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Martin Behrman (October 14, 1864 – January 12, 1926), an American Democratic politician, was the longest-serving mayor in New Orleans history.

Martin Behrman
Martin Behrman portrait 1919.jpeg
46th Mayor of New Orleans
In office
December 5, 1904 - December 20, 1920
May 4, 1925 – January 12, 1926
Preceded byPaul Capdevielle (1st term)
Andrew J. McShane (2nd term)
Succeeded byAndrew J. McShane (1st term)
Arthur J. O'Keefe (2nd term)
Personal details
Born(1864-10-14)October 14, 1864
New York City, New York, U.S.
DiedJanuary 12, 1926(1926-01-12) (aged 61)
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic

Life and careerEdit

Behrman was born in New York City, the son of Frederica and Henry Behrman.[2] His parents were emigrants from Germany. He was ethnically Jewish, but "knew little about his faith."[3] His parents brought him to New Orleans as an infant. He lived most of his life in the Algiers neighborhood, on the west bank of the Mississippi River. As a young man he became affiliated with the Regular Democratic Organization, a powerful political faction in New Orleans, during the 1888 campaign of Francis T. Nicholls for governor of Louisiana.[4] Behrman served as a delegate to the Louisiana state constitutional convention in 1898.[5]

Behrman eventually served as mayor for just under 17 years, first from 1904 to 1920. After four consecutive terms he was defeated by reform candidate Andrew J. McShane. Behrman ran again in 1925 and won, serving from 1925 to 1926. He died in New Orleans less than a year into his fifth term.[6]

Books by or about Martin BehrmanEdit

  • Behrman, Martin (1977). Martin Behrman of New Orleans: memoirs of a city boss. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press. LCCN 77006781.
  • Kendall, John Smith (1922). "Chapter XXXV, Sixteen Years of Martin Behrman". History of New Orleans. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company. LCCN 22022725.
  • Reynolds, George M. (George Millar) (1936). Machine politics in New Orleans, 1897-1926: Studies in history, economics, and public law, no. 421. New York: AMS Press. LCCN 37016676.


  • "You can make it illegal, but you can't make it unpopular" (in reference to the closing of the Storyville district).

Places/things named after Martin BehrmanEdit

  • Behrman Avenue, New Orleans
  • Behrman Highway, New Orleans
  • Behrman Memorial Park, including Behrman Gym & Stadium, 2529 General Meyer Avenue, New Orleans[7]
  • Behrman neighborhood in Algiers[4]
  • Martin Behrman Avenue, Metairie, Louisiana
  • Martin Behrman Walk, Metairie, Louisiana
  • Martin Behrman Senior High School, whose faculty included State Senator Olaf Fink, later known as Martin Behrman Middle School, then Martin Behrman Elementary School, and finally Martin Behrman Charter School; 715 Opelousas Avenue, New Orleans[8]
  • SS Martin Behrman, a World War II Liberty ship


  1. ^ Widmer, Mary Lou; Moon Landrieu (2006). New Orleans 1900 to 1920. Pelican Publishing Company. p. 58. ISBN 1-58980-401-5.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Widmer, Mary Lou (2007). New Orleans, 1900 to 1920. Pelican Publishing. p. 58. ISBN 9781589804012.
  4. ^ a b "Behrman Neighborhood". Greater New Orleans Community Data Center. Retrieved 2006-03-05.
  5. ^ "Index to Politicians: Beetie to Belch". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved 2006-03-05.
  6. ^ "Mayor Martin Behrman Records". City Archives, New Orleans Public Library. Retrieved 2006-03-05.
  7. ^ "New Orleans Parks and Squares". City Archives, New Orleans Public Library. Retrieved 2006-03-05.
  8. ^ "Our Schools". Algiers Charter Schools Association. Archived from the original on 2005-11-24. Retrieved 2006-03-05.
Preceded by
Paul Capdevielle
Mayor of
New Orleans

Succeeded by
Andrew J. McShane
Preceded by
Andrew J. McShane
Mayor of
New Orleans

Succeeded by
Arthur J. O'Keefe