42nd Massachusetts New Orleans

42nd Massachusetts New Orleans

New Orleans became a base for regiments like the 42nd Massachusetts Infantry.

42nd Massachusetts Infantry Headquarters in Gentilly.

42nd Massachusetts Infantry Regiment

Illustration of the New Orleans headquarters of the 42nd Massachusetts Infantry, 1863. The regiment set up shop in Gentilly. They staged here for actions outside of New Orleans, most notably Port Hudson and Bayou Teche.

Description from The Historic New Orleans Collection:

View of a wood and log military building during the Civil War. In front of it are Union soldiers in military uniforms and horses. The building is located in the Gentilly neighborhood of New Orleans. It was headquarters of the 42nd Regiment of the Massachusetts Volunteers during the occupation of New Orleans.

So, at this time, Gentilly was well outside the city proper.

Bayou Gentilly

The 42nd Massachusetts operated out of the swampy mess that was the merge of bayous in what is now Mid-City New Orleans. Bayou Metairie fizzled out when it merged with Bayou St. John. The waterway continued east, but as Bayou Gentilly. The regiment chose high ground we refer to as the Gentilly Ridge. along the water.

The Union forces recognized the importance of Bayou St. John. The combination of the bayou and the Carondelet Canal provided a navigable waterway linking Faubourg Treme and the French Quarter to Lake Pontchartrain. That waterway concerned the US Army greatly during the War of 1812. While the overall situation was different in the 1860s, the Union forces did due diligence. In the first half of 1863, the 42nd Massachusetts performed picket duties along Bayou St. John, up to the lake.

Successes of the 42nd

The 42nd provided engineering and support services to Union forces moving north and west from New Orleans. Their success in this regard demonstrates the utter failure of the CSA Army and Navy in the Gulf. New Orleans provided the Union with a well-supplied staging area. They engaged the CSA from both directions in the West.

Additionally, the 42nd contributed to the formation of the 1st Louisiana Engineers, a USCT unit.

The 42nd left Louisiana on 8-August-1863.

Bay to City – BOSH in the 1860s

Bay to City – BOSH in the 1860s

The Brothers of the Sacred Heart moved into Faubourg Marigny during the Civil War, Bay to City.

bay to city

Bay to City

At the beginning of the Civil War, the Brothers of the Sacred Heart (BOSH) stood at a crossroads. The Institute operated St. Stanislaus College in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, since 1854. With secession of Louisiana and Mississippi, the Union Navy blockaded the Western Gulf Coast, anticipating an invasion of New Orleans. The Brothers closed St. Stanislaus to boarders.

To fully appreciate this move, consider a trip from the city to the bay. We’re not talking about an hour’s drive. In 1861, you’d load up a coach or wagon with your boy(s) and their luggage, and head about 100 miles east. That was a eight hour ride. With Farragut’s ships and gunboats, along with Butler’s 30,000 troops on Ship Island, safety was a serious concern. While families understood the concerns, they didn’t want to just give up on a BOSH education for their boys.

To the City

bay to city

Brother Athanasius Faugier, S.C.

So, the BOSH contacted the Archbishop of New Orleans, Jean-Marie Odin, about setting up a presence in the city. Odin agreed, and connected Brother Athanasius Faugier, S.C, of St. Stanislaus, with Father Anthony Durier, pastor of Annunciation Parish in Faubourg Marigny. Fr. Durier helped the Brothers set up shop in the Marigny. This made a lot of sense. Brothers from France worked with a French archbishop to open a school in a very-French neighborhood. Fr. Durier loaned a house to the BOSH. They renovated that house to accommodate twenty-five boarders. They then rented a house on Union Street (now Touro Street) and opened the school. The school was about six blocks away from the boarding house. The 1883 Robinson Atlas segment above shows Annunciation Church in block 492.

bay to city

Fr. Anthony Durier

This arrangement continued through the end of the rebellion. The BOSH packed up and returned to the Bay. It wasn’t long, though, that Archbishop Odin invited the institute to establish a permanent presence in New Orleans. The BOSH purchased the house at Chartres and Barracks Streets in 1869, and St. Aloysius opens.

Thanks to the faculty members of Brother Martin High School, who assembled much of this information for their Day of Experience, “Exploring the Origins of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans.”

Podcast 42 – Martin Madness

Podcast 42 – Martin Madness

Brother Martin High School’s spring fundraising campaign is “Martin Madness”

martin madness

Martin Madness

Sharing some history, reflections, and thoughts on the influence of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans, from the Civil War to the present.


Here’s the PDF

Go support Brother Martin High!

NOLA History Guy December (4) – Brothers of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans

NOLA History Guy December (4) – Brothers of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans

Our fourth installment of NOLA History Guy December features the Brothers of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans (BOSH)

nola history guy december

NOLA History Guy December – BOSH – Brothers of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans

When my CPA kiddo attended Brother Martin High School, it was time for another book. My original idea was for a book on the Gentilly neighborhood overall. Unfortunately, Brother Henry
Gaither, S.C., nailed it when said, “So much in the neighborhood drowned.” Fortunately, though, the school didn’t drown. While it sustained some damage on the first floor, the Gentilly Ridge protected the campus. It took some time to get approval from the Institute, the Brothers of the Sacred Heart. Once I received the green light, however, things rolled. Brother Ronald Talbot S.C., Provincial at the time, and Mr. Tommy Mitchell (Class of 1979), Assistant to the President and Director of Development, gave me access to a ton of archival material. Brother Ronald also graciously wrote the book’s foreword. Brothers of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans begins with origins of the BOSH ministry on the Gulf Coast and continues right up to the book’s publication.

St. Aloysius College, 1869

The Brothers of the Sacred Heart came to the Gulf Coast in 1847. The Institute (they’re an “Institute” rather than an “Order”) authorized a school for Mobile, Alabama. The BOSH moved West along the coast. They opened St. Stanislaus College in 1854. They deemed the trip from New Orleans to the Bay too dangerous when hostilities broke out. So, some of the faculty traveled to New Orleans, setting up shop at Annunciation Parish in Faubourg Marigny. They continued the education of the boys there.

Impressed with the quality of the teachers, Archbishop John Mary Odin, invited the Institute to establish a presence in the city. The Brothers purchased a building on Barracks and Chartres Streets, opening St. Aloysius Academy in 1869.

Officer’s Quarters

The Spanish army out of Havana maintained a garrison in New Orleans when Spain took control of New France. The officers lived in a house at the corner of Barracks and Chartres Streets in the French Quarter. The archdiocese sold that house to the Institute. To record the sale, a “plan book” was created. This was similar to an modern appraisal report. Since there was no color photography, architectural illustrators drew sketches of homes and buildings, along with diagrams of the property to be sold. I found the plan book for St. Aloysius in the Notarial Archives. Here’s the caption for the plan book:

St. Aloysius Academy. Architectural drawing depicting the building located at the corner of Barracks and Chartres Street in the French Quarter, at the time of its purchase by the Institute in 1869. Prior to photography, sales of property in New Orleans would be accompanied by a “plan book plan,” which usually included a description of the property, a map of the city block in which it was located, and an artist’s illustration of the building(s). The building was originally built as officers’ quarters for the Spanish garrison of the city. This is the only known illustration of the “first St. Aloysius.”

The Institute operated the school here until 1892. They moved to Esplanade and N. Rampart Streets that year, taking over the mansion formerly used by the Ursuline nuns for their school.

While the book is a wonderful trip down memory lane for members of the Brother Martin faith community, it’s also a great resource for folks interested in the history of the Third District and Gentilly.

The Book

nola history guy december

Brothers of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans by Edward J. Branley

From the back cover:

When New Orleanians ask “Where did you go to school?” they aren’t asking what university you attended but what high school. That tells a native a lot about you. For over 150 years, the Brothers of the Sacred Heart have educated the young men of New Orleans, giving them the opportunity to answer the question proudly by replying St. Stanislaus, St. Aloysius, Cor Jesu, or Brother Martin. Images of America: Brothers of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans showcases photographs, illustrations, and maps tracing the role of the institute in making New Orleans a vibrant and dynamic city, able to overcome even the worst of adversity. From their roots in the French Quarter, moving to Faubourg Marigny, and finally settling in Gentilly, the Brothers of the Sacred Heart continue to make a major contribution to metro New Orleans and Southeast Louisiana.

Available at local bookstores, Walgreens stores, other local shops, Bookshop, and other online outlets. Give history! Support NOLA History Guy December.