Dan Ellis -- Writer | home
Dan Ellis -- Educator/Politician
The Echo Taps
While in my last term of college courses, the Selective Service Board apprised me of
being inducted to military duty for January 11, 1952. After conferring with college professors, I
appealed to the Board for a postponement which was granted and extended to January 26, 1952,
allowing me time to complete my requirements for graduation.
Southeastern Louisiana College further granted permission for my graduation "in
absentia" which nullified my being present for services and commencement exercises in May.
My Diploma and BA Degree citation were mailed to my mother's home in New Orleans while I
was on military duty.
After two years of military service, I was too late to make application for Orleans Parish
schools, so I sought surrounding school openings. Plaquemines Parish accepted me.
The Teacher in Me — 1953
The drive to Belle Chasse, a small town south of Gretna and Harvey in Jefferson Parish
was across the Mississippi River from New Orleans. I had taken over the automobile that Elynor
had been using in order to make my daily trips. Elynor did not need it during the week since she
was accustomed to taking the street car to the law firm office in downtown New Orleans where
she was a secretary. My intention during 14 months over seas and sending money home was to
purchase a car. Not very much to my surprise, when I asked Elynor for the money, she stated that
there was none because my mother had appealed to her for it. No Big Deal! My mother's needs
were for the younger siblings.
Each day to work, I drove from the house on Prytania Street to Jackson Avenue to the
Mississippi River to take what was called the Jackson Ferry to cross over to Gretna, then along
the River Road through the Harvey Tunnel to reach Belle Chasse in all, an hour trip if I
promptly caught the ferry connection. If I had to wait for the next ferry, it could be as much as
another half hour or more. I soon learned to use my waiting time by grading papers or preparing
My class load was teaching fourth and fifth grade students in the same classroom at the
same time. That was no real problem, I simply divided the students to separate sides of the room
and would teach fourth grade arithmetic to the fourth graders while the fifth grade students were
doing their written assignments. And this was followed suit for the other courses.
Teacher of Social Studies 1954 - 1957 Colton Jr High for three years ages 23-25
I entered the Orleans Parish School System by being assigned to a junior high school
located near the French Quarters. For some reason all new teachers seemed to be assigned to that
school as a training ground. The students were more unruly than at other schools, but the
principal was strict and had a strong hand even over the teaching staff.
Elynor took a job at another location and needed her automobile
so I took streetcars and buses during mornings and evenings for the first two years until I was able to afford my own used car.
I had no shame are concern for "not keeping up with the Joneses."
I was 24 years old and most of my students favored me with their attentions or questions. During my first years of teaching,
I was always close in age to the students and some of the girls were quite precocious young ladies. I playfully flirted back with them,
but, as well, I was chummy with the boys. Regardless, I was a strong disciplinarian and taught all of my students well.
I inspired them and they learned. It was a running joke that I would place the best looking
girls of each class near my desk.
While my friend, Tony, and I were still teaching at Colton Jr. High, his wife and Elynor
became close friends and were able to keep shared company while tending to the infant girls.
In 1955, as an investment, Tony and I purchased a six-apartment unit in the Irish Channel
which we converted into eight apartments. This experimental fiasco lasted two years before we
gladly sold out at a more than modest loss. The problem rested in collecting rents from the
impoverished tenants who gave every excuse in the world for not keeping up with weekly rental
payments. Tony and I concurred that we were not good at rent collections.
In the mean time, I attended Loyola University from 1955 through 1957 taking graduate
courses for a Master of Education Degree. Teachers' pay was so low that the only way to get
additional income was by way of a second job or by spending time in gaining additional
education to attain a degree that offered pay increases. I did both!
During Christmas seasons I worked as a part time postman delivering mail during the
school holiday break and because of the Veterans Education Benefits, I received monthly checks
in small amounts for sustenance pay while attending university classes. I continued my course
work for a number of years until exhausting my GI benefits while seeking additional degrees at
Tulane University and at LSU.
I graduated from Loyola University receiving a Master of Education Degree in1957 at age
26, but not without difficult beginnings. The Admissions desk refused my enrollment. This
resulted in my appearance before a Review Board consisting of several Catholic Nuns and
Priests. Their concern was my poor grade averaging at Southeastern College. I won the
argument with the Sisters by explaining that judgement should be based on my final two years
performance and not my first two years at Southeastern in addition to evaluating my maturity
after two years of Army life and two years of teaching experience.
Result they placed me on probation providing I should pass the first semester's
subjects with B-plus or better. I did it!
In another attempt to increase our income, my friend Tony and I made an arrangement
with my mother in 1956 to operate her place at West End Park which I had managed part time
prior to performing my soldier's obligations. This was a large building structure resting on
pilings over Lake Pontchartrain, originally called Pontchartrain Plaza when it had been built as a
gambling casino in 1945. Through the years, there were failing attempts to make the place
profitable. The place was too large for Tony and me to begin a cocktail lounge, so we used just
the front vestibule and part of one wing and opened only on weekends as the Pontchartrain Plaza.
We did not have much initial or operating capital so with the money we had, we
constructed tables and a bar the back-bar being composed of cardboard painted black. Then we
bought chairs and liquor in that order. And then we opened for business.
Al, another teaching friend of mine lived just a few blocks from me and was also a
teacher at Warren Easton High School. Having known him since college days, he eventually
became a very helpful friend. He and I opened another business establishment at the lake front
that also belonged to my mother. It was a small structure, just in front of the Pontchartrain Plaza,
having a small kitchen located on the seawall walkway. Al and I called it "Prof's Place" thinking
that a lot of our student's folks would become customers. Not so, but we were able to make a
few dollars during the warm months selling boiled and fried seafood and sandwiches. The
building was large enough to hold several refrigerated containers for beer and soft drinks, from
which, these sales provided additional income. So, I would work at Prof's Place during week
nights with Al and during the weekends, I worked at the Pontchartrain Plaza with Tony.
Somehow, one of the Jax Beer people made contact with us to do a private dance in the
large vacant area to the rear of our Lounge, (which was originally the Casino gambling hall).
They had a grand party and one of the members of the band, Sergio Pages (Pa-hess) a Cuban,
asked if we could hire his group on Sundays. We found out that his wife was one of the owners
of Jackson Brewery. We explained that we had no financial resources to hire another band, other
than the one we had for Friday and Saturday nights, when we were assured of some college
crowd customers. Sergio, quite a salesman, talked his wife into paying for the band. We put up
the place and split the profits from bar sales. That meant we would have to pay for the liquor and
beer stock, leaving us just a small margin of profit. We decided to go for it in the event it helped
advertise the place for our weekend nights.
We actually had the last of the Big Band Orchestras to play in New Orleans. There were
as many as 15 to 18 high-class band members, all playing Latin tunes. Xavier Cugat and Perez
Prado had made the Mambo songs and dances famous in addition to the traditional Latin dances
and the new Cuban Cha-Cha-Cha. And Sergio billed the Sunday afternoon as "Mambo
Matinee." This lasted just seven sundays before Sergio came to us and said, "It's time to hang up
my Maracas!" That was his instrument of choice and thus the end of a wonderful era of Big
Bands in New Orleans and possibly the last in the whole United States.
Our "Lounge" business had been a break-even venture at best so when the opportunity arose for my mother to get
rental income from a prime source, the My-O-My Club was opened after
their former establishment had burned down.
Avocational School Projects
In addition to primary and secondary vocations, I was also involved with a number of school related groups such as
the following Associations.
Member of the Board of Directors of N.O. Classroom Teachers Federation;
President of the N.O. School Instructors Association;
President of the Orleans Parish School Employee's Federal Credit Union;
Delegate, to the La. Teachers Asso. Convention for Jefferson Parish Unit;
Member of the American Legion, Ed Brauner Post #307;
I joined the American Legion feeling good about my being a Veteran. I served as the Regional Oratorical Contest
chairman for several years but stopped attending the Post meetings. And, Why? Would you believe?
They were a bunch of horny guys showing porno movies. I just never liked doing or thinking sex as a public thing.
Then there was Politics
During my second year of teaching at Colton, the Guidance Counselor cultivated the friendship of my old highschool
friend Tony and myself. We met socially with our wives at dances that took place in the Officer's Club at Camp Leroy Johnson
near Pontchartrain Beach. Through Ray, I got involved in teacher organizations and politics. By entering this new world of
olitical activity, I became involved in many meetings after school.
Elynor never did mind the additional workloads that I performed as long as she felt a part
of it and could join in if she cared to. Living with or near her mother made it convenient to leave
the first and second daughters with the mother-in-law on occasions. As long as it did not
interrupt the mother's work schedule, she was somewhat supportive as a baby sitter. Therefore, I
never did get much complaint from Elynor about the many political and teacher related meetings
that I was involved in as long as she knew where I was and that I would call in from time to time.
However, as years passed, too often when I would dutifully call home to explain that I was going
to be delayed, I was confronted by a tirade of complaints. Thus, I eventually stopped calling
home being aware of what to expect.
For certain it was hell to pay when I did not call or if I was later than the expected time of
my return. Then she would harp and scream and yell for several hours and pout for several days.
Needless to say, I did not always see things her way.
Nevertheless, Elynor did participate somewhat frequently in political meetings.
A House Renovation
During a three-year period, from 1957 through 1959, I was in process of renovating a two-story uptown home that was
transformed to providing our downstairs residence and two rental apartment units upstairs. I maintained my teaching positions
in addition to renovating our house and later renovating part of Elynor's mother's new house that was located just a block away.
We lived at 4201 Chestnut Street and Milan for a period of ten years.
After I had gained the position of State Secretary of the Young Democrats of Louisiana in
1958, I had a number of planning sessions at the house. In this way Elynor enjoyed participating
and shared in many of the glories and the political socials with occasions to meet political
An Election Run
My first run for political office came about when the incumbent State Representative Marshal Brown contacted me to support
his election for governor. It was my early notoriety as State Secretary of the Young Democrats that caused him to single me out
as a candidate to fill his vacancy as State Representative for the Twelfth Ward. This was a pleasant surprise and a wonderful
way to learn the good and bad of politics. As it turned out, there were eight candidates running for the position, one of whom was Moon Landrieu.
Marshal Brown withdrew from the preliminaries and supported Mayor Chep Morrison for governor who had placed Moon on his ticket
for the 12th Ward. Thus, Brown dropped his endorsement of me and supported Moon. Of course, both of them became my enemies
for many years afterward.
In politics, one would attempt to get as many political endorsements as possible. I was able to gain placement on the Jimmie Davis Ticket
for governor as well as Bill Dodd for governor. I felt that I was in a good position besides getting support of the Old Regular Party
12th Ward Leader. In the end, I lost the endorsement of the Old Regulars by one vote, that of Jimmie Fitzmorris who had pledged
his support to me initially, but back tracked, "stabbing me in the back," so the Old Regulars went for Moon.
In seeking support from local press media, I felt good about receiving a dual endorsement
from the New Orleans Times Picayune newspapers. The publishing board decided to split their
endorsement for both Moon and me.
I still felt I was in good shape, except for the unforeseen endorsement of the League of Women Voters for Moon. Although Chep Morrison
lost the election and Jimmie Davis became Governor Moon won the 12 Ward State Representative position by 300 votes out of more than
9,000 votes cast, primarily because the 12th Ward was heavily supportive of Chep Morrison.
Regardless, I lost the election and never looked back. It was a vigorous campaign in spite of the fact that I ran on a shoe string budget
without major funding.
School Days at Warren Easton
After my initial three year contract at Colton Jr. High, I requested and received a transfer
to Warren Easton High School on Canal Street as a history teacher.
My brother Ed Werner always enjoyed telling the story of his first day at Warren Easton
which was also my first day there. Ed was assigned to me for his Home Room. As soon as he
walked in the classroom, I looked up from my desk and simply pointed out my arm and extended
finger and he knew not to come in and had himself reassigned.
I remained at Warren Easton for three years, from 1957 to 1960, from age 26 through 28,
before moving to the Jefferson Parish School System.
While at Easton, I continued taking graduate school courses at LSU Graduate School
from 1957 to 1960 while pursuing a Doctorate Degree in Education and also additional course
work at Tulane University in 1959. At Tulane, the professor instructed us to appear one morning
at 4:00 a.m. to view the passing of Sputnik in October 1959 something one never forgets.
A Fund Raiser
During my second year at Warren Easton, on my own volition I initiated a fund raiser
which I named "Hellz-A-Poppin." It was a two evening event put on in the school auditorium
raising several hundreds of dollars for the Principal's Fund. The principal became quite friendly
after that promotion which consisted of all volunteers students and staff personnel. The
production was a two-hour display of skits, dances, and individual student talent reviews.
True to my love for dancing, I personally choreographed four boys and four girls each
of them already had basic dancing skills to perform four separate routines that were
interspersed during the evening. A Tango, a Cha-Cha, a FoxTrot, and a JitterBug and I handled
the selection of their costumes. The event was a tremendous success.
More Politics and I
I had become bitten by the Political Bug and spent all my extra time in promoting and growing the Young Democrats of Louisiana
having served as State Secretary from 1958 to 1962, and elected State President in 1963.
With this came more work but with the benefits of meeting many people in and out of government. The campaign elections for
U.S. Presidency allowed me avenues to promote and
meet many persons in high positions of local, state, and national government, primarily in Southern States.
Fund raising was important because no one gives money to fledgling groups or
individuals without arduous promotional work. Many of the activist elements with whom I
associated with were attorneys who had extra capital allocated for their participation, while I had
only my paltry teachers' income. Early fund raising was by shaking cans on street corners
picking up extra coins for JFK because we had joined the Jack Kennedy for President campaign
push. During that campaign I met all of the Kennedy family members either in New Orleans or
on trips to Washington, D.C.
Following the Jack Kennedy successful win, we arranged another fund raiser during
which we gave out special awards to significant public officials.
Receiving an award at right is Clyde Bel who was Chairman of the CCDA. Seated at right is former U.S. Senator Russell Long.
Not shown is former Gov. Earl Long. Former Mayor Chep Morrison is standing behind Dan Ellis. It was considered a political feat
on my part for having
both Governor Earl Long and Senator Russell Long at the same time during their season of staunch rivalry.
I had also joined several civic organizations, the Young Men's Business Club, YMBC which conducted weekly luncheon meetings
at the Blue Room in the Roosevelt Hotel, downtown New Orleans. The membership comprised most of the area business, professional,
and political leaders. Anyone who wanted to get known had to go through the indoctrination of this civic and social club. I could only
attend the meetings during summer months when there were no school classes for me to tend to.
Founder of Young Democrats Toastmasters Club
One of the spinoff groups was the YMBC Toastmasters Club. This social educational activity was very beneficial to me, not only
helpful in my teaching profession but also enabling me to enhance my public oratory. After being a member for several years, I adopted
the concept and started the Young Democrats Toastmasters Club. I guess it was the teacher in me that developed the idea to make
better public speakers of prospective candidates for public office and to provide a forum for existing prominent public officials.
The idea worked very well and had a lot of participation, but when I stopped participating, the membership interest quickly waned.
Since I had started the group, I became its first president. My sense of organization was to have semi-annual elections, both to entice
new members and to give the existing membership
opportunity to grow by learning the different titular responsibilities and to also give them a
credit line when listing their accomplishments on resumes.
I was contacted through the Mayor's office to meet with some young members of NATO. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization made
arrangements through the Department of Justice to organize several groups of 20 young members from different European countries.
Each group was given a separate itinerary to visit several cities in the United States. New Orleans was part of the tour and when I was
contacted, I asked if there was any funding to help defray the cost of hosting such a large group for two or three days. The answer was
"no," that each of the participating NATO members had their own funds and the hosting committee, me, would have to make all
accommodations except for lodging.
I loved the idea, so I gathered several of my Young Democrat members and we gave the
group an interesting tour that included a cruise aboard the steamer the "Good Neighbor" through
Lake Pontchartrain and adjoining waterways including the Mississippi River. They were also
escorted to a neighboring Parish political meeting supporting a candidate for Sheriff. They were
dumfounded upon hearing the bellicose statements in addressing and attacking opponents. And
then they wanted to know who paid for the boiled crayfish that was a new dish for them and the
many servings of beer that flowed all evening.
They were thoroughly introduced to Louisiana politics.
Jefferson Parish politics
It was also during this time that I became quite involved in Jefferson Parish politics. I was active in support of Frank Langridge
for his reelection as District Attorney (at right) and also in support of Jack Fitzgerald for Sheriff (at left).
Little did I know at the time that eventually I would be seeking their support for another election run for myself.
Consumer Credit Card Project
During the Summer that followed, I became involved in what was purported to be the first ever Consumer Credit Card program which
originated as a pilot study by Professor Peter Firmen at Tulane University Business School. A young attorney friend in the Young Democrats
told me that Firmen had hired a lot of students from the Tulane Legal School and that there were a few positions open and suggested I apply
for the summer. I did and came to realize why Firmen had hired legal students for their research skills. However, on my examining the
employees' turnover and the great waste of time rendered by the Legals, I proposed to Firmen that he hire lower level persons and that
I could probably make some recruiting efforts.
The "Research" mode for each "Researcher" was a number of research materials
consisting of telephone books Yellow Pages and White Pages, business indexes, and a few
other cross reference sources that no longer exist today. The Researcher was given a stack of
cards with individual names from each of six or seven participating Department store and Retail
companies. The idea was to discard all duplicate names, reducing to a Master Name card so that
the individual would not have a duplicate or have multiple names. Thus, a single Consumer
Credit Card would be issued to one unique person.
Realizing that the project had fallen behind schedule, Firmen appointed me Assistant Director for the New Orleans Retail Credit
Bureau Credit Card Project. However, I did not get a pay increase, only the opportunity to put in overtime hours. Most of the original
attorneys had left and I replaced them with fewer "so-called, talented" men. I brought in some teacher friends and a few of my brothers.
While performing an internet search with this writing, the first credit card was Diners Card created in 1950, thus giving the concept
of a universal credit card, but the presence of that card was not widespread in New Orleans, making the local consumer card very
popular for many years.
And then, more politicking
Through more political endeavor, I became active on the state level with the Young Democrats. This opened doors to out of town
trips to regional and national conventions.
During my last two years (1959-1960) while teaching at Warren Easton High School, I was engaged by Loyola University to be a
Supervisory Instructor of two Loyola Master's Degree
students. These training sessions occurred during the last hour of the class day. In fact, they taught my students while I remained
attentive to guide them in Teacher methodology and techniques. Both of these gentlemen were interesting students, each became
principals of their own private schools Mid-City Baptist and Ridgewood Academy. My pay for each of the two years was a stipend
honorarium of $30. I hated to cash the checks as having been symbolic, but I needed the money.
Union Organizer Me
I had even taken a swing at becoming a Teamster Organizer by contacting Black school
teachers to persuade them to join the Teamsters Union. I was supposed to be paid on each
enrollment, but I had very little skills in such persuasion so I retired early from that endeavor
with no income benefits.
I would always recount the story on meeting one of the Black females while organizing. She commented on her education
by saying, "I'ze a Master Teacher!" In translation she had received a Master of Education degree.
Political Laundry List My Resum‚ was getting longer.
State Secretary, Young Democrats of LA 1958 62
Chairman, Precinct/Ward school Nat'l Democratic Party 1959
12th Ward Coordinator for Jimmie Davis for Governor 1959
Ran for State House of Representatives 12th Ward 1959
1st/2nd Congressional Dist Chairman "$'s for Democrats" 1960
Campaign Coordinator Vic Schiro for Mayor 1961
Campaign Manager for Democratic Municipal Ticket 1962
Ran for State Board of Education 1962
President, Young Democrats of La. 1963 1969
New Orleans Mayoral Election Vic Schiro 1961-1962
I met Tommy Lupo, who was involved in real estate along with his father-in-law, Robert
Smith and both were eager to see Vic Schiro win the mayorship. Tommy embraced me and
placed me and another person into the Schiro campaign. Because of my previous political and
organizational experiences I easily became a significant operator in the campaign which included
setting up coffee parties, cocktail parties, and coordinating various functions. During the process
I came to meet and know the ward leaders that made up the organization. There was a run-off
election and I pursued some of the former opposition to join in our activities to press Schiro to a
At a final rally that was televised, I was appointed the emcee to introduce each of the
candidates and officials. This was not new since that was my job at all public functions during
the election process. But the TV coverage was good in my behalf.
During the general election in 1962, I was appointed Campaign Manager.
Civic and Community Positions
Americanism Chair, American Legion Ed Brauner Post #307
Chairman, Oratorical contest, First Dist, American Legion
Member YMBC Greater N.O.
Member YMBC Toastmasters Int'l
Charter member, YMBC of Jefferson
Delegate, AFL-CIO Central Trades and Labor Council
Member, Home Service Advisory Board, American Red Cross
Member, BD OF DIR, Fair Campaign Practices Comm of LA.
Member, New Orleans Association of Retarded children
Member, BD OF DIR, LA Foundation for Retarded and Exceptional Children
Charter Member Founding President YDL Toastmasters Club
East Jefferson Parish School System 1960 1962 Age 29 and 30
I transferred to the East Jefferson public schools because I had a better opportunity and I
had come to know a number of Parish public officials. And, I wanted to avoid the integration
process that was about to take place in Orleans Parish.
Throughout my teaching career, I made friends with my students while providing
excellent instruction, as often stated to me by my former students in future years.
A Text Book Writer
As a member of the Social Studies Department, in 1960, we were charged with a new
State mandate to teach students a course in Americanism vs Communism. At that time there was
no curriculum, no lesson plans, no guidelines, no text books, in other words "No Nuttin."
Even seeking sources of information were not easily accessible.
I took it upon myself to research all available resources at the Public Library and
newspaper and magazine archives. I finally drafted and authored a teacher/student text manual
for teaching "Americanism vs Communism." Since I had taken the lead over the staff of four
Social Study teachers affected, I performed most of the instruction and had one other professor
support me in the process of testing and verifying my material.
The book and related materials were so good that it was adopted and endorsed by the
State American Legion and was proposed to the Louisiana State Legislature for adoption as an
official state text book for the Louisiana Public School system. However, the hue and cry on
Communism was less than in previous years so the book died for lack of legislative support.
After two years in the classroom at East Jefferson High School, I was appointed in 1962
as Guidance Counselor for the East Bank public schools. I had received accreditation from
courses taken at Loyola University, and was given charge to set up a record keeping system with
individual folders created for each student in the two schools of Metairie Junior High School and
Jefferson Junior High School. I split my time between them and was also told to make a few
trips to the one Negro Junior High School at Bunche Village. I made only a few trips there.
Upon greeting the principal the first time he was dressed in a tuxedo. Obviously tipsy and
obviously had been up all night, and obviously embarrassed, he grinned and stated that he was
100% in favor of "Formal Education."
Young Demo State Prez
I had continued involvement on all levels with local and state politics as well as increased activities with the Young Democrats
of which I was elected President in 1962.
State Board of Education
Although I lost, there were many lessons to be learned. In a run for Political office it is necessary to have lots of money and
to have organized support by political organizations.
There were many affluent people who were supporting me and all willing to lend a hand and their names for endorsement.
I ran against Marshall Brown, one of my past political enemies who was able to garner the necessary funding and support
groups that were
not standing up for me.
I just wasn't politically savvy for such a run.
Even my uncle went against me and persuaded several meaningful Jefferson Parish city leaders to change their commitments
Orleans Parish School Board
The situation in New Orleans was becoming a problem with the continued absence of one of the five Board members on
Parish School Board. After my loss for State Board of
Education, there were many who became interested in my filling the Orleans School Board vacancy.
Mayor Victor Schiro and Governor Jimmie Davis tested my interest and availability. I agreed,
providing the appointment would not hinder my employment in the Jefferson Parish School System. I was assured by the
and the State Attorney General, including my personal attorney that my position was solid.
But it wasn't.
The day after Governor Jimmie Davis announced my appointment to fill the vacancy, I was called by the president of the League of
Women Voters who pointed out that such and such
statute and article stated Blah-Blah-Blah.
My options: resign from the new political appointment or resign from teaching career.
I resigned from teaching rather than go through a court battle that was sure to cost me
money and consequences. And kept faith with those political influences that had faith in me.
However, I needed some assurances of an income and received a commitment from
Willard Robertson, the Volkswagen King, for three months employ. I was satisfied with that
because I felt assured that I would find my way. In spite of the fact that Board Membership on
the Orleans Parish School Board was non-remunerating. I was appointed on December 11, 1962
by Governor Jimmie H. Davis.
At LIMBO 1962 - 1963
Having an employment commitment with the Willard E. Robertson Advertising Agency
as its Vice President of Marketing, my offices were located in the International Trade Mart
Building. This situation lasted from January through March 1963 in accordance with the
commitment made to me by Robertson.
I immediately set up some morning breakfasts and a few lunches with business
acquaintances whom I incurred during past campaigns. After the first week, Robertson called me
to meet at his Volkswagen Distributorship and he literally rolled me over stating that everyone
who worked for him had to be at their offices at 8:00 a.m. I explained that I was attempting to
develop business and was having breakfasts at my personal expense at that time. Regardless, he
insisted that I be at the office telephone every morning sharply at 8:00 a.m. So I conducted
myself accordingly for the remainder of the three months while seeking what avenues I could
develop. His compensation was $900 per month equal to what I was getting from my teacher's
position in 1962 after ten years and having a Masters Degree.
Chairman of the Youth Study Committee 1963
During those three months I met with Mayor Vic Schiro and proposed a plan to form a
city wide Youth Study Committee comprised of leading Educators. I assembled approximately
twenty persons of consequence who were willing to serve. As Chairman of the Youth Study
Committee, I conducted the monthly meetings in the Mayor's Board Room at City Hall. Of
course this made a big impression on the members. At the culmination of the study, I had
compiled a list of projects and activities which were put in a professionally produced form and
officially presented to the Mayor.
Following the completion of the Study, I was awarded a plaque with the official emblem of the City of New Orleans that was presented
by Mayor Schiro at a Young Man's Business Club luncheon. Among many personal items, the plaque was lost to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Citizen Action Groups for Gillis Long
During this same period I was approached to support Congressman Gillis Long in his quest for governorship. Knowing that my 3-month
agreement was ending with Willard Robertson so I asked him to allow me to continue using the office space until I could work something out
for other facilities.
Gillis Long was impressed with what I had organized statewide with the Young Democrats and envisioned a grass roots organization
comprised of voters of all ages. This resulted in my becoming State Chairman, Citizen Action Groups for Gillis Long.
During my campaign for the State Board of Education, I had befriended Jimmie Noe, son
of former Gov. James Noe who owned several broadcast stations including WNOE Radio in
New Orleans. I conceived the idea that Gillis Long should select Jimmie Jr. For his running
partner as Lieutenant Governor. Jimmie was willing to bring in the force of his dad's assets, but
try as I might, Gillis was not foresighted as he selected an individual who was a virtual unknown.
Therefore he lost his bid and I lost what could have been a great personal political opportunity.
Even though Jimmie Jr. was not selected to run for office, he liked Gillis well enough to accept my request of him to serve with me as
Co-Chairman of the "Citizens for Gillis Long" even though realizing that Jimmie would be too preoccupied with his Radio business to
offer much time. However, his radio broadcast station and business offices were located on the Mezzanine floor of the St. Charles Hotel
situated in the financial hub of downtown New Orleans. In the course of our friendship, I appealed to Jimmie to request the
to provide us office space adjoining his radio station.
Gillis had approached an oil man friend and political supporter to put me on his payroll
for $1000 a month and I was told that from thereafter, it was up to me to raise the funding for the
creation of the Gillis Long Citizen Clubs.
Somewhat satisfied at that point I assessed the fact that I had a fair monthly personal income, a co-partner in Jimmie Noe, and office
space to perform a new set of tasks.
Although born in Louisiana, I had not been to many towns other than Baton Rouge,
Alexandria, Shreveport and a few others for Young Democrat meetings. Actually, the only
distant trips I took with Jimmie Noe was through smaller southwestern towns recruiting for the
Gillis Clubs. We were somewhat successful, but it was more uphill than I at first realized, but
having Jimmie Noe along, the son of a former governor, made all the difference in the world to
gain entry and attention to the local populace of small Louisiana towns.
Ultimately, most of my recruiting and campaigning was performed within 50 miles of
New Orleans and by telephone. But even covering the charges for long distance calls was up to
me to get funding, so that was also limited. Gillis was under the supposition that the Clubs
would be not only self-sustaining but become a source of revenue for his general campaign. That
did not happen.
Of consequence was a fund-raising dinner that we had in the St. Charles Hotel. We
raised several thousand dollars in that endeavor.
I was having lunch at the Pub in the hotel, a "Men Only" club, when Jack Kennedy was
assassinated on Friday, November 22, 1963.
The St. Charles Hotel was a favorite of mine for many years until it was razed in 1974.
Gillis Long lost his election to John McKithen.
Dan Ellis lost his re-election to the Orleans Parish School Board.
My POLITICAL Laundry List had expanded
Member, Orleans Parish School Board Dec. 11, 1962 to 1964
Chairman, Youth Study Committee for Mayor City of N.O. 1963
State Chairman, Citizen Action Groups for Gillis Long 1963-64
Member, Data Processing Management Asso
Member, Association of Computer Machinery
Member, New Orleans Athletic Club
Consultant, Information Council of the Americas
Regional Director, Young Democratic Clubs of America
Member, Sheriff's Advisory Committee for Orleans Parish
Award for Outstanding Service, N.O. Coaches Association
Award for Distinguished Service to Youth, Mayor City New Orleans
Authored "Report to the Mayor" 1965 proposing a Youth Center at Gallier Hall
Authored Text and curriculum requirements, "Americanism vs Communism" 1963
Authored "Report on Curriculum changes offered to La. Teachers Asso." 1964
Invited to Lyndon Baines Johnson and Hubert Horatio Humphrey Inauguration 1965