from duties," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, March 21, 2007 [National, p. 1].

  15. Robert Mann, "Bobby Jindal's ghostly 'accomplishments'," NOLA.com, New Orleans, December 11, 2015, http://www.nola.com/opinions/index.ssf/2015/12/bobby_jindals_ghostly_accompli.html, accessed 12/11/2015.

  16. Julia O'Donoghue, "John Bel Edwards beats David Vitter to become Louisiana's next governor," NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, November 21, 2015, http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/11/louisiana_governor_democrat.html, accessed 12/11/2015.

  17. Julia O'Donoghue,"Louisiana's budget is a hot mess: How we got here," NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, February 12, 2016, http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2016/02/louisiana_is_in_a_budget_mess.html, accessed 02/12/2016.


|| Tradition of Discrimination || || Louisiana Decision ||