The Benjamin E. Smith Civil Liberties Award

Each year since 1976, the ACLU of Louisiana has given an award to honor one of our founders, the civil rights attorney Ben Smith. The Ben Smith Award honors an individual or individuals who has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of civil liberties in Louisiana. These are the awardees.

1st - Hon. Mack E. Barham

A prominent attorney who was elected to the 4th Judicial District Court in 1962 and later served on the Louisiana 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals.  He was a Louisiana Supreme Court Justice from 1968-1975.  On the Supreme Court, he formed a coalition that led to a 4-3 majority of judges that implemented United States Supreme Court civil rights decisions.  He defended Louisiana in a college desegregation lawsuit and negotiated a settlement with the United States Department of Justice that led to enhanced funding for historically African American institutions.

2nd - Johnny Jackson Jr.

Elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives in 1972, Jackson was one of the ten founders of the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus (LLBC), established in 1977.  The LLBC was active in expanding voting rights and in reapportionment and the consequent establishment of additional African-American legislative districts allowing for an increase in the election of African-American representatives and senators.

3rd - Jack Peebles

Under the auspices of the National Lawyers’ Guild, Peebles accepted civil rights cases in Mississippi in the summers of 1963 and 1964.  He was an Assistant District Attorney with Harry Connick and argued cases before the Louisiana and United States Supreme Courts. Beginning in 1978 and for many years thereafter, he represented Gary Tyler in his appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court to reverse a 1975 guilty verdict of first-degree murder. Tyler was a student accused of the fatal shooting of a fellow high school student that occurred in a racially charged environment in Destrehan, Louisiana.

4th - John Cole Vodicka

In the mid-1970’s, Vodicka, a prisoners’ rights advocate, founded the Louisiana Coalition on Jails and Prisons. Vodicka served for nine years as the director, advocating for prisoners and prisoners civil rights, challenging inhumane prison conditions, lobbying for prison reform and opposing the death penalty. Vodicka also served as director of the Louisiana Committee Against the Death Penalty.

5th - Virginia Collins

As a community activist, Virginia Young Collins became involved with the Southern Conference for Human Welfare (SCHW) in 1938. She was very active in the Southern Conference Education Fund (SCEF), the educational arm of the SCHW, belonged to the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and joined other women’s organizations and community groups that promoted quality education for African-American children, political power through the vote and equal access to public accommodations in the 1950’s and 1960’s. She was assistant director of the Coordinating Council of Greater New Orleans (CCGNO) in 1963 and 1964.  In that position, she organized massive voter registration drives in New Orleans.  In 1965, she was a community organizer for the War on Poverty program and in 1971 made a speaking tour with the SCEF. Collins died in 2011.

6th - James Dombrowski

Champion of civil rights from the 1950’s on, Dombrowski was a founding member of the American Civil Liberties Union in Louisiana, established in 1956. Dombrowski was labeled a communist, investigated by the House Un-American Activities Committee and charged with criminal conspiracy because of his convictions.  As director of the Southern Conference Education Fund from 1946-1966, he fought to dissolve racial discrimination by education.  Dombrowski was a defendant in a landmark civil liberties case decided in 1965 by the United States Supreme Court. In Dombrowski v Pfister, the court struck down a Louisiana law that attempted to force members of anti-segregation groups to register as pro-communist subversives. It was argued that the law allowed conspiracy charges against anyone suspected of “subversive activities” infringed on free speech rights.  The Court unanimously overturned the law, explaining that it had a “chilling effect” on any advocacy of civil rights. Dombrowski died in 1988.

7th - Richard Shapiro

Described as the “lawyer of last resort” for death row prisoners in the South in the late 1970’s and 1980’s, Shapiro served as the director of the Southern Prisoners Defense Committee for nine years. The Southern Prisoners Defense Committee was founded in response to the Supreme Court's reinstatement of the death penalty and to the horrendous conditions in Southern prisons and jails.  As director, Shapiro prevented countless executions as he directed legal appeals for death-sentenced inmates such as Colin Clark and Timothy Baldwin.

8th - Stanley A. Halpin

From 1969-1972, Halpin was staff counsel and chief counsel of the Lawyers Constitutional Defense Committee of the ACLU of Louisiana. He was honored by the ACLU for his work to force the reapportionment of Louisiana voting districts to end racial discrimination. From 1972 – 1980 Halpin litigated approximately forty voting rights cases on behalf of African Americans, including Beer v. United States, argued before the United States Supreme Court in 1975, and East Carroll Parish School Board v. Marshall, argued before the Supreme Court in 1976.

9th - John P. Nelson

Director of the Loyola Law Clinic and longtime civil rights lawyer, Nelson’s landmark litigation desegregated drugstore lunch counters in New Orleans, and Tulane University.  In 1960, Nelson represented 4 students allied with the CORE arrested for refusing to leave a lunch counter until served. The litigation ended in favor of the students in 1963 in Lombard v. Louisiana, which was argued before the Supreme Court by Nelson. During the same time period, Nelson argued the case that resulted in the desegregation of Tulane University. Later cases resulted in the desegregation of Terrebonne Parish schools for Indian students and the desegregation of interscholastic high school athletics in the state of Louisiana.

10th - Mathilde Dreyfous
           Ruth Dreyfous

In 1948, Mathilde Dreyfous became involved with the New Orleans League of Women Voters. She was membership chairman, research chairman, and president of the New Orleans League. In 1956 she became the first Louisianan to serve on the National Board of the League. She was a founder of the Louisiana ACLU.  Dreyfous participated in the ACLU’s efforts to reverse the Louisiana Legislature’s actions to thwart Brown v. Board of Education. She actively supported African-Americans and women candidates for public office, especially judgeships. Ms Mathilde Dreyfous and her sister-in-law, Ruth Dreyfous, volunteered as teachers to replace those in Plaquemines Parish who resigned when the public schools were desegregated. Mathilde died in 1992.

Ruth Dreyfous also was a founder of the ACLU of Louisiana in 1956. She also helped found the New Orleans chapter of the League of Women Voters, which was established, in 1942, conducted educational testing at Kingsley House in New Orleans. She was deeply involved in the welfare and education of New Orleans, serving on many city boards. These included the City's Welfare Board, the boards of the Louisiana Consumers League, the Irish Channel Action Foundation, the New Orleans Mental Health Foundation and the New Orleans Speech and Hearing Auxiliary.

11th - William P. Quigley

After completion of Law School in 1977, Quigley, a social justice activist, represented low-income clients as an attorney for the New Orleans Legal Assistance Corp.  Quigley devoted a large part of his practice to providing free representation in poverty, race discrimination and other civil liberties cases. Among his many cases is an important voting rights lawsuit that created a black majority 2nd congressional district in Louisiana.  He volunteered his time as Louisiana ACLU General Counsel beginning in 1981. At the time of the award, Quigley, had volunteered at Hope House, for the Urban League, the Loyola University Institute of Human Relations, the New Orleans AIDS Advisory Committee and the Louisiana Capital Defense Project.

12th - Rosa Keller

In 1953, Keller, an equal rights activist committed to race and gender equality, was the first woman appointed to the New Orleans Public Library, a post she held for 26 years.  In 1953, she began to petition for equal access for African-Americans to the New Orleans Public Libraries with the result of opening all public libraries in the city to all in 1954. She founded the Independent Women’s Organization, the first political organization for women in New Orleans and served on its board until the mid-1960’s.  Ms Keller also was a founder of the Committee of 21, dedicated to getting more women elected to public office. In 1960, Keller founded Save Our Schools in response to the city’s move to close public schools following court-ordered desegregation. In 1962, Keller helped pay for the lawsuit that integrated Tulane University. Upon her death in 1998 she was described as long-time friend and supporter of the ACLU.

13th - Rev. Albert D’Orlando

Upon his arrival in New Orleans in 1950, Rev. D’Orlando integrated his Jefferson Avenue church. He was a founding member of the ACLU of Louisiana in 1956. In 1960, he established a Freedom Fund to provide legal and other assistance to those fighting for desegregation of Louisiana schools. In 1962, his church contributed funds for the legal case to desegregate Tulane University and for the appeal of the conviction of participants in sit-ins in New Orleans argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in Lombard v. Louisiana.  In the late 1960’s Rev. Orlando actively opposed the Vietnam War and raised funds to defend student protesters. He was a steadfast supporter of the ACLU of Louisiana. He died in 1998.

14th - Hon. Alvin Rubin

Judge Rubin sat on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana from 1966 to 1977 and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit from 1977until his death in 1991. He was known for his rulings on civil rights. As a judge for the Eastern District of Louisiana and later as a Judge on the Court of Appeals, he wrote more than 700 opinions. They included rulings that ended Louisiana’s exemption of women from juries, applied the Voting Rights Act to local elections and upheld the rights of government employees to criticize their superiors and to organize unions. He was described by Judge Minor Wisdom in 1989 as a “legendary Senior Judge who is credited with having made an incalculable contribution to the South’s acceptance of equal rights jurisprudence during the past three decades.”  He died in 1991.

15th - Hon. Moon Landrieu
           Dr. Norman Francis

Landrieu served in the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1960 to 1966, There, he was one of the few white legislators who voted against bills designed to thwart desegregation. He served on the New Orleans City Council as a member at-large from 1966 to 1970 and served as Mayor of New Orleans from 1970–1978. As Council-at–Large in 1969, he led a successful push for a city ordinance outlawing segregation based on race or religion in public accommodations. During his tenure as mayor, Hon. Landrieu oversaw desegregation of city government and public facilities as well as encouraging integration within business and professional organizations.

Landrieu and Dr. Norman Francis became friends as students at Loyola University Law School in the 1950’s.  Dr. Francis graduated from Xavier University in New Orleans s in 1952. Dr. Francis was one of the first African Americans to enroll at Loyola University Law School, where he received his J.D. in 1955. After military service, Dr. Francis worked in the U.S. Attorney’s Office to help integrate federal agencies. He returned to Xavier University and in 1961, while serving as Dean of Men, Dr. Francis played a key role in Xavier's decision to house the Freedom Riders in a campus dormitory. Dr. Francis acted as counsel for the Xavier student body president, Rudolph Lombard, who was arrested for attempting to integrate the lunch counter. Dr. Francis was appointed President of Xavier University in 1968 and remains in that position.

16th - Hon. John A Dixon, Jr.

Judge Dixon received his law degree from Tulane University Law School in 1947.  In 1957 he was elected District Judge, serving until his election to the Second Circuit Court of Appeal in 1968.  He was elected to the Supreme Court without opposition and took his seat as Associate Justice in 1971.  He became Chief Justice in 1980 and served until his retirement from the Supreme Court in 1990. The Ameri­can Civil Liberties Union recognized him in 1991 with the Benjamin E. Smith award for a lifetime of defending civil rights and civil liberties.  He championed the cause of the little man, and some people called him "liberal" because of this. He preferred, however, to call himself a strict constructionist.

17th - Samuel S. Dalton

In 1976, Dalton founded, and chaired for many years, the Jefferson Parish Indigent Defender Board, a model for public defender systems statewide. Dalton is known for his expertise in capital cases both for trial and on appeal including post-conviction relief for death row inmates. He represented poor defendants and has served as a cooperating attorney, board member and supporter of the ACLU for decades. Dalton argued the 1980 Supreme Court case of Tague v Louisiana .The U.S. Supreme Court expanded protections for defendants first set forth in the landmark decision of Miranda v. Arizona in 1966, ruling that the state must prove that an arrested individual understands his rights. In 1988 he was awarded the "Pro Bono Lifetime Achievement Award" by the Louisiana Bar Association.

18th - Hon. Lolis Elie
           Bruce Waltzer

Hon. Lolis Elie participated in the civil rights movement in New Orleans in the 1960’s and 1970’s as an activist and attorney.  He and his law partners, Robert Collins and Nils Douglas, were the principal defenders of the CORE members who conducted sit-ins, marches and voter registration drives in New Orleans and other parts of Louisiana. He also served as attorney for the Consumers’ League, a group of African-American civil rights activists who protested discriminatory employment practices in New Orleans. He represented the Citizens Committee in the 1960’s during negotiations that led to municipal and commercial desegregation in New Orleans.

Bruce Waltzer was a civil rights attorney and the law partner of Ben Smith in the 1960’s. He argued cases before the U.S. District Courts, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. He was a member of the National Lawyers Guild, worked for the Guild’s Committee for Legal Assistance in the South, and as an attorney for the Southern Conference Educational Fund.  In 1963, his law office and home were raided by state and local police, and he and Smith as well as James Dombrowski were arrested for failing to comply with the Subversive Activities and Communist Control Act, which required members of the SCEF and Guild to register as supporters of “subversive” organizations. The ensuing legal battles led to the landmark U. S. Supreme Court decision of Dombrowski v Pfister.

19th - Jim Kellogg

In 1976, Jim Kellogg worked as a staff attorney for the Louisiana  ACLU.  As such, and in his practice, he argued cases before the US Disrtict Courts for the Middle and Eastern Distriucts of Louisiana and before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. He worked for prison reform, prisoners rights, due process, employment and workers rights and improvements in foster care conditions. He is best known as a champion of gay rights and defender of those with the HIV/AIDS. In 1989, James Kellogg and other local attorneys founded AIDS Law of Louisiana for which he served as co-chair.  AIDS Law has evolved into a full service legal services agency, with countless statewide partners and supporters.

20th - John R. Kramer

In the 1960’s and 1970’s, Kramer was a leader in the anti-hunger movement, drafting much of the food stamp and child feeding legislation as Executive Director of the National Council on Hunger and Malnutrition. During his ten years as Dean of the Tulane Law School, Kramer instituted Tulane’s community service program, the first mandatory program in the nation. Also during his tenure, Tulane published the nation’s first gay law journal and significantly increased the number of African-American law students at Tulane.  He generously funded the Public Interest Legal Foundation and increased the number of Tulane Law Clinics, many of which deal with civil liberties issues in their work with indigent clients. He died in 2006.

21st - Rev. James L. Stovall

During his career, Rev. Stovall held sixteen different elected or appointed positions in Louisiana.  As a Methodist minister, he served as pastor of churches in six Louisiana cities and directed the Louisiana Inter-church Conference, a statewide organization dedicated to fostering harmony and tolerance among different religious groups.  In 1989, Rev. Stovall co-founded the Louisiana Coalition Against Racism and Nazism (LCARN), whose mission was to provide accurate information to combat the influence of advocates of Nazism, racism and ethnic and religious intolerance. LCARN’s aggressive six-year campaign damaged Davis Duke’s chances in the 1990 US Senate election and educated thousands about Duke’s far-right and neo- Nazi beliefs.  He died in 2002.

22nd - Sister Helen Prejean

A Roman Catholic nun, Sister Helen is a leading American advocate for the abolition of the death penalty. In the 1980’s, she began to correspond with a convicted murderer, sentenced to death by electrocution. She visited him in prison at Angloa and agreed to be his spiritual adviser in the months leading up to his execution. The experience gave Sister Helen greater insight into the process involved in executions, and she began speaking out against capital punishment. At the same time, she also founded Survive, an organization devoted to counseling the families of victims of violence. She re-opened the death penalty debate on a national level with her 1993 bestseller Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States.

23rd - George M. Strickler, Jr.

Committed to ending racial discrimination, attorney Strickler‘s involvement in the civil rights movement began as a student in the 1960’s.  In 1968, Strickler joined the ACLU’s Lawyers Constitutional Defense Committee in New Orleans taking cases of desegregation and voting rights. In 1973, Stickler began a private practice in New Orleans, with work particularly in the areas of employment discrimination and civil rights.  In 1979, he became a Professor at Tulane Law School with interests in employment discrimination, civil procedure, remedies, evidence, and professional responsibility. He argued as an advocate in the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and has argued before the US Supreme Court.

24th - Ronald L. Wilson

Wilson established a private practice primarily in civil rights and public interest law in the areas of separation of church and state, school desegregation, freedom of speech, employment and housing discrimination and prison conditions. He litigated extensively in the area of reapportionment of congressional, (Major v. Treen); school board, (East Jefferson Coalition for Fair Redistricting v. Jefferson Parish School Board); city and parish councils, (Citizens for a Better Gretna v. Gretna and East Jefferson Coalition for Fair Redistricting v. Parish of Jefferson); and judicial seats (Chisom v. Roemer); resulting in a surge in the number of African American elected officials.  He served as a cooperating attorney for the ACLU of Louisiana and for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund.  As an ACLU cooperating attorney, Wilson litigated Chisom v. Roemer with a U.S. Supreme Court decision that led to the election of the first African American judge to the Louisiana Supreme Court and convinced the U. S. Supreme Court to strike down Louisiana’s Creation Science Law in Edwards v. Aguillard in 1987.

25th - Mary E. Howell

As a first year university student, Howell received a grant from the Law Students Civil Rights Research Council to work for Ben Smith in 1971. During her tenure with Smith, Howell worked on federal civil rights cases and habeas actions for conscientious objectors to the Vietnam War. In 1977, she and former ACLU cooperating attorney Jim Kellogg began a private civil rights law firm. At that time, she began handling police misconduct litigation, which remained a major part of her practice. Howell represented the children of Kim Groves who was murdered after reporting police brutality in 1994. Howell has represented clients in municipal and federal cases of inadequate health care in jails, privacy rights and protection of whistleblowers. She represented the street musicians of New Orleans for many years and served as a cooperating attorney for the ACLU, frequently working with Sam Dalton on civil rights cases.

26th - Dr. Ralph Mason Dreger

Dr. Ralph Dreger began a long career of activism by speaking out against the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. After moving to Baton Rouge in 1964, Dr. Dreger championed civil rights causes throughout the South and cofounded both the Louisiana and Baton Rouge chapters of the Council on Human Relations. He served on both organizations’ boards from 1965-1993. He was a member of the Louisiana Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission from 1964 to 1981. He worked for social justice for low-income persons with Operation Hope in Baton Rouge and the Southern Mutual Help Association in St. Mary Parish for many years.  After 20 years as a faculty member, he became a Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Louisiana State University and continued to head panels and speak out against discrimination until his death in 2004.

27th - Jane L. Johnson

As cooperating attorney for the Louisiana ACLU beginning in 1978, Johnson litigated cases on freedom of speech and religion, women’s rights, abortion rights, Fourth Amendment rights, and the rights of racial minorities and the poor. From the late 1970’s to the 1990’s, she was the cooperating attorney on all of the abortion litigation brought by the ACLU in Louisiana. Johnson handled ACLU cases involving abortion clinic advertising, restrictions on Muslim prisoners’ freedom of religion and affirmative action.  In addition to serving as an ACLU cooperating attorney, Johnson has served on the ACLU Legal Panel, as Louisiana General Counsel and on the Board of Directors. For many years, she served as Director of Tulane Law School's Civil Litigation Clinic. As Director of the Tulane Law Clinic, Johnson was committed to the provision of high quality legal representation for the poor. She had a national impact on the delivery of legal services to the poor through her work with the ABA and the Association of American Law Schools.

28th - Clive Stafford Smith

Smith is an advocate for those charged with a capital offense. Smith litigated numerous death penalty cases that resulted in reversals or reduction in sentences and challenged traditional criminal and capital defense procedures. Smith worked for the Southern Prisoners' Defense Committee and on other campaigns to help convicted defendants sentenced to capital punishment. In 1993, he helped set up a new justice center, the Louisiana Crisis Assistance Center, now known as the Louisiana Capital Assistance Center in New Orleans. He helped foster the creation of the Innocence Project New Orleans, Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana and the Capital Appeals Project. He sought systemic reform of the criminal justice system to address inequities arising from race and poverty. Smith lives in England (2011).

29th - Dr. Barbara Forrest

Dr. Forrest co-authored Creationism's Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design, published in 2004. The book examines the goals and strategies of the intelligent design movement and creationism's relationship to the separation of church and state.  Dr. Forrest served on the board of the Louisiana ACLU, organized events on church-state issues, gave expert analysis on creationism bills, drafted letters to the Legislature and testified as a representative of Americans United for Separation of Church and state. She has served on the board of directors of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), the Board of Trustees of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and the New Orleans Secular Humanist Association (NOSHA). She was awarded the “Friend of Darwin” Award of the National Center for Science Education in 1988 and the Alex Allain Intellectual Freedom Award of the Louisiana Library Association in 1999

30th - Rebecca L. Hudsmith

Beginning in 1993, Hudsmith served as a Federal Public Defender for the Middle and Western Districts of Louisiana. Prior to that, she was engaged in private practice in criminal law in Shreveport and assisted in the re-formation of the Northwest Chapter of the ACLU of Louisiana in 1987. Hudsmith was the founding director of the Loyola Death Penalty Resource Center in New Orleans.  In 1997, Hudsmith successfully argued for the federal habeas corpus petitioner in the case of Trest v. Cain before the U.S. Supreme Court.  Hudsmith served on the Louisiana State Bar Association Committee on Bar Admissions and the Louisiana Indigent Defender Board. She is a past president of the Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and continued as a member of the board of directors.

31st - Denise LeBoeuf

LeBoeuf practiced law in New Orleans representing persons facing death at trial and in post-conviction in state and federal courts. She had a  particular interest in the litigation of mental health cases and in the ways in which race and poverty increase the traumatic burden carried by many clients. LeBoeuf was a staff attorney at Loyola Resource Center, Co-Director of the Center for Equal Justice and founding Director of the Capital Post-Conviction Project of Louisiana. non-profit law firms dedicated to capital defense. From 1990-1992, she was a Public Defender in Jefferson Parish and has served as the Chair of the Orleans Parish Public Defenders Board.  In 2003, she contributed to the formulation of the ABA Guidelines for the Appointment and Performance of Defense Counsel in Death Penalty Cases. She held various positions on the ACLU National and Affiliates for sixteen years from 1990-2006. She is past President and past General Counsel of the Louisiana American Civil Liberties Union, and was a Member of the Board of the ACLU for a number of years.

32nd - Hon. Calvin Johnson

Hon. Calvin Johnson was honored for 45 years of service as an activist and criminal court judge who pushed for fair treatment for all under the law.  He was elected to in the Orleans Parish Criminal District Court in 1990.  In 1993, he held hearings to demonstrate the lack of fair treatment in the defense of the indigent. As a result, the state of Louisiana was forced to revamp its funding formula for the Orleans Public Defenders Office and in 2006, the Legislature allocated $27 million for the public defense system. In 2003, Hon. Johnson created a special docket for the mentally ill trapped in the criminal justice system.  After Hurricane Katrina, Hon. Johnson led efforts to release those wrongly imprisoned, held past their sentence or never given a proper hearing. Hon. Johnson retired from the bench in January 2008 to return to practicing law and as an advocate to people with mental illness, drug addiction or developmental disorders.

33rd - Norris Henderson

During the 27 years he was wrongfully incarcerated, Henderson became a paralegal and “jailhouse lawyer,” filing important cases for other inmates. Beginning with his release in 2003, signed by Hon. Calvin Johnson,  Norris dedicated himself to the rights of the formerly incarcerated and to the safety of the New Orleans area. In 2004, he founded and served as the Executive Director Voice of the Ex-Offender (VOTE). He was a Soros Justice Fellow and co-director of Safe Streets/ Strong Communities promoting community organizing and advocacy for reform of the criminal justice system in New Orleans. He speaks publicly in support of the underprivileged, immigrant workers’ rights and the rights of the under-served. Norris has significantly affected public policy and public discourse about police brutality, public defense for the indigent and reforms to the Orleans Parish Prison.

34th - Larry Bagneris

Bagneris began his lifelong career as a civil rights activist at the age of 16, joining picket lines and sit-ins to protest racial segregation. In 1967, Bagneris became the first African- American elected as Vice-Chair of the Young Democrats of New Orleans. Bagneris served on the board for the first and second March on Washington for Gay and Lesbian Rights in 1979 and 1987. In 1980, he became the first openly gay person elected to serve as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention.   He founded the Christmas Toy and Joy Giving Program in 1982 that donated clothing, toys and school supplies to children in the W.B. Cooper and St. Thomas Housing Developments. He was appointed Executive Director of New Orleans Human Relations Commission as a mediator of reports of discrimination for the community and liaison between the Mayor and the New Orleans City Council.           

35th - Leah Chase

In 1945, the young woman who was to become "the Queen of Creole Cuisine" met and married musician Edgar "Dooky" Chase.  She started her career at the restaurant as a hostess but was soon redecorating the restaurant and working as a chef.   By the 1960’s, and Chase had started letting interracial groups of civil rights workers use a back room of the restaurant. In doing so, they risked both arrest and the loss of the family’s business, and played a critical role in the civil rights movement in Louisiana.  Chase has continued to promote African-American art, Creole cuisine and equality. She now volunteers with youth groups and at schools to educate young people about the history of our civil rights and the continuing need to nurture relationships between all races.

36th - Don Hubbard

As a teenager, Don Hubbard was one of the founders of the New Orleans Chapter of CORE, playing an essential role in leading and organizing direct action desegregating lunch counters, restaurants, and department store fitting roo In 1967 he organized opposition to “stop and frisk” ordinances proposed in New Orleans that would have allowed police to stop and frisk anyone without reasonable suspicion and to authorize an identity card designating someone as being in good standing with the police. Hubbard has worked to advance economic opportunities for African Americans in the New Orleans area and opened the first African-American owned business on St. Charles Avenue, the Hubbard Mansion bed and breakfast.

39th - Dr. Raphael Cassimere

Dr. Cassimere has been active in the NAACP since 1960 and has held the following offices: President, New Orleans NAACP Youth Council; President, Louisiana State Youth Conference,; Chairman, Southwest Regional States, for both adult and youth conferences, and in 2007, he was elected to an unprecedented ninth term as regional chairman. He also served as vice president of the Louisiana State Conference, NAACP from 1971-1982 and secretary of the New Orleans branch of the NAACP, 1979-82. From 1992-96, Cassimere served on the board of directors of the Crisis Publishing Company, the official journal of the national NAACP. He served as interim chairman of the Crisis Board in 1996. In 1982 Dr. Cassimere received the A.P. Tureaud Black Citizenship Medal, the highest award conferred by the NAACP in Louisiana.  Dr.Cassimere has served on the Louisiana Election Code Revision Commission which was responsible for revising the election laws of Louisiana. He has held numerous other positions and received  many awards for his civic work and his teaching at the University of New Orleans, where he was the first full-time African-American faculty member.

40th - Stewart Butler

Stewart Butler is a longtime LGBT activist who got his start in Louisiana political activism by working on voter registration drives in the 1970’s.  A founder of LAGPAC, influential in passage of New Orleans’s Human Relations Ordinance providing protections for LGBT individuals. 

39th - Hon. Pascal F. Calogero, Jr.

40th - Julie Schwam Harris

41st - Deon Haywood