New Orleans mayoral election, 1977

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The New Orleans mayoral election of 1977 resulted in the election of Ernest Morial as the first African-American mayor of New Orleans.


Elections in Louisiana—with the exception of U.S. presidential elections—follow a variation of the open primary system. Candidates of any and all parties are listed on one ballot; voters need not limit themselves to the candidates of one party. Unless one candidate takes more than 50% of the vote in the first round, a run-off election is then held between the top two candidates, who may in fact be members of the same party. In this election, the first round of voting was held on October 1, 1977, and the runoff was held on November 12.

Incumbent mayor Moon Landrieu was term-limited.


Primary, October 1

Candidate Votes received
Ernest Morial 41,182
Joe DiRosa 36,862
Nat Kiefer 36,597
DeLesseps "Toni" Morrison, Jr. 32,176
Thomas Lewis Giraud 5,215
Herbert W. Christenberry, Jr. 1,381
Joel Aber 377
Rodney Fertel 293
Cecil M. Shilstone 191
Thomas Joseph Garnier 188
George A. Aiavolasiti 181

Runoff, November 12

Candidate Votes received
Ernest Morial 90,539
Joe DiRosa 84,325

Preceded by
1973 mayoral election
New Orleans mayoral elections Succeeded by
1982 mayoral election


  • Board of Supervisors of Elections for the Parish of Orleans. Election Returns of Orleans Parish, 1977.