History

Long before the LLBC was formally organized, African-Americans served in the state legislature. In 1968, Ernest "Dutch" Morial, a New Orleans attorney, was elected to the House of Representatives. As the first African-American legislator since Reconstruction, he paved the way for other African-Americans to travel the hard road to Baton Rouge. Before his term expired, he sought and won a seat as a judge in New Orleans Juvenile Court. A special election was held to fill his unexpired term in 1971, which resulted in the election of Louisiana's first African-American female legislator, Dorothy Mae Taylor, a New Orleans community leader.  In the immediate years to follow, other African-American leaders were elected to the Louisiana Legislature.

 

In 1972, Alphonse Jackson of Shreveport; Richard Turnley, Jr. and Johnnie Jones of Baton Rouge; and Johnny Jackson, Jr., Theodore Marchand, Louis Charbonnet, III, and Nick Connors, all of New Orleans were elected to the House of Representatives. In addition, Dorothy Mae Taylor was successful in her bid for reelection.

 

In 1976, Johnnie Jones lost his bid for reelection and Theodore Marchand did not seek reelection, but more African-Americans won seats. Joseph Delpit of Baton Rouge and Thomas Jasper, Rev. Avery C. Alexander, and Diana E. Bajoie of New Orleans were elected to the House of Representatives. Sidney Barthelemy of New Orleans was elected to the Senate, earning a place in history as the first Black to serve in the Senate. In addition, Senator Barthelemy became the first chairman of the LLBC in 1977.

 

In 1978, Henry Braden of New Orleans completed Barthelemy's term when Barthelemy won an at-large seat on the New Orleans City Council. Richard Turnley was elected as LLBC's second chairman.

Alphonse Jackson
Ernest "Dutch" Morial
Joseph Delpit