Names on buildings: The O’Keefe Administration Building

Dee Shedrick

Dee Shedrick

Have you ever wondered why someone’s name is on a building? Most of us should know who Isaac Delgado is of Isaac Delgado Hall (just in case, he is the founder of Delgado Community College). There are buildings on Delgado’s campuses that bear names of individuals for various reasons. One of those individuals is Arthur J. O’Keefe of the O’Keefe Administration Building.

On March 4, 1982, the ribbon was cut to welcome employees of Delgado into a brand new million dollar facility. The uniquely designed octagon-shaped building was named after businessman and politician Arthur Joseph O’Keefe Sr., who was born in New Orleans on Nov. 4, 1876. O’Keefe Sr. owned Arthur J. O’Keefe Teas & Coffees. He was an importer/roasteokeefer and owned stores located Uptown and in Algiers. He was a very generous man who gave to the College and fed the poor, especially during the Thanksgiving holidays.

O’Keefe Sr. was very active in the community and the Democratic Party. As commissioner of public finance under Mayor Martin Behrman, O’Keefe Sr. automatically became acting mayor upon Mayor Behrman’s death in 1926. Plans for the Municipal Auditorium, the Criminal District Court Building and the Orleans Parish Prison (OPP) were conceived under O’Keefe Sr.’s administration.

O’Keefe Sr. retired on February 13, 1930.  He died on November 14, 1943. His body was laid to rest in Greenwood Cemetery on City Park Avenue.

For a longer version of this blog with more info and more pictures, click here.

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