(New Orleans, La.) Former New Orleans Mayor and Loyola University New Orleans baseball player Maurice “Moon” Landrieu spoke to the Wolf Pack baseball team recently. Landrieu talked about his life before and after playing baseball at Loyola, and how being a member of the Wolf Pack affected the choices he has made in his life.
Introduced by Fr. Ted Dziak, Vice President of Mission and Ministry who arranged the visit, Landrieu noted, “If I hadn’t been a student-athlete, I don’t think I ever would have been elected to office. Not because of any notoriety I earned, but if you want to try something tough, run for office. You can always take another step. You can always push a little harder. I credit that athletic experience with giving me the stamina, the wherewithal, and the willpower to move forward.”
Landrieu touched on his experiences growing up in a segregated New Orleans and the difficult choices he has made in his life. In the 1960’s, Landrieu had to make the decision to vote for the predominant view of keeping the schools segregated. Instead he opposed that position and voted for integration in a move that could have been politically detrimental. Landrieu told the team,“Things are going to happen in your life that you can’t account for...You are on the verge of a gifted life. Do the best you can with it, and ask God to help you with your decisions.”
Landrieu graduated from Loyola in 1952 with a degree in business administration and completed his law degree from the university in 1954. He received honorary degrees from the university in 1979 and 2005. In 2014, Landrieu received the St. Ives Award from the Loyola College of Law. The St. Ives Award is the highest honor given out by the law school.
Six years after graduating law school, Landrieu became a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives. After serving for six years, he was named to the New Orleans City Council (1966-1970). From there, Landrieu was elected the 56th Mayor of New Orleans, serving the city in that position from 1970 to 1978. Landrieu’s political career culminated when he became the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Jimmy Carter. He was the 7th such secretary in US history and he served from September 24th, 1979 until January 20th, 1981. Landrieu then went on to be a judge in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals for the State of Louisiana.
“It was great for us to hear Mr. Landrieu speak and learn about his experiences. As a senior, I have some important decisions ahead, and he taught me that major decisions in life don’t come easily. It is always amazing to hear a person of his status speak and share his knowledge, and this time was no exception,” said senior infielder Brandon Snow.
Landrieu is the father of current New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu as well as United States Senator Mary Landrieu. Mitch Landrieu has been the mayor since 2010 after serving as a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives and as the Lieutenant Governor of the state. Mary Landrieu has been a Louisiana state senator since 1997. In Congress, she is the chair of the Senate Committee on Energy on Natural Resources as well as the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.
“Mr. Landrieu talked about his baseball and educational experience at Loyola and how it prepared him for his political and personal life. He also spoke about how playing athletics prepared him to face adversity and make tough decisions. These are things we consistently tell the players about their futures, but it was important for them to hear it from someone as respected and accomplished as Mr. Landrieu,” said Head Coach Doug Faust.