POSTED Wed. Dec 18, 2013

The history of New Orleans in a Canal St pillar

The history of New Orleans in a Canal St pillar
Adam Karlin
Written by ADAM KARLIN

I was Christmas shopping on Canal St (because nothing says Happy Holidays like last minute commercial panic) and noticed, for the first time, this design on the iron posts that bracket the neutral ground and the Canal streetcar line.

Each side of the pillar displays the seal of one of the nations that has governed New Orleans.

1 France

Nouvelle Orléans was founded in 1718 by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville. Thanks to its commanding presence at the mouth of the Mississippi, the city replaced Biloxi as the capitol of French Louisiana in 1722. Later in that year the grid system of the French Quarter was established; a few months later, the first pink feather boa was sold to a Parisian bachelorette party.*

*No, of course not.

2 Spain

After the British won the Seven Years/French and Indian War, Britain took control of French Louisiana east of the Mississippi, as well as Spanish Florida. To compensate Spain’s loss, Britain gave the Spanish Empire control of the Louisiana colony west of the Mississippi.

Spain took control of New Orleans, and Spanish and French blood mingled, creating a distinct Louisiana Creole identity. The Great New Orleans Fire of 1788 destroyed much of the Quarter, which was replaced with the Spanish style buildings that ironically characterize the ‘French’ Quarter today.

In 1800, Spain and France signed the third Treaty of San Ildefonso, cementing a military alliance with the retunr of Louisiana to the French. In 1803, Napoleon sold the Louisiana Territory to the USA.


Louisiana voted to secede from the United States on January 22, 1861, but New Orleans had a short lifespan under the flag of the Confederate States of America. The city was seized by Union naval commander David Farragut in late April and early May of 1862, presumably because Farragut had already bought his Jazz Fest tickets.


And since Union victory in the Civil War, New Orleans has been proudly ‘Murican. And Creole and Cajun and German and Irish and Italian and Jewish and Chinese and Honduran and Vietnamese and African and Caribbean and Houma and Choctaw. Which taken all together, are American. And distinctly New Orleans.


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    The Arts Council of New Orleans

    The Arts Council of New Orleans is a private, non-profit organization designated as the City’s official arts agency. The Arts Council serves as one of eight regional distributing agencies for state arts funds and administers available municipal arts grants and the Percent For Art program for the City of New Orleans. The Arts Council works in partnership with the City of New Orleans, community groups, local, state, and national governmental agencies, and other nonprofit arts organizations to meet the arts and cultural needs of the New Orleans community through a diversity of initiatives and services.


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    Preservation Resource Center (PRC) has been preserving, restoring, and revitalizing New Orleans’ historic architecture and neighborhoods since 1974. Throughout its history, PRC has acted as an advocacy agent on a local, regional, and national scale, spreading the word about the city’s rich architectural heritage and the economic importance of preserving this heritage. PRC also takes a hands-on approach to preservation, with a history of successfully restoring over 1,400 properties. The center strengthens and revitalizes New Orleans in a way that is forward-looking and sustainable, yet sensitive to the city’s past and its heritage.


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    Southern Food

    The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is a nonprofit living history organization dedicated to the discovery, understanding and celebration of the food, drink and the related culture of the South. While based in New Orleans, the Museum examines and celebrates all the cultures that have come together through the centuries to create the South’s unique culinary heritage. The Museum is also home to the collections of the Museum of the American Cocktail, the Galerie d’Absinthe, and a demonstration kitchen.

    Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities

    The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities to all Louisianans.

    The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ mission is to provide all Louisianans with access to and an appreciation of their own rich, shared and diverse historical, literary and cultural heritage through grant-supported outreach programs, family literacy and adult reading initiatives, teacher professional development institutes, publications, film and radio documentaries, museum exhibitions, cultural tourism, public lectures, library projects, and other public humanities programming.



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