Loyola University New Orleans Mourns the Passing of Moon Landrieu
(New Orleans – September 5, 2022) Loyola University New Orleans mourns the passing of former New Orleans Mayor Moon Landrieu, whose long life is in so many ways tied to our campus, where we strive to be “men and women for and with others.”
In honor of Landrieu, who uniquely served in all three branches of government and also served at the city, state and federal levels, Loyola will join with City Hall and the Louisiana State Capitol lowering our campus flag to half mast on the day of his funeral. We will ring the bells at Holy Name of Jesus Church, where Landrieu will be remembered by family, friends and dignitaries in a funeral Mass.
Landrieu, who led the city for two terms through a pivotal time of desegregation during the 1970s and later became a member of President Jimmy Carter’s Cabinet as U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, among myriad other achievements, often said that his time at Loyola opened his eyes to injustice - and called him to a life of service.
“Loyola is grateful to have been a part of former Mayor Landrieu’s life,” said the Rev. Justin Daffron, S.J. “His legacy is a great teacher for us all to work for the social change that will create a more just world for all.”
“My first recollection of Moon was while I was at Spring Hill College and he was pitching for Loyola against us on the mound,” recalled President Emeritus, the Rev. James “Jim” Carter, S.J., 95, whose own Jesuit education and long leadership at Loyola overlapped with Landrieu’s, resulting in a friendship that lasted nearly 70 years.
“My enduring recollection was Moon and Verna kneeling in the pews at Mass in the chapel of Ursuline Academy, where he prayed every week. It amazed me that as eloquent as he was, he never prepared remarks. He had an ingenious mind and a good sense of humor. He was a good friend, a good mayor, and a good Catholic.”
Landrieu attended Jesuit High School New Orleans, where he starred as pitcher of the Varsity Baseball team. He subsequently joined Loyola as an undergraduate on a baseball scholarship in 1948 and received a Bachelor of Business Administration from the College of Arts and Sciences in 1952, before receiving a Juris Doctorate, then known as a Bachelor of Laws (LLB), in 1954.
While at Loyola, he met Verna Satterlee, a scholar and student leader devoted to her faith. In 1954, they were married. Together, they had nine children in 11 years, and subsequently 37 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. Throughout their lives, they committed themselves to each other and to the Ignatian spirituality that was so much a part of their Loyola experience.
Over the years, Loyola has honored Moon Landrieu with two honorary degrees and the Integritas Vitae, Adjutor Hominum, and St. Ives Awards, collectively the university’s highest honors. And he gave back to the university in turn, teaching and speaking at the law school, mentoring students and alumni, and calling us to service.
In 1979, Loyola honored the former Mayor with an Honorary Doctor of Laws for his contributions to the Civil Rights movement and leading the city through a pivotal time of desegregation.
In May, 2005, Loyola honored the entire Landrieu family with an Honorary Doctor of Laws. Moon Landrieu served as Commencement Speaker.
The document begins:
“When one thinks of the Honorable Maurice Edwin “Moon” Landrieu and Verna Satterlee Landrieu family, one immediately thinks of their strong commitment to public service, community, and volunteer activism, and philanthropy. The lives of Moon and Verna and their nine children are extraordinary examples of people living as ‘men and women for others.’ They are one of Loyola’s foremost alumni families in the fields of law, public service and humanities.”
The honorary degree - one of the highest honors a university can bestow - is dedicated to the Honorable Maurice Edwin “Moon” and Verna Satterlee Landrieu Family “for their commitment to service and the care of others,” and “for their outstanding commitment as a family to the needs of others in society.”