The race for New Orleans mayor has become very divisive of late, but some feel that more transparency could start a healing process that is a long time coming for New Orleans. The problem is the transparency being called for does not have much to do with politics. It has more to do more with old class and race issues New Orleans is famous for. In the center of the brewing storm is mayoral candidate Mitch Landrieu and his sister Senator Mary Landrieu.
Their father was a former mayor of New Orleans and whether he deserves it or not is credited with helping blacks take on larger roles in New Orleans city government. It was something the white community in New Orleans was not quite ready for. Why he did it is subject for debate.
With that kind of history to build upon a new trend is emerging down in New Orleans that has blacks voters developing their own litmus test of sorts. Many old stories still remain of the octoroon and quadroon balls where creole families hoped to "marry up" into white society. Now some black voters reinvigorated with the recent family tree transparency shown by Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are hoping Mitch Landrieu does the same.
We'll start with a black women named "Yadda". Yadda's family has lived in New Orleans for generations and she like many black voters are watching the current New Orleans mayor's race very closely. A few polls show Mitch Landrieu with a slight lead that has been getting smaller. Yadda like many black voters in New Orleans is familiar with Mitch Landrieu and the mayor's race. She said something interesting to me during our interview," Mitch Landrieu and Mary Landrieu have some African ancestry in their family, you can see it in their face and their features". Yadda went on to say for Mitch Landrieu to get her vote "he would have to reveal his family tree and take pride in his African ancestry."
Interesting comments to say the least, at a time when many Democrats are calling for transparency and the way Barack Obama and Michelle Obama have embraced their bi-racial back grounds it could not be better timing for New Orleans. The question many black voters in New Orleans are wondering, will Mitch Landrieu shed away old family secrets and reveal his African ancestry? Will he have a study done to find his 100% African ancestor?
Some in New Orleans feel that blacks have set the bar too high for Mitch Landrieu. They feel that the moral fiber required to meet this demand is not in the Landrieu make up and would cost a great price politically at the hands of conservative white voters. Time will tell whether Barack Obama's grand vision of transparency can make its way down to the Old South.
Meanwhile and old long gone African ancestor of Mitch Landrieu might be watching and waiting for his distant relative to set him free. As he waits locked inside a family secret that may decide the political destiny of the Landrieu clan.