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*On this date we recognize the birth of Pierre Landry in 1841. He was a Black editor, chef, politician, and lawyer.
He was the slave son of his owner, born in Donaldsonville, Louisiana. As a young boy, he lived with a local free Black couple, attended a school for free Blacks on his father/owner’s plantation, and learned the skills to become a chef. Upon the death of his owner in 1854, Landry was sold as part of a disposition of the estate. With his new owner, he served as property superintendent, pastry chef, and plantation store manager.
He also put together a wool yard and contracted to do ditch digging. During and after Reconstruction, Landry held several offices in Ascension Parish. He was elected mayor of Donaldsonville in 1868. Two years later, he was elected president of its police jury and appointed tax collector. Other offices Landry held in Donaldsonville were justice of the peace, president of the school board, and postmaster. He served in the state House of Representatives from 1872-74 and 1880-84, and in the Senate from 1874-78.
In 1877, he edited the Donaldsonville Monthly Record. Though he was raised a Roman Catholic, Landry converted to Methodism in 1862 and founded a Methodist church in his hometown. He moved to New Orleans where he was minister of an African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church. There he also practiced law and was on the board of trustees of New Orleans University. Pierre Landry died in 1921.
The African American Desk Reference
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
Copyright 1999 The Stonesong Press Inc. and
The New York Public Library, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Pub.