Sherman Copelin

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Sherman Nathaniel Copelin, Jr.
Louisiana State Representative for
District 99 ()Lower Ninth Ward in Orleans Parish
In office
Preceded byJon D. Johnson
Succeeded byLeonard Lucas
Speaker Pro Tempore of the Louisiana House
In office
Preceded byHunt Downer
Succeeded byPeppi Bruneau
Personal details
BornAugust 1943
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Political partyDemocratic
Alma materSt. Augustine High School
Dillard University

Sherman Nathaniel Copelin, Jr. (born August 1943),[1] is an African-American politician and businessman from his native New Orleans, Louisiana.

The son of a funeral director, Copelin graduated from St. Augustine High School and then became active in student politics at historically black Dillard University, where he became student body president. He was hired to serve as an aide in the administration of Mayor Victor Schiro in 1968. In the 1970s, he and Don Hubbard emerged as the leaders of the black political organization called SOUL (Southern Organization for Unified Leadership). SOUL's effectiveness in rallying the support of African American voters for candidates like Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards and New Orleans Mayor Moon Landrieu made him a powerful figure in New Orleans and Louisiana politics. Copelin was formerly affiliated with the Total Community Action Agency and its Central City Health Clinic, run by former State Representative Dorothy Mae Taylor, the first African-American woman to serve in the Louisiana House of Representatives. Through this agency and clinic, a generation of rising black politicians such as Copelin were groomed for future success.[2]

In the 1970s Copelin headed Superdome Services, Inc., a politically-connected company contracted by the Landrieu administration to provide janitorial and security services for the then new Louisiana Superdome. Scandal emerged when Copelin was accused of receiving payoffs from companies seeking to obtain contracts from City Hall.

In 1986, Copelin was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives from New Orleans's Lower Ninth Ward. He was subsequently the Speaker Pro Tempore. Success in business dealings led Copelin to move to Eastern New Orleans outside his district. The residency issue became an issue in his re-election campaign, and he was defeated in 1999 by the Reverend Leonard Lucas.

Copelin ran unsuccessfully in the New Orleans mayoral election of 1994.

Copelin is currently the head of the New Orleans East Business Association, and since Hurricane Katrina has publicly opposed the construction of new apartment complexes in New Orleans East.


  1. ^ "Sherman Copelin, August 1943". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved July 10, 2017.
  2. ^ Michael Radcliff (June 14, 2011). "Remembering Dorothy Mae Taylor: The First Lady of 1300 Perdido St". The Louisiana Weekly. Retrieved September 27, 2014.

Bridges, Tyler. Bad Bet on the Bayou: The Rise of Gambling in Louisiana and the Fall of Governor Edwin Edwards. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2001.

DuBos, Clancy. "SOUL on the Ropes." Gambit Weekly. March 20, 2001. [1]

Louisiana House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jon D. Johnson
Louisiana State Representative for
District 99 (Lower Ninth Ward of Orleans Parish)

Sherman Nathaniel Copelin, Jr.

Succeeded by
Leonard Lucas
Preceded by
Hunt Downer
Speaker Pro Tempore of the Louisiana House of Representatives

Sherman Nathaniel Copelin, Jr.
1992 – 1996

Succeeded by
Peppi Bruneau