1977 New Orleans Mayoral Election

← 1973 October 1, 1977 (first round)
November 12, 1977 (runoff)
1982 →
Dutch Morial Crop 1985.jpg
Candidate Ernest Morial Joe DiRosa
Party Democratic
First round 41,182
Runoff 90,539

Candidate Nat Kiefer Toni Morrison
Party Democratic
First round 36,597
Runoff Eliminated Eliminated

Mayor before election

Moon Landrieu

Elected Mayor

Ernest Morial

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.

The 1977 municipal elections were the first under Louisiana's open primary law signed by Governor Edwin Edwards two years earlier.

Under the New Orleans City Charter adopted by voters in 1954, Incumbent mayor Moon Landrieu was term-limited.


Primary, October 1
A total of 154,643 votes were cast

Candidate Votes received %
Ernest Morial 41,182 26.63%
Joe DiRosa 36,862 23.84%
Nat Kiefer 36,597 23.67%
DeLesseps "Toni" Morrison, Jr. 32,176 20.81%
Thomas Lewis Giraud 5,215 3.37%
Herbert W. Christenberry, Jr. 1,381 0.89%
Joel Aber 377 0.24%
Rodney Fertel 293 0.19%
Cecil M. Shilstone 191 0.12%
Thomas Joseph Garnier 188 0.12%
George A. Aiavolasiti 181 0.12%

Runoff, November 12

Candidate Votes received %
Ernest Morial 90,539 51.78%
Joe DiRosa 84,325 48.22%

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