It was fun, it was hard work, it was tough, there were difficult days and nights for all of us, and we just figured out a way to
make things happen… we were able to look back with some sense of perspective and say:
‘Hey, you know, that was an exciting eight years, we did some good things for this town.’ “Robert Tucker, Jr.
Robert Tucker Jr. was a pioneer in business, a veteran, a political icon, a civil rights activist, and a dedicated New Orleanian. He accomplished a great many things over the course of his life, from participating in the first lunch counter sit-in Atlanta in 1960, to becoming the first African American to serve as an executive mayoral assistant in 1970, to becoming a chairman in a number of important New Orleans industries.
While his hiring by Mayor Moon Landrieu introduced Tucker to the political limelight, his involvement in city government and infrastructure only grew in the following half decade. He continued to serve as the Executive Assistant to the Mayor for 8 consecutive years (1970-1978), afterwards dedicated himself to constructing his own firm, being a political consultant to a number of New Orleans-based political campaigns, and serving administrations including (but certainly not limited to) the Oschner Medical Foundation, the Metropolitan Young Men’s Christian Association, the Port of New Orleans, the New Orleans Super Dome Commission, the Accrediting Commission of Education for Health Services Administration, the Health Education Authority of Louisiana, and the United Negro College Fund. He also served as a lecturer and Chairman of the visiting committee of Loyola University New Orleans’s College of Business. Tucker passed away on Wednesday, March 1st, 2023.
This interview places special emphasis on Tucker’s role in the Landrieu Administration during the 1970s, including his recollections of the standoff with the Black Panthers in the Desire Housing Project, the Mark Essex shooting, and the efforts by himself and others to diversify and modernize the city from within the political sphere.
Citation (CMS): Tucker, Robert. Robert Tucker Interview. Interview by Jack E. Davis and Justin A. Nystrom. Videorecording, transcript, November 29, 2012. Making Modern New Orleans Collection. Documentary and Oral History Studio, Loyola University New Orleans.
For more information about the Digital Humanities Studio’s interview collections and their use, please contact studio director Justin A. Nystrom. This interview and all related material including text and images are © 2022 Digital Humanities Studio, Loyola University New Orleans.