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Luke Fontana Interview on the Dutch Moral History Project

1978 Election of Ernest “Dutch” Morial, New Orleans’s First Black Mayor

Part of the Dutch Morial History Project.

Concerning:  A class action lawsuit to improve the conditions of Orleans Parish prison.

1978 Election of Ernest “Dutch” Morial, New Orleans’s First Black Mayor

Luke Fontana is a retired civil rights attorney, photographer, artist, environmental activist, and producer. Mr. Fontana started his law practice as a civil rights attorney working as a staff attorney for the New Orleans Legal Assistance Corporation in 1968–1970. Mr. Fontana also became well known as a penal reform attorney. In one class action lawsuit, United States District Court Judge Herbert Christenberry ruled in Mr. Fontana’s favor, and ordered the city of New Orleans to improve the conditions of Orleans Parish prison, or face a contempt of court citation. Mr. Fontana litigated this case for a period of over 12 years, filing numerous contempt of court violations against every New Orleans mayor, from Mayor Moon Landrieu to Mayor Dutch Morial.

Midlo Center for New Orleans Studies

The University of New Orleans

Interview conducted by

George Winston III & Eric Hardy

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