Lindy Boggs

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Lindy Boggs
Ambassador Boggs
5th U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See
In office
November 12, 1997 – March 2001
Preceded by Raymond Flynn
Succeeded by Jim Nicholson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Louisiana's 2nd district
In office
March 20, 1973 – January 3, 1991
Preceded by Hale Boggs
Succeeded by William J. Jefferson
Personal details
Born (1916-03-13)March 13, 1916
New Roads, Louisiana, U.S.
Died July 27, 2013(2013-07-27) (aged 97)
Chevy Chase, Maryland, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Hale Boggs
Relations Steven V. Roberts (son-in-law)
Rebecca Roberts (granddaughter)
six (great-grandchildren)
Daniel J. Hartman (grandson-in-law)
Paul Sigmund (son-in-law)
Lee Roberts (grandson)
Paul Sigmund, Jr. (grandson)
David Sigmund (grandson)
Stephen Sigmund (grandson)
DeLesseps Story Morrison (second cousin)
William C. C. Claiborne (ancestor)
Children Barbara Boggs Sigmund
Thomas Hale Boggs, Jr.
Cokie Roberts
Infant William Robertson Boggs
Residence New Orleans, Louisiana
Chevy Chase, Maryland
Alma mater Tulane University
Occupation English teacher
Religion Roman Catholic

Marie Corinne Morrison Claiborne Boggs, usually known as Lindy Boggs (March 13, 1916 – July 27, 2013), was a United States political figure who served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and later as United States Ambassador to the Holy See. She was the first woman elected to Congress from Louisiana. She was also a permanent chairwoman of the 1976 Democratic National Convention, which met in New York City to nominate the Carter-Mondale ticket.[1] She was the first female to preside over a major party convention.[2]

Boggs was the widow of former Majority Leader of the United States House of Representatives Hale Boggs, and the mother of four children: Cokie Roberts (a television journalist); Thomas Hale Boggs, Jr. (a prominent lobbyist); the late Barbara Boggs Sigmund, a mayor of Princeton, New Jersey and an unsuccessful candidate in the 1982 New Jersey Democratic senatorial primary election (won by the late Frank Lautenberg); and William Robertson Boggs, who died as an infant on December 28, 1946.

Biographical sketch[edit]

Boggs was born on the Brunswick Plantation near New Roads in Pointe Coupee Parish in South Louisiana. She attended Newcomb College at Tulane University in New Orleans. She was a second cousin of deLesseps Story "Chep" Morrison, Sr., the former mayor of New Orleans, Ambassador to the Organization of American States, and three-time candidate for governor of Louisiana[3] who for a time was her husband's law partner.[4]

Lindy Boggs, 1973 Congressional Portrait

On October 16, 1972, Representative Hale Boggs' twin-engine Cessna plane disappeared over Alaska. Boggs was helping a colleague, Nicholas Begich, father of former U.S. Senator Mark Begich of Alaska, to campaign for reelection.[5][6] The first bill that the House passed in 1973, House Resolution 1, officially recognized Hale Boggs' death and created the need for a special election. Lindy Boggs ran successfully as a Democrat for her husband's vacated seat in Louisiana's 2nd congressional district, based about New Orleans.

Boggs was elected to a full term in 1974 with 82 percent of the vote and was reelected seven times thereafter until she vacated her office in January 1991. In 1980, she faced her closest challenge from the Republican Rob Couhig, an attorney-businessman who raised some $200,000 for the race, a large amount at that time for a challenger in a difficult district.[citation needed] Lindy Boggs still prevailed, 45,091 votes (63.8 percent) to Couhig's 25,512 (36.2 percent).[7] Otherwise, Boggs polled more than 80 percent in her contested races. In her four final campaigns, she ran without opposition even though the district had been redrawn with an African American majority following the 1980 United States Census.[citation needed]

Lindy Boggs, 1984 Congressional Portrait

In 1994, Boggs was inducted into the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame in Winnfield, one year after her husband had been among the original thirteen inductees.

In 1997, President Bill Clinton appointed her official U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, a position she held until 2001.

In 2005, Boggs's home on Bourbon Street in New Orleans' French Quarter sustained moderate wind damage from Hurricane Katrina.[citation needed] In 2006, she was awarded the Congressional Distinguished Service Award for her time in the House of Representatives.

Boggs was a member of Sigma Gamma Rho, one of the four traditionally African-American sororities in the United States.[citation needed]

The Boggs Center for Energy and Biotechnology Building at Tulane is named in her honor.[8]

Boggs died of natural causes at her home in Chevy Chase, Maryland on July 27, 2013.[9] A funeral Mass was held on August 1, 2013 at St. Louis Cathedral at 615 Pere Antoine Alley in New Orleans. Interment followed later in the day at St. Mary's Cemetery in New Roads.[10] Governor Bobby Jindal ordered all U.S. and state flags in Louisiana to fly at half staff until August 2 in Mrs. Boggs' memory.[11]


Further reading[edit]

  • Boggs, Lindy, with Katherine Hatch. Washington Through a Purple Veil: Memoirs of a Southern Woman. New York: Harcourt Brace and Co., 1994
  • Ferrell, Thomas H., and Judith Haydel. “Hale and Lindy Boggs: Louisiana’s National Democrats.” Louisiana History 35 (Fall 1994): 389–402.
  • Tyler, Pamela. "Silk Stockings & Ballot Boxes: Women & Politics in New Orleans, 1920 - 1965". University of Georgia Press, 1996.
  • Carrick, Bess. "Lindy Boggs: Steel and Velvet". Documentary film chronicles Mrs. Boggs' career in politics and features Cokie & Steve Roberts, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Rep. John Lewis, former House Speaker Tom Foley, and scholars, Dr. Patrick Maney, & Dr. Pamela Tyler. Produced by Bess Carrick with Louisiana Public Broadcasting, 2006. Airdate 2006–present, nationwide via PBS-Plus.
  • Maney, Patrick J. "Hale Boggs: The Southerner as National Democrat" in Raymond W Smock and Susan W Hammond, eds. Masters of the House: Congressional Leadership Over Two Centuries (1998) pp 33–62.

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Hale Boggs
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Louisiana's 2nd congressional district

Succeeded by
William J. Jefferson
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Raymond Flynn
U. S. Ambassador to the Holy See
Succeeded by
James Nicholson
Party political offices
Preceded by
Larry O'Brien
Permanent Chairwoman of the Democratic National Convention
Succeeded by
Tip O'Neill