I’ve compiled a listicle of my favorite historical photos of New Orleans. Through its complex history, New Orleans experienced a series of issues: slavery, war, riots, segregation, hurricanes, etc. I stopped prior to 1980 to keep it as historical as possible. I kept it at 100 to keep it succinct, but there are many more that should belong here so feel free to add any of your favorite photos in the comments section.
On September 14, 1874, over 5,000 heavily armed members of the White League, a white supremacist paramilitary organization, mobilized to overthrow the Reconstruction government of Louisiana. Under the guidance of John McEnery, a Democrat upset at his recent loss for governorship, they stormed Canal Street to initiate the coup. There they clashed with the Metropolitan Police, a majority African-American force, and the state militia, comprised of ex-Confederates and Union soldiers, Irish and Italian immigrants, and African-Americans. The total force of those defending the city was an estimated 3,500. They were outmanned and outgunned.
In 1933, famed ethnomusicologist John Lomax and his son Alan Lomax pioneered on an arduous journey to capture the sounds of the American South. They wanted to find African-American folk songs in its purest form as close to the days of slavery as possible. Lomax believed prisons provided the best source as its walls created a filter to the perversions of popular music.
Ever wondered why people use “axe” as opposed to “ask”? The linguistic history of the “mispronunciation” is much more intricate than you probably think.
The Chicago Tribune published an infuriating piece by Kristen McQueary, who claimed a feeling of “envy” for the “upcoming 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.” This sensationalized article justifiably struck a nerve among Katrina victims. It presented itself at perhaps the worst time: at the near precipice of our ten year anniversary.
On a Sunday afternoon on June 24, 1973, around sixty patrons were drinking at the Upstairs Lounge, a gay bar in New Orleans’ French Quarter. At 7:56pm, the buzzer that signaled a cab sounded. The man that opened the steel door was greeted by a hurling Molotov cocktail that quickly engulfed the staircase and spread in seconds. Thirty-two men were brutally murdered; most burned alive. It is the largest known massacre of gay people in our nation’s history.