100 Iconic Photos of New Orleans Through the Ages

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.

  1. 1850: New Orleans woman and the child she held in slavery. 1850 - New Orleans woman and her enslaved child
  2. 1863: Rebecca, Charley, and Rosa – enslaved children who were not completely considered “white”. They are the offspring of white fathers through two or three generations. To see more photos and read more about them visit this piece.1863 - Rebecca, Charley and Rosa, slave children. They are the offspring of white fathers through two or three generations
  3. 1863: “Branded Slave from New Orleans”. Wilson was branded on his forehead with his owner’s initials with a hot iron. 1863 - Branded Slave from New Orleans
  4. ca. 1880: French Market 1880 - French Market
  5. 1890: Children play barefoot in the French Quarter. det/4a20000/4a26000/4a26900/4a26983.tif
  6. 1890: The Clay Monument on Canal Street. det/4a20000/4a26000/4a26900/4a26975.tif
  7. ca. 1890: Abandoned slave auction block, St. Louis Hotel.ca. 1900 - Old slave auction block, St. Louis Hotel
  8. 1890s: Basin Street, Storyville. Prostitution, gambling, and other usually illegal activities where legalized and regulated in this historic district until its demolition. ca. 1890s - Basin Street, Storyville
  9. ca. 1900: Pay-day on the levee. ca. 1900 - Pay-day on the levee
  10. ca. 1900: Cotton Exchange. ca. 1900 - Cotton Exchange
  11. 1900: Esplanade Avenue. 1900 - Esplanade Avenue
  12. 1901: William McKinley giving a speech on the balcony of the Cabildo. 1901 - William McKinley making a speech on the balcony of the Cabildo
  13. 1903: High Water at the levee.  S.S. Chalmette docked. 1903 - High Water at the levee.  S.S. Chalmette docked.
  14. 1903: French Quarter Courtyard. 1903 - French Quarter Courtyard
  15. 1903: Canal Street. 1903 - Canal Street
  16. 1905: Carondelet Street. 1905 - Carondelet Street
  17. 1905: Young Mardi Gras revelers. 1905 - Mardi Gras revelers
  18. ca. 1905: Milk Cart.ca. 1905 - Milk Cart
  19. 1906: Torpedo Boats on display along the Mississippi. 1906 - Torpedo Boats. The Porter and the Dupont
  20. 1906: Elks Place. 1906 - Elks Place
  21. ca. 1906: Chartres Street. ca. 1906 Chartres Street
  22. 1907: Rex Parade. 1907 - Rex Parade
  23. 1910: French Opera House. 1910 - French Opera House
  24. ca. 1910: Kids at the French Market. ca. 1910 - Kids at the French Market
  25. 1910: Saint Charles Ave. 1910 - Saint Charles Ave
  26. ca. 1910: New Orleans and Mississippi river from Hotel Grunewald (The Roosevelt). Ca. 1910 - New Orleans and Mississippi river from Hotel Grunewald
  27. 1912: Licensed sex worker, Storyville. 1912 - Licensed sex worker
  28. 1913: Group of young workers at the Lane Cotton Mill. Child labor was common in industrial factories. 1913 - Lane Cotton Mill workers
  29. 1913: Paperboys. 1913 - Paperboys
  30. 1923: Opening of the Industrial Canal. 1923 - Opening of the Industrial Canal
  31. 1925: Organ grinder on Bourbon Street and Ursulines Avenue. ca. 1925 - Organ grinder on Bourbon Street and Ursulines Avenue
  32. 1926: Tulane Stadium. 1926 - Tulane Stadium
  33. ca. 1920s: Babe Ruth and Seymour Weiss outside the Roosevelt. ca. 1920s Babe Ruth and Seymour Weiss outside the Roosevelt
  34. 1920s: View of St. Louis Cathedral through a balcony. AGC/7a02000/7a028007a02818a.tif
  35. 1928: Speeding around Lee Circle. 1928 - Lee Circle
  36. 1928: Tulane and Charity Hospitals. 1928 Tulane and Charity Hospitals
  37. 1929: Street Car strike results in deaths and the burning of street cars throughout the city.  It also gave us the delicious po-boy sandwich.  1929 - Street Car Strike
  38. 1935: Barber Shop on Bourbon. 1935 - Barber Shop on Bourbon
  39. 1936: Liberty Theatre on St. Charles. The first movie theatre in the country. 1936 - Liberty Theatre on St. Charles
  40. 1936: New Orleans house during the Great Depression.1936 - Negro house in New Orleans, Louisiana.
  41. 1937: President Franklin D. Roosevelt at Antoine’s. 1937 - President Franklin D. Roosevelt at banquet at Antoine's
  42. 1937: Tee-Peeing the Vieux Carré. 1937 - Tee-Peeing the Vieux Carré
  43. 1930s: Mardi Gras Parade. 1930s - Mardi Gras Parade
  44. 1930s: A New Orleans street during the Depression. 1930s - New Orleans during the Depression
  45. 1937: 1937 – Courtyard at 1133-1135 Chartres Street. 1937 - Courtyard at 1133-1135 Chartres Street
  46. 1938: Mardi Gras revelers. 1938 - Mardi Gras Revelers, New Orleans
  47. 1938: Lafayette Square. 1938 - Lafayette Square
  48. 1939: Jackson Square. 1939 - Jackson Square
  49. 1939: Charity Hospital illuminating New Orleans. 1939 - Charity Hospital
  50. 1942: Flame throwers on exhibit in New Orleans in the Army War Show. 1942 - Flame throwers on exhibit in New Orleans for the Army War Show
  51. 1943: Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel (LCVP) or “Higgins Boats” being constructed at Higgins Industries. “Andrew Higgins … is the man who won the war for us.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower. 1943 - Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel (LCVP) or Higgins Boats being constructed at Higgins Industries
  52. 1943: Line at rationing board for shoes.  1943 - Line at rationing board
  53. 1944: Italian POWs attend Mass at St. Louis Cathedral. 1944 - Italian POWs attend Mass at St Louis Cathedral
  54. 1945: Nazi POWs at work Uptown. 1945 - Nazi POWs at work Uptown
  55. 1945: Celebrating the end of WWII in the St. Roch neighborhood. 1945 - Celebrating the end of WWII in the St. Roch neighborhood
  56. 1949: The Old Absinthe House. 1949 - The old Absinthe House
  57. 1949: Local native Louis Armstrong maneuvering through a crowd as he makes his way to the entrance as Zulu King. 1949 - Louis Armstrong pushing through a crowd as he makes his entrance as Zulu King
  58. 1950s: Pontchartrain Beach – which is in the works to reopen. ca. 1950s - Pontchartrain Beach
  59. 1953: Waiting for medical care outside “Colored Wing” of Charity Hospital. 1953 - Crowd of African Americans wait for medical care outside Colored Wing of Charity Hospital
  60. 1955: Segregated Street Car. 1955 - Segregated Street Car
  61. 1956: St. Ann and Royal Street. 1956 - New Orleans February corner of St. Ann and Royal
  62. 1950s: Crowded segregated classroom. 1950s - Crowded segregated classroom
  63. 1957: Claiborne Bridge. 1957 - Claiborne Bridge
  64. 1957: Crescent City Connection under construction. At its opening in 1958, the bridge was the longest cantilever bridge in the world.1957 - CCC under construction
  65. Late 1950s: Canal Street. Late 1950s - Canal Street
  66. 1960: A sit-in at Woolworth’s by members of CORE (Congress of Racial Equality). 1960 - Sit-in at Woolworths on Canal
  67. 1960: Federal Marshals escort Gail Etienne to McDonogh, the first school to integrate in the city on November 14, 1960.1960 - Gail Etienne to McDonogh 19
  68. 1960: U.S. Marshals escorted Bridges to and from William Frantz on the first day of integration.1960 - U.S. Marshals escorted Bridges to and from school
  69. 1960: Mrs. James Gabrielle, a white mother, walks home with her daughter and police escorts after the first day at an integrated Frantz, despite the rage and jeers of others engaged in a racial boycott. African American Integration   Anti School    Students   LA   Bo
  70. 1960: Locals demonstrate against planned desegregation at William Frantz Elementary School on the second day of integration.Teens Shout At Police Officers During Protest
  71. ca. 1960: Street performers. 1960 - Street performers
  72. 1962: President John F. Kennedy Speaks at City Hall. 1962 - President John F. Kennedy Speaks at City Hall
  73. 1962: A white girl follows a black girl down the slide at Thomas J. Semmes school in New Orleans during recess on the second day of integrated classes. A white girl follows a black girl down the slide at Thomas J. Semmes school in New Orleans during recess on Sept. 7, 1962
  74. 1963: Segregated ward for women at the city prison. 1963 - Segregated ward for women
  75. 1963: Civil Rights march from Shakspeare Park to City Hall.  New Orleans was a hotbed for the Civil Rights Movement. 1963 - Civil Rights march from Shakspeare Park to City Hall
  76. 1963: The mug shot of local native Lee Harvey Oswald after engaging in a scuffle while passing out “Hands Off Cuba” leaflets on Canal. 1963 - Oswald Mugshot at OPP
  77. 1964: Beatles at City Park. 1964 - Beatles at City Park
  78. 1964: NOPD blocks fan who ran onto the field. 1964 - NOPD blocks fan
  79. 1965: Flooding in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans after Hurricane Betsy. 1965 - Flooding in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans after Hurricane Betsy
  80. 1965: View of flooding after Hurricane Betsy as viewed from President Lyndon Johnson’s Air Force One airplane. 1965 - View of flooding after Hurricane Betsy as viewed from President Lyndon Johnson's Air Force One airplane
  81. 1965: LBJ lands the night after Hurricane Betsy made landfall. A1275-3
  82. 1966: Claiborne Avenue just prior to the I-10 overpass that irretrievably changed the face of the neighborhood. 1966 - Claiborne Avenue prior to the 1-10 overpass
  83. 1960s: Second line. 1960 - Mardi Gras Second Line
  84. 1967: Long wait to buy tickets for the first Saints game. SKMBT_C45110012008010.jpg
  85. 1967: First Saints game against the Los Angeles Rams.1967 - First Saints game
  86. 1969: Tulane, Loyola, UNO students and others protest the Vietnam War. 1969 - Vietnam War protests
  87. 1970: Tom Dempsey kicks a then-record 63 yard field goal. Dempsey was born with only half a foot. 1963 - Saints' kicker Tom Dempsey kicks a then-record 63 yard field goal. Dempsey was born with only half a foot
  88. 1970: A young David Duke picketed a speech at Tulane wearing full Nazi regalia and carrying a placard which said “Gas the Chicago 7” (referring to leftist activists). 1970 - A young Duke
  89. 1970: New Orleans police officers try to keep their heads down as they move in on a Black Panther headquarters during an exchange of gunfire in New Orleans. 1970 - NOPD raiding Black Panthers headquarters
  90. 1970s: St. Roch Market.  1970s - St. Roch Market
  91. 1971: One Shell Square under construction and clearing the way for the Superdome. 1971 - One Shell Square under construction and making way for the Superdome
  92. 1972: Superdome under construction. 1972 - Superdome Under Construction
  93. 1973: A police officer checks the pulse of fellow officer who died of a head wound as police and bystanders come under sniper fire from the Howard Johnson hotel. 1973 - Police officer checks friend
  94. 1973: A dead Mark Essex riddled with bullets atop the Howard Johnson hotel (Holiday Inn). Essex had shot 19 people, including 10 policemen. 1973 - Slained Mark Essex
  95. 1973: The charred remains of Rev. Bill Larson clinging to a window of the UpStairs Lounge, a gay bar set on fire killing 32.  You can read more about the event here1973, Rev burned alive
  96. 1976: Dancers at Jazz Fest. 1976 - Dancers at Jazz Fest
  97. 1976: Black men mockingly applaud one of the last major KKK parades in the city. 1976 - Black men mockingly applaud a KKK parade
  98. 1977: One of the first major gay rights parades in New Orleans. 1977 - Gay rights demonstration
  99. 1978: Muhammad Ali playfully spars with a youth on Canal Street. 1978 - Ali on Canal
  100. 1979: NOPD went on strike for an improvement in working conditions and higher pay.  Mardi Gras parades were cancelled. 1979 - New Orleans Police on Strike

Hope you enjoyed them!  Most of these photos are in the public domain. If you have any inquires about sourcing, where to find the original, or corrections on dates or locations, please contact me or inquire in the comments section.

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20 Responses to 100 Iconic Photos of New Orleans Through the Ages

  1. khdiaz says:

    1967 – First Saints game against the Rams- John Gilliam ran back the opening kickoff for a touchdown, but the Saints lost the game. I was there, and remember being disappointed after the high expectations of a win. So, is 1966 really the year the oaks came down on Claiborne Ave.?

  2. Velma Demola says:

    So much destruction done to all the beautiful Medians in New Orleans. Beautiful Oak tress destroyed for CEMENT. How SAD!!!!!!

  3. Carmie Hucker says:

    Dear Bob, thank you for sharing this history with me. Very Very true and interesting story of the South. Love, Aunt Carmie

  4. Thanks for these. New Orleans is my favorite place in the world.

  5. Brooke says:

    Thank you for your work. These photos are a beautiful registry of our history. I’m so proud to be from this city.

  6. Gena Kish says:

    Stunning, moving, evocative photos! Interesting that LBJ was on the ground in NOLA 1 day after Hurricane Betsy hit and it took HOW long for aid during Katrina? Also sad to see how the St.Roch Market used to be a real market for the people in the neighborhood, not a champagne and cheese specialty mart. The faces of the people protesting the integration of the school are the same faces, full of hate, ignorance, and malice, that Trump supporters wear today.
    Sad.

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  9. Dave says:

    Re # 64,the née-GNO was only at that time the longest cantilever bridge in the U.S. The way-cool Firth of Forth Bridge in Scotland, built in 1890 (!) was and is considerably longer, and an 1917 Canadian bridge was and is the longest:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_longest_cantilever_bridge_spans

  10. One weekend doing the news shift at WVUE-TV we got call from somebody doing their homework (this is pre-Google by many years) who wanted to know how many square feet there were in Tulane Stadium. The answer we came up with was none – not since the Saints traded Tom Dempsey.

  11. george kestler sr. says:

    Photo of claiborne bridge must have had the negative reversed !

  12. jazzfeathers says:

    Fantastic collection! Thanks so much for sharing.

  13. Kathy Mahony says:

    Thanks so much ….

  14. John Irwin says:

    So many buildings still look the same, just gussied up a bit. French Quarter homes now worth over a million.

  15. Wayne Agee says:

    Greatly enjoyed the photos.

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  17. Enjoyed the photos. Sometimes some photos are shown of different kinds of Business. I recently saw one of Picou’s Bakery, which was owned by my family. It was located on Bayou Road. I would love to be able to get.a picture of the bakery, if you have any on file or could let me know how to locate this information.

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