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Dutch Morial to get new resting place

29th December 2014   ·   0 Comments

The family of Ernest “Dutch” Morial, the city’s first Black mayor and a civil rights pioneer in his own right, announced last week that the outspoken and tireless public servant who cast a long shadow is getting a new home.

During his four decades in public life, his persona and politics always attracted attention. Now, 25 years after his death, “Dutch,” a former high school quarterback at Xavier Prep and McDonogh 35, will once again make news, when his remains are placed in a new family tomb, WWL-TV reported .
On Monday, Dec. 29, just days after the 25th anniversary of his death on Christmas Eve 1989, the Morial family will mark the relocation of his remains from St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 to a different family tomb in St. Louis Cemetery No. 3 on Esplanade Avenue.

Family spokeswoman Denise Estopinal, who served as press secretary for Morial’s son Marc during his mayoral administration, told WWL that the newer family tomb in the Esplanade Ave. cemetery will be the resting place for future generations of the Morial family.

Monday’s 10 a.m. ceremony will include a blessing from Archbishop Gregory Aymond and prayers from several clergy members: Rabbi Edward Cohn, Imam Rafeeq Nu’Man and Bishop Emeritus Paul Morton.

Morial’s seven grandchildren will read from his biography and his widow, Sybil Haydel Morial, will place a wreath at the tomb. His son Marc, who served two terms as mayor before becoming president of the National Urban League, will join his four siblings at the ceremony as well.

Morial’s current marble tomb in St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is just steps from the final resting place of voodoo priestess Marie Laveau. The former mayor’s tomb, inscribed with his familiar slogan “Keep the drive alive,” is one of many visited by tour groups each year.

Morial, who was mentored by renowned civil rights attorney A.P. Tureaud, was the first Black to graduate from the LSU Law School, the first Black elected to the Louisiana State Legislature since Reconstruction, the first Black to serve as a Juvenile Court judge and the first Black to serve on the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Morial, a Xavier University alum, once served as president of the New Orleans Branch of the NAACP and the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

The African American Leadership Project has honored the former mayor by organizing annual ceremonies at his gravesite celebrating Dutch Morial’s courage, integrity, vision and commitment to public service.

The city’s convention carries the former mayor’s name.

This article originally published in the December 29, 2014 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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