Jackie Clarkson

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Jackie Clarkson, August 2012

Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson (born 1935) is a former president of the New Orleans City Council and a former member of the Louisiana House of Representatives. Clarkson is also the mother of American actress Patricia Clarkson.[1]

Background[edit]

Clarkson represented District C on the New Orleans City Council from 1990 to 1994 and from 2002 to 2006, as well as District 102 at the Louisiana House of Representatives.[2] The boundaries of District 102 are roughly the same as the Algiers neighborhood (also known as the Fifteenth Ward) in New Orleans. Those of District C include Algiers, as well as the Vieux Carré or French Quarter neighborhood.

Before Hurricane Katrina[edit]

During her second tenure on the council, Clarkson advocated a cleaner and safer French Quarter and attempted to restore the Jackson Square Artists Colony, established by the Constitution of the 1920s. A number of her constituents were enthusiastic about her efforts, whereas others, especially street performers and tarot readers, were rather apprehensive. Others were alarmed by her proposal to eliminate public space in the name of safety.

After Hurricane Katrina[edit]

Clarkson ran for Councilmember at Large in 2006, but she lost in the general election, often called the runoff in Louisiana, against Arnie Fielkow, another Democrat and former Executive Vice President of the National Football League's New Orleans Saints. Mayor Ray Nagin won re-election only after facing a much tougher challenge than expected before the hurricane, and half of the council members who ran again were defeated.

The resignation of Councilmember at Large Oliver Thomas in 2007 over bribery charges enabled Clarkson to return on New Orleans City Council. She was elected to her first term as Councilmember-at-Large in a special election in November 2007, defeating Cynthia Willard-Lewis.[3]

Clarkson in 2008 and 2009 became particularly outspoken in defending likeminded councilwoman Stacy Head in a feud with city sanitation director Veronica White. Clarkson called for White's dismissal, but Nagin defended White.[4]

Clarkson was re-elected as Councilmember at Large in February 2010 (again narrowly defeating Cynthia Willard-Lewis),[5] and was named president of the council in May 2011.[6]

Election history[edit]

Although a lifelong Democrat, Clarkson has been able to boast support from Republican organizations including the Parish Executive Committee of the Orleans Parish Republican Party.[7] In 2008 she broke party ranks and supported Republican challenger Anh "Joseph" Cao in his longshot but successful bid to unseat Democratic incumbent William J. Jefferson from Louisiana's 2nd congressional district seat.[8] Likeminded fellow Democratic Councilwoman Stacy Head found herself soon facing a recall petition. Clarkson, however, was not subjected to a recall effort; as councilwoman-at-large she represents a broader constituency, and she is more ingrained into the New Orleans political scene.[9] In May 2009, as the New Orleans e-mail controversies intensified, Clarkson began publishing thousands of her e-mail messages online:

Anything we don't want the public to see, we shouldn't put in an e-mail. . . . Just let us do it responsibly so private information about our constituents doesn't get out there.[10]
with her daughter in New Orleans

Councilmember, District C, 1994

Threshold > 50%

First Ballot, February 5, 1994

Candidate Affiliation Support Outcome
Troy Carter Democratic 13,355 (50%) Elected
Jackie Clarkson Democratic 13,331 (50%) Defeated

State Representative, 102nd Representative District, 1994

Threshold > 50%

First Ballot, October 1, 1994

Candidate Affiliation Support Outcome
Jackie Clarkson Democratic 4,018 (49%) Runoff
Yvonne Mitchell-Grubb Democratic 2,504 (31%) Runoff
Others n.a. 1,667 (20%) Defeated

Second Ballot, November 8, 1994

Candidate Affiliation Support Outcome
Jackie Clarkson Democratic 4,965 (55%) Elected
Yvonne Mitchell-Grubb Democratic 3,984 (45%) Defeated

State Representative, 102nd Representative District, 1995

Threshold > 50%

First Ballot, October 21, 1995

Candidate Affiliation Support Outcome
Jackie Clarkson Democratic 4,691 (45%) Runoff
Ron Guidry Democratic 3,952 (38%) Runoff
Others n.a. 1,685 (17%) Defeated

Second Ballot, November 18, 1995

Candidate Affiliation Support Outcome
Jackie Clarkson Democratic 6,040 (51%) Elected
Ron Guidry Democratic 5,829 (49%) Defeated

State Representative, 102nd Representative District, 1999

Threshold > 50%

First Ballot, October 23, 1999

Candidate Affiliation Support Outcome
Jackie Clarkson Democratic 5,520 (62%) Elected
Kenneth Garrett Democratic 1,453 (16%) Defeated
Others n.a. 1,888 (22%) Defeated

Councilmember, District C, 2002

Threshold > 50%

First Ballot, February 2, 2002

Candidate Affiliation Support Outcome
Jackie Clarkson Democratic 11,961 (53%) Elected
Catherine Smith[disambiguation needed] Democratic 3,783 (17%) Defeated
Others n.a. 7,013 (30%) Defeated

Councilmember(s) at Large (2), 2006

Threshold > 25%

First Ballot, April 22, 2006

Candidate Affiliation Support Outcome
Oliver Thomas Democratic 66,374 (39%) Elected
Jackie Clarkson Democratic 36,839 (22%) Runoff
Arnie Fielkow Democratic 31,092 (18%) Runoff
Others n.a. 35,060 (21%) Defeated

Second Ballot, May 20, 2006

Candidate Affiliation Support Outcome
Arnie Fielkow Democratic 61,420 (56%) Elected
Jackie Clarkson Democratic 47,324 (44%) Defeated

Councilmember at Large, 2007

Threshold > 50%

First Ballot, October 20, 2007

Candidate Affiliation Support Outcome
Cynthia Willard-Lewis Democratic 20,623 (28%) Runoff
Jackie Clarkson Democratic 15,766 (21%) Runoff
Virginia Boulet Democratic 14,620 (20%) Defeated
Diana Bajoie Democratic 7,816 (11%) Defeated
Others n.a. 14,802 (20%) Defeated

First Ballot, November 17, 2007

Candidate Affiliation Support Outcome
Jackie Clarkson Democratic 27,740 (53%) Elected
Cynthia Willard-Lewis Democratic 24,874 (47%) Defeated

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Robin Finn, Public Lives; A Fling With Hollywood, but True Love for the Big Easy", The New York Times, August 8, 2008.
  2. ^ "The 2000 Legislature". The Advocate (Baton Rouge, La.). November 22, 1999. Retrieved October 10, 2011. 
  3. ^ Frank Douze, Clarkson wins at-large Council seat, Times-Picayune (New Orleans), November 17, 2007.
  4. ^ See the articles on Stacy Head, Ray Nagin, and Veronica White.
  5. ^ "Arnie Fielkow, Jackie Clarkson elected to New Orleans City Council at-large posts", Times-Picayune, February 5, 2010.
  6. ^ "Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson becomes City Council President", official website, May 3, 2011.
  7. ^ Clarkson campaign web site (accessed 18 March 2009).
  8. ^ Michelle Krupa & Frank Donze, Anh 'Joseph' Cao beats Rep. William Jefferson in 2nd Congressional District, Times-Picayune, 7 December 2008 (accessed 18 March 2009). At the time Jefferson was under indictment on 16 felony counts, and on 5 August 2009 he was convicted on 11 of them (see William J. Jefferson#Indictment and trial).
  9. ^ See Black Residents Defend Stacy Head Amid Recall: Local Group Claims City Council Member Is Racist, 9 March 2009 (accessed 18 March 2009); and James Gill, "Of all the accusations against Stacy Head, only one sticks -- she's white" in Times-Picayune (New Orleans), 18 March 2009, Saint Tammany Edition, p. B5.
  10. ^ Michelle Krupa, "Surge of N.O. e-mail may flow online soon: It's 2.5 million pages of files, attorney says" in Times-Picayune (New Orleans), 20 May 2009, Saint Tammany Edition, pp. A1, A9 (Clarkson quoted on p. A9). See also Stacy Head.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Mike Early (D)
Councilmember, District C
1990–1994
Succeeded by
Troy Carter (D)
Preceded by
Troy Carter (D)
State Representative, 102nd Representative District
1994–2002
Succeeded by
Jeff Arnold (D)
Preceded by
Troy Carter (D)
Councilmember, District C
2002–2006
Succeeded by
James Carter (D)
Preceded by
Michael C. Darnell (D)
Interim
Councilmember at Large
2007–Current
Succeeded by
Incumbent