Aug 15, 2023 - Politics

This week in 1988: New Orleans hosted the Republican National Convention

The photo shows President Ronald Reagan on stage in 1988 with a massive gavel.

Ronald Reagan with wife Nancy during the GOP Convention in New Orleans. Photo: Shepard Sherbell/Corbis via Getty Images

On this day in 1988, New Orleans hosted the Republican National Convention.

  • Ronald Reagan was the sitting president and was term limited.
  • George H.W. Bush, the vice president at the time, won the nomination, beating Bob Dole and evangelist Pat Robertson. Dan Quayle was nominated as his vice president.

Between the lines: Donald Trump was also teasing a presidential run in 1987 and 1988, but he did not have a formal role in the New Orleans convention.

Photo shows George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush on the tarmac at the airport in 1988.
Vice President (and future President) George H.W. Bush and (future first lady) Barbara Bush wave on the tarmac, New Orleans, Aug. 16, 1988. They had just arrived for the Republican National Convention. Photo: Arnie Sachs/CNP/Getty Images

What he's saying: Bush's acceptance speech in New Orleans included this pledge that became his enduring catchphrase: "Read my lips: No new taxes."

What they did: The convention was held from Aug. 15-18 at the Superdome.

  • Reagan flew into Belle Chasse Naval Air Base, in contrast to recent presidential visits in which Air Force One has landed at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport in Kenner.
  • The massive event included rallies at the Superdome, shopping in the French Quarter, a party at Brennan's and dozens of other social activities around town.

Scroll through to see vintage photos of the festivities.

Photo shows US Vice President George H. with Bush welcoming President Ronald and his wife to Belle Chase Naval Air Base.
Then-Vice President George H.W. Bush welcoming President Ronald Reagan and his wife to Belle Chase Naval Air Base. Photo: Cynthia Johnson/Getty Images
Photo shows President and Mrs. Reagan enjoy the balloons as they fall on the delegates at the conclusion of Reagan's speech to the Republican National Convention.
Reagan enjoys the balloons as they fall on the delegates at the end of his speech to the convention on Aug. 15. Photo: Getty images
Photo shoes Barbara and George H.W. Bush.
George H.W. Bush joins his wife, Barbara, at a tribute to Mrs. Bush, on Aug. 18. Photo: National Federation of Republican Women
Photo shows empty seats covered in blue and white "Dole" signs
Men in the Illinois section at the convention are surrounded by Dole and Support the Superconducting Super Collider signs. Photo: Getty images
Photo shows Pat Robertson at the Republican National Convention in New Orleans
Evangelist Pat Robertson, who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination, checks the audio level on the podium on Aug. 16, 1988, for his speech to the RNC. Photo: Bob Pearson/AFP via Getty Images
Photo shows Barbara Bush cheering on her husband at the Republican National Convention
Barbara Bush with Dan Quayle and Marilyn Quayle during the RNC as George H.W, Bush accepted the party's presidential nomination. Photo: Ed Lallo/Getty Images
Photo shows an inmate in New Orleans painting a portrait of George H. W. Bush on a wall.
A prisoner at the Orleans Parish Prison puts the finishing touches on a mural of George H.W. Bush that the prisoners painted on the wall of the prison in preparation for the RNC. Photo: Getty images
Photo shows chef Paul Prudhomme holding a cookbook at an event
Chef Paul Prudhomme holds a copy of "The Picayune's Creole Cook Book" at an event in New Orleans that was held concurrently with the RNC. Photo: Ed Lallo/Getty Images
Portrait of American broadcast journalist Tom Brokaw attends a party (sponsored by USA Today) at Brennan's Restaurant, New Orleans, Louisiana, between August 15 - 18, 1988. The event was held concurrently with the then-ongoing 1988 Republican National Convention. (Photo by Ed Lallo/Getty Images)
Tom Brokaw attends a party sponsored by USA Today at Brennan's Restaurant. Photo: Ed Lallo/Getty Images
American journalist Bernard Shaw is seen walking in the French Quarter
Bernard Shaw at an event in New Orleans during the RNC. Photo: Ed Lallo/Getty Images
Photo shows married journalists Kati Marton and Peter Jennings during the 1988 Republican National Convention,
Journalists Kati Marton and Peter Jennings during convention. Photo: Ed Lallo/Getty Images
Photo shows American broadcast journalist Kathleen Sullivan in the French Quarter.
Journalist Kathleen Sullivan window shopping in New Orleans. Photo: Ed Lallo/Getty Images
Photo shows American politician US Representative Newt Gingrich
Newt Gingrich speaks with an unidentified man during the convention. Photo: Ed Lallo/Getty Images
Photo shows Verna Satterlee Landrieu as she dances with Chef Goffredo Fraccaro
Verna Satterlee Landrieu dances with Chef Goffredo Fraccaro during an event held during the convention. Photo: Ed Lallo/Getty Images
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