Lindy Boggs served as U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See (Vatican) from 1997 to 2001. She was the first woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Louisiana, and has the longest tenure in Congress (17 years) of any woman from the South. In 1976, she became the first woman to chair a national political convention, presiding over the nomination of President Jimmy Carter.
At 24, she came to Washington, D.C., from Louisiana with her newly elected husband, Congressman Hale Boggs. She emerged as an influential force in American politics--running her husband's congressional campaigns, managing his Capitol Hill office and chairing numerous organizations such as John F. Kennedy's and Lyndon Johnson's inaugural ball committees.
At the same time she raised three children who would come into prominence in their own right. In the words of her youngest child, NPR and ABC-TV's Cokie Roberts, "Politics is our family business."
In 1972, Congressman Boggs disappeared in a small plane over Alaska. His successor of course was Mrs. Boggs, who served in Congress from 1973 to 1990. She spearheaded legislation on issues ranging from civil rights to credit access and government service pay equity for women. Mrs. Boggs also has the distinction of being the first woman to serve as a regent of the Smithsonian Institution, to receive Tulane University's Distinguished and Outstanding Alumni Award and the Congressional Award of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Among her numerous other honors are the first AMVETS Auxiliary National Humanitarian Award, the Eleanor Roosevelt Centennial Award, the National Housing Conference's Housing Person of the Year Award, the National Advertising Research and Education Institute's American Woman of the Year Award, the Distinguished Service Award to the Republic and numerous honorary degrees from colleges and universities throughout the United States. In 2006, she was awarded the Congressional Distinguished Service Award for her time in the House of Representatives.
In 1994, Mrs. Boggs published her autobiography, Washington Through a Purple Veil: Memoirs of a Southern Woman.