Former Rep. Lindy Boggs, 97, a plantation-born Louisianian who used her soft-spoken grace to fight for civil rights during nearly 18 years in
Boggs served three years as ambassador to the Vatican during the Clinton administration.
Her years in Congress started with a special election in 1973 to finish the term of her husband, Thomas Hale Boggs Sr., whose plane disappeared over Alaska six months earlier. Between them, they served half a century in the House.
When Boggs announced her retirement in 1990, she was the only white representing a black-majority district in Congress. "I am proud to have played a small role in opening doors for blacks and women," she said at the time.
Her husband was first elected in 1940, two years after the couple married. Both were also active in local reform groups.
Lindy Boggs ran several of her husband's political campaigns and helped him in his Washington and New Orleans offices. She also worked for the Civil Rights Acts of 1965 and 1968,
After she entered Congress, Boggs used her seat on the
Corinne Claiborne was born March 13, 1916, on a plantation near New Orleans, a descendant of William C.C. Claiborne, the state's first elected governor. She came to be known as Lindy, according to Roberts, because a nurse thought she looked like her father, Roland Claiborne, and called her "Rolindy."
She attended Sophie Newcomb College, affiliated with
Times wire reports