St. Louis Cathedral, 1819

St. Louis Cathedral, 1819

St. Louis Cathedral, 1819

st. louis cathedral, 1819

St. Louis Cathedral, 1819. Drawing by Benjamin Latrobe (public domain image via THNOC)

St. Louis Cathedral, 1819

I’m working on a scene that’s a bit of a flashback to 1820 New Orleans, for my next novel. As usual, I looked around for some contemporary illustrations of the Quarter, and found two interesting drawings of the St. Louis Cathedral.

The first (top) is a drawing by architect Benjamin Latrobe. This is the 1794 construction. The original parish church burned in the fire of 1794. Andres Almonaster y Rojas, notary for the Spanish Colonial government (and father of the Baroness Pontalba), financed the construction of the church. With the appointment of the first Bishop of Louisiana in 1792, this was the first cathedral on the site.

Unknown Illustrator, 1819

St. Louis Cathedral 1819

Scene showing the Cabildo, St. Louis Cathedral, and the Presbytere, before 1820. (Public domain image courtesy THNOC)

The illustrator of this second drawing is unknown, but it’s from the same period. While Latrobe’s drawing has the precision of an architect, this sketch captures the church’s surroundings. The Cabildo is on the left. Pirate’s Alley is between the Cabildo and the St Louis Cathedral, 1819. That name for the alley wouldn’t come into common use for decades. Therefore, the cathedral is center, then another alley (to later become Pere Antoine Alley). Trees obscure the Presbytere on the right.

Place d’Armes

The square in front of cathedral was not yet Jackson Square. It was the parade ground, the Place d’Armes, or Plaza das Armas, in Spanish. So, the Cabildo was the seat of the Spanish Colonial government. When the Americans took ownership of Louisiana in 1803, the building remained the seat of government. W.C.C. Claiborne kept his office as Territorial Governor. He also stayed there as governor of the State of Louisiana.

1830s Expansion

The cathedral chapter and the diocese decided the church needed to be more prominent. So, it was expanded in the 1830s. Unfortunately, the extensions to the towers put too much pressure on the structure. By late 1840s, the building was in danger of collapse. The diocese re-built the cathedral into the building we know today.

 

Krauss – The New Orleans Value Store

by Edward J. Branley

For almost one hundred years, generations of New Orleans shoppers flocked to Krauss. The Canal Street store was hailed for its vast merchandise selection and quality customer service. In its early days, it sold lace and fabric to the ladies of the notorious red-light district of Storyville. The store’s renowned lunch counter, Eddie’s at Krauss, served Eddie Baquet’s authentic New Orleans cuisine to customers and celebrities such as Julia Child. Although the beloved store finally closed its doors in 1997, Krauss is still fondly remembered as a retail haven. With vintage photographs, interviews with store insiders and a wealth of research, historian Edward J. Branley brings the story of New Orleans’ Creole department store back to life.

The Atlantic Slave Trade – a TedEd video

The Atlantic Slave Trade – a TedEd video

The Atlantic Slave Trade

Understanding the Atlantic Slave Trade

A Facebook friend shared this TedEd video this morning. It’s clarity and frankness impressed me. This video (about five minutes long) is a great resource for classroom teachers and homeschoolers alike. If you teach History in middle school or above, add this to your lessons. This is the perfect addition to inadequate textbooks.

The Atlantic Slave Trade brought enslaved Africans to North America. One of the things folks excusing human trafficking say is, “Africans sold their own into slavery.” Yes, this is true. So, this presentation explains European involvement in the trade. African rulers sold their enemies from rival areas and tribes to the Europeans. In addition rulers profited from enslavement. It was an easy solution for refugees and prisoners of war.

New Orleans and Human Trafficking

New Orleans became a major port of entry for enslaved Africans. It wasn’t a direct part of the Atlantic Slave Trade, though. Africans died in large numbers in transit. Therefore, traffickers ran from West Africa to North America as quickly as possible. They unloaded the survivors of the passages in cities on the Atlantic coast. Additionally, they traveled to the Caribbean, Saint-Domingue or Havana. New Orleans connected the Islands to the US. As the plantation economy grew in the Deep South, slave owners in the islands moved their property to the mainland. Even though the British outlawed the slave trade in 1807, the practice continued for decades. The port of New Orleans moved many of the enslaved into the country.

Museums and Memorials

atlantic slave trade

USS Constellation, anchored in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor (courtesy Flickr user sherseydc)

This video presents the background for the concept of a “slave ship museum.” In Baltimore, the USS Constellation museum recognizes the ship’s past as a slaver. So, the impact of human trafficking isn’t the main focus. Is New Orleans the right place for such a museum? Check out the video and share your thoughts.