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Bernie N. (Bernie) reviewed Washington Through a Purple Veil: Memoirs of a Southern Woman on
n 1973, Boggs became the first female member of Congress and in 1976, the first woman to chair a Democratic Party convention. When she ran for the House of Representatives seat left vacant by the death of her husband, Hale Boggs, Lady Bird Johnson asked her if she thought it was possible "to do the job without a wife." She went on to hold the seat for nine consecutive terms, representing the largely black district in New Orleans where she grew up. Boggs recounts raising three children (TV journalist Cokie Roberts is her daughter), her enduring warm relationships with her Southern relatives and friends and meeting the towering figures of our day. Her pleasing memoir, written with freelancer Hatch, recalls with innumerable amusing, perceptive anecdotes the New Orleans of her girlhood and the more than 40 years of politics she and her husband participated in, spanning the era of Huey Long to George Bush. Boggs sees herself not as a feminist but as "a bridge between old and new, liberals and conservatives, whites and blacks, men and women, Republicans and Democrats."