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Chapter 41

This webpage reproduces a chapter of
History of New Orleans

John Kendall

published by The Lewis Publishing Company,
Chicago and New York, 1922

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
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Chapter 43
This site is not affiliated with the US Military Academy.

 p672  Chapter XLII
Streets, Parks, Squares

To a degree probably true of no other American city the history of New Orleans is reflected in its street nomenclature. The haphazard way in which the community expanded has led to an exceedingly complicated street plan. Part of its irregularity arose from conditions imposed upon the builders by the location of the city in a bend of the Mississippi. The original town was laid out with mathematical exactitude. But when it outgrew its swaddling clothes it did not spread beyond the original boundaries regularly into the adjacent country. The people went far afield, built up little isolated groups of homes, with street systems and parks of their own. When the growing metropolis ultimately encircled these villages, the eccentricities of their maps were accepted without correction. The result is seen in a curious, fan-like radiation of streets, crossed in every direction by diagonals. Not merely in the older part of the city, but in the newest quarters, streets merge into one another and squares taper into triangles, in a fashion which is bewildering even to the native. The result is a house-numbering system which is an interminable series of compromises.

A study of the street names of New Orleans ought, properly, to be divided into two sections, one treating of the old city, and the other of the new region above Canal Street. The oldest street is probably Bayou Road. When the whites first intruded into Louisiana they found it not altogether an untrodden wilderness. At the head of Bayou St. John, near the bridge which now spans that street at the foot of Esplanade Street, stood an Indian village. The moccasined feet of the inhabitants of this tiny settlement had beaten out a pathway by the shortest possible route through the swamps to the Mississippi. This road probably followed the line of Esplanade Avenue, Bayou Road and Hospital Street. The white settlers found it a convenient route; they appear to have used it frequently even before the site of New Orleans was definitely decided upon, and so it has happened that later when new fauxbourgs were laid out it was a thoroughfare too well established to be changed, and it still runs its ancient course, across lots and through squares.

At first no names were given to the streets of the little city founded by Bienville. This was not done till 1724. Chartres was then named in honor of the oldest of the Orleans princes; St. Louis received the name of the patron saint of France; Conti was so called in honor of a prince of that title; Dumaine and Toulouse immortalize the two illegitimate sons of Madame de Montespan and Louis XIV. The Rue Royale was the main street of the town. The widest street was Orleans, which crossed Royal at right angles, at about the middle of its course. All houses were numbered north and south from Orleans Street — No. 1 North Royal or No. 1 South Royal, as the case might be, and the same on the parallel streets. Barracks, Hospital and Dauphine were not opened till later; the first was named for the long, low rambling buildings which stood near the river, and quartered the king's troops. The Rue de l'Arsenal, which in 1726 was the lower limit of the town, was later baptized Rue des Ursulines. What is now called Decatur Street  p674 was then Rue du Quay. At a later date, Chartres, between Esplanade and Orleans, was called Condé, but at a still later date recovered its original appellation. Bienville was so called as early as 1726, because the founder of the city had his residence on that street, near the river bank, at the corner of what now is Decatur. St. Peter, St. Ann and St. Philip were so called for the baptismal names frequently bestowed upon members of the royal family.1

New Orleans remained a walled and fortified town until 1804, when the Americans began to demolish the forts. The walls had already fallen into disrepair and were suffered gradually to disappear. Fort St. Charles, the only work of military importance, stood at the lower river corner of the city till 1826. At first the people expected the city to expand down the river. Bernard de Marigny there laid out his princely estate into streets and squares, and founded the Faubourg Marigny. Marigny was a gentleman of the old school, typically Creole, wealthy, well born, refined. At his mansion were entertained in 1798 Louis Philippe, then Duke of Orleans, afterwards King of France, and his two brothers, the Duke de Montpensier and the Count de Beaujolais. Another faubourg which was laid out about the same time was Trémé. It was laid out by Claude Trémé on a plantation belonging to him. St. Claude Street was named by him in honor of the saint whose name he bore.​2 Trémé presented to the city the tract of open land which has been at various times known as Circus Square, Congo Square and nowadays as Beauregard Square.

The history of the early days of American control is immortalized in the street names of this part of New Orleans. Claiborne, Derbigny, Roman, Johnson, White and Robertson commemorate early governors of the state. Still earlier history is preserved in such names as Gayoso, Miro, Galvez and Salcedo. Tonti harks back to the first part of the colonial period, when the "Iron Hand" explored this region in search of LaSalle. Old Creole families are honored also. Rocheblave, Dorgenois and Delhonde are names of such. Genois was named for one ante-bellum mayor; Crossman for another. Clark Street bears the name of Daniel Clark, putative father of Myra Clark Gaines, the heroine of the most celebrated lawsuit in the history of Louisiana, if not of the United States; and Hagan Avenue retains the name of old John Hagan, a noted land speculator of the '40s, who laid out a "faubourg" behind the "vieux carré," adjoining that of Trémé. Gasquet Street recalls the memory of William A. Gasquet, a wealthy merchant and erstwhile member of the city council.

The Faubourg Ste. Marie, which grew up above Canal Street, produced its own crop of curious names. Gravier recalls the memory of Bernard Gravier, who owned the great land grant of which the river end was involved in the celebrated "batture" case. Julien Poydras gave his name to a cross street. He was not only the author of the first poem known to have been printed in Louisiana, but a success­ful business man also. He was the first president of the Bank of Louisiana, the earliest institution of the kind established in the Mississippi Valley.​3 When Poydras  p675 died he owned 1,000 slaves, and in his will he directed that they should be gradually emancipated over a period of twenty-five years — a benevolent provision which was never carried out. Lafayette Street, formerly called Hevia, was renamed early in the nineteenth century in honor of General Lafayette. Delord Street perpetuates the fame of a Creole family which acquired that part of the Jesuit plantation fronting on the river where this thoroughfare now ends. In the first city directory occurs the following description of Delord Street: "It runs from the river near Withers' saw mill toward the swamp, between St. Joseph and Louise Street. It is the upper limit of the city corporation, and the line dividing the suburb of St. Mary from the upper banlieu. Boats coming to New Orleans with live stock cannot land below this street." Howard Avenue, so called in memory of C. T. Howard, was originally known as Triton Walk. Lee Circle was formerly Tivoli Circle, from the tivoli, or "flying horses," which, to the great delight of the children of the neighborhood, once operated there. Over­looking Tivoli Circle was the house in which Thomas Bailey Aldrich, the poet, spent his boyhood.

Among the earliest thoroughfares in the upper part of the city was Tchoupitoulas Road — the Chemin de Tchoupitoulas, or "fish hole" road, which led up the river to Bayou Tchoupitoulas. This was originally an Indian path. It followed the edge of the river then, but the accretion of silt along the bank has carried the water line several squares further out. Early in the last century this road was lined with willow trees. From Delord Street up almost to Carrollton along this pretty road stretched a line of residences, in ample grounds, where vegetables were raised and sheep farmed to the profit of owners usually making their home in the city. As these estates were absorbed into the city the names of the owners of the neighboring properties descended upon the newly opened thoroughfares. Thus Poeyfarre, Robin and Gaiennie recall the memory of well-known Creole families. The Saulet family owned what became the faubourg bearing their name. In the midst of this district rose St. Theresa's Church, on a site which their piety supplied, on condition that two pews be perpetually reserved for the use of the family and its descendants. Edward and Celeste streets were named for members of the Saulet family. Josephine and Philip were similarly named for beloved children, and Toledano, Delachaise and Foucher were names bestowed on streets opening through properties belong to these families. Such names as those of the Muses, borne by a group of streets opening off Coliseum Square, show that a taste for the classics existed in New Orleans in the late '40s. The Napoleonic streets — Austerlitz, Milan, Marengo, Berlin and the avenue which bears the great soldier's imperial name — testify to the enthusiasm for the emperor's cause which was felt by General Burthe, owner of what was for a time called Burtheville. The numbered streets — First, Second, Third, etc. — were "yankee-named," as the old inhabitants said, contemptuously. Peters Avenue retains the name of Samuel J. Peters. There was a special reason why one of the most splendid of the uptown streets should bear the name of Henry Clay. Not only did Clay visit New Orleans on various occasions, but his brother, Martin Clay, made his home in the city. Here Martin's two sons, Martin and Henry, were born and here they both died in youth. Aline, Amelia, Arabella, Eleonore, Leontine and many other feminine names which are found in this part of the city were given in honor of the  p676 daughters of the owners of the plantations through which the streets were cut.

The episodic fashion in which the city grew resulted in the middle of the last century in the discovery that what was, in fact, a single thoroughfare often had half a dozen names. Thus Dryades Street was called Philippa from Canal to Common, thence to Howard Avenue it was St. John the Baptist, and thereafter only did it bear its present name. Below Esplanade Street Royal was called Casacalvo, and Chartres was Moreau, so named in honor of Napoleon's general and rival, at one time a resident of the city. Dauphine as it descended the length of the city became Greatman, and Burgundy was Craps. In one part of its length the present Rampart Street was called Amour or Love Street, and in another Hercules, and in still another Circus. One part of Melpomene was called Melicerte. So, also, one section of Chippewa was known as Pacanier or Pecan Street. Thalia was in part Benjamin; Calliope masqueraded at one point as Louise and at another as Duplantier. Annunciation was Jersey in one place and Elizabeth in another. St. Charles Street ran only as far as Tivoli Circle, and there became Nyades Street — which was a Spanish name and pronounced accordingly. Part of Camp was called Liberal and another part Coliseum. Baronne was known in its upper extension as Bacchus and Carondelet as Apollo. Freret Street turned into Pine and then into Jacob. There were two Girod streets, five Washingtons and other duplications besides. These confusions were corrected by the city council in an ordinance passed about the year 1860. Not only did this sweeping measure stipulate that the streets mentioned, and many more besides, should bear a uniform name throughout their length, but it abolished some of the most curious and characteristic of the street names, like Good Children, Mysterious, Bagatelle, Craps, Solace, Lemon and History.​4 Though thus expunged from the official map, they lingered in popular usage for many years thereafter. Some odd names still survive, like Arts, Music, Abundance, Virtue, Child, Brutus, Duels, Coffee, Dawn, Madmen, Last, Desire and Pelopidas. Desire, however, should properly be Désirée — a girl's name probably bestowed out of compliment to one of the young ladies of the de Clouet family. Pelopidas Street is one of those near Lake Pontchartrain which as yet are merely names on the map.

Canal Street, the principal thoroughfare of present day New Orleans, lay, in the first decades of the nineteenth century, far afield. But in 1838 it was one of the most important streets in the city. At that date the waterway from which it derives its name and which, it is said, was intended to unite the Mississippi with Lake Pontchartrain, had been partially filled in, giving place to a "neutral ground," or embankment, which extended from the river front all the way to Claiborne Street. In 1838 an elaborate plan was devised for the beautification of the street. Referring to this project, the editor of the Bulletin remarked: "It exhibits a very tasteful and elegant arrangement, which, if carried into effect, would furnish the citizens with an accommodation which they have long wanted — an agreeable resort and public promenade, where all can meet for relaxation and amusement during the sultry heat of summer."5  p677 The idea was to embellish the street all the way back to Claiborne, but the principal feature was the square nearest the river, which was to be the "agreeable resort" of the Bulletin's editorial. At the end nearest the stream was to stand a granite arch, surmounted by an eagle. A large central iron gate closed the arch, and there were two smaller gates at the sides. At the opposite end a similar arch was to be flanked by marble vases filled with flowers. Between these two arches rows of laurel trees were to be planted, in order that their shade might shelter a "serpentine" graveled walk, along the length of which benches would invite the citizen to "relaxation," if not to "amusement." Provision was to be made for the illumination of the square at night by gas, and in the center a fountain would dart its cooling waters up into the air. "This is but an imperfect description," admitted the Bulletin, from whose glowing account these details are extracted. The remaining distance back to Claiborne Street was to be adorned with granite pillars, connected with iron chains, a row on within side of the "neutral ground." The purpose of these barriers was, it seems, to prevent stray animals from intruding upon the "neutral ground." The posts and chains were of course to be interrupted at the intersection of the cross streets, but here were to arise the chief glory of the great thoroughfare. This was a series of statues of great men, statesmen and soldiers, the first of which was to ornament the square nearest the river and commemorate Robert Fulton, inventor of the steamboat. The expense of this large undertaking, it appears, was to be met by the owners of property abutting on the street.


[image ALT: A photograph of a wide avenue with at least four lanes of traffic, two of which are given over to motor trolleys; the other lanes are relatively traffic-free, traveled by a few 1920s-model cars and an occasional horse or pedestrian. The buildings fronting on the street range from three to ten stories. It is a view of Canal Street, New Orleans, about 1920.]

Canal Street, the Main Thoroughfare of New Orleans

The plan for the embellishing of Canal Street was ultimately adopted by the city authorities, but in much modified form. This was brought about by conditions which ran back to the Battle of New Orleans, in 1815. In that conflict took part Judah Touro, the great philanthropist,​a and Rezin Shepherd, subsequently a distinguished New Orleans banker. Touro fell in the fighting, badly wounded. Shepherd discovered him partly conscious and apparently dying on the battlefield, put him in a cart and conveyed him as tenderly as possible back to the city, where he was nursed back to health. His wound left Touro a cripple for the rest of his life. His gratitude to Shepherd knew no bounds, and on his death, in January, 1854, he left the bulk of his large fortune to his savior. Shepherd utilized the money in various ways designed to perpetuate the name of his friend. Accordingly, on January 27, 1854, he addressed a letter to Valentine Heerman, a member of the Board of Assistant Councilmen, stating that "from two to three hundred thousand dollars would be placed at the disposition of the city authorities by me as residuary legatee of Mr. Touro for the purpose of embellishing and improving Canal Street." He was, he added, confident that the conditions which he would impose in connection with this gift would be acceptable to the council. It appears, however, that the whole sum named was not to be utilized on Canal Street, but that it included the amount to be applied to the construction of an almshouse "on a magnificent scale," as provided in Touro's will. But, even so, the benefaction provided ample funds for greatly improving the appearance of the street. The council, on being apprised of Mr. Shepherd's project, appointed a committee on January 30 to confer with him regarding the conditions to which he referred.

 p678  On March 1, 1854, Shepherd wrote another letter, this time to W. Alexander Gordon, chairman of the committee above mentioned, in which he confirmed his previous communication, but added, specifically, that the sum applicable to adornment of Canal Street would be $150,000, payable in five annual installments of $30,000 each. The conditions on which the gift depended were that the name be changed from Canal Street to Touro Avenue; that the street be paved with granite blocks across its entire width from the river to Camp and Chartres streets, and from there back to Claiborne, the squares each to be inclosed with iron railings and ornamented with trees, shrubbery, etc.; "the same always to be kept in good order; the sidewalks not to exceed 11 feet in width, except between Levee and Camp street; that all projections over them shall be uniform, to correspond with those on Touro Row; and the present ordinances relative to the encumberments on the sidewalks be enforced."6

Shepherd's letter was laid before the city council at its meeting on March 13, and a resolution accepting the gift, under the terms described, was introduced and passed. Another ordinance, providing "that the street now known as Canal be and the same is hereafter denominated Touro Avenue," was likewise passed. The comptroller was instructed to proceed at once to sell the contract for paving, "flagging" (by which terms reference was made to the laying of flagstones), the railings and the beautification of the neutral ground. At the same time arrangements were inaugurated looking to the erection of a "magnificent cenotaph" to Touro's memory to be located at an appropriate point in the new avenue.7

On April 19, 1855, however, the council passed an ordinance seventeen words in length, providing "that the name of Touro Avenue be and is hereby changed to the original name of Canal Street."​8 Nothing is known which accounts for this abrupt change in the plans regarding Canal Street. Apparently the change of name had been ignored by the population. One examines the contemporary newspapers in vain for an allusion to Touro Avenue, whereas, even in official records, the name of Canal Street repeatedly appears. However, the adornment of the street seems to have gone on without interruption. The neutral ground was provided along both edges with rows of iron posts and two iron chains hung from one to the other. Part of the money for this work was appropriated by the city, but the larger portion was provided by the merchants and property owners of the vicinity and by other citizens through a sense of civic pride. The park near the river was, however, never laid out, nor was the statue of Fulton ever erected. The first and only statue erected in the projected series was that of Henry Clay, which stood at the intersection of Canal and St. Charles streets from 1856 to 1900, when it was removed to its present location in Lafayette Square. The plan as originally developed involved the building of similar monuments at each corner as far out as Rampart Street. Needless to say this was never  p679 carried into effect. It is said that just before the outbreak of the Civil war a statue of Zachary Taylor, similar to that of Henry Clay, was ordered, with the intention of erecting it at the corner of Canal and Carondelet streets. The war, however, put an end to that project, if it ever took tangible shape. The laurel trees required in the plan of 1838 were never planted, but rows of oak trees were set out along the neutral ground. They never amounted to much. The last of them was removed during the administration of Mayor Fitzpatrick. The iron posts with their chains were also gradually removed, some being seen in Canal Street as late as 1880. Not long after the Civil war the street car companies were permitted to occupy the "neutral ground." That put an end to any possible exploitation of that area for parking purposes. The little that had been done was destroyed to suit the convenience of these corporations, even the removal of the Clay statue, around which so much local history had been enacted, being finally effected in deference to their wishes. About the time that the street car pre-empted the "neutral ground" the continuation of the old canal beyond Claiborne Street was filled in and became the roadbed of the West End Railroad. In 1904 the adornment of this extremity of Canal Street was undertaken by an organization known as the Frank T. Howard Association, but the present attractive appearance of this part of the street is due to the enterprise of the city government in recent years.9

The parks and squares of New Orleans have much of history also. Jackson Square was formerly located at the intersection of Chartres and Esplanade streets, a vicinity long since built over. The name was bestowed upon what had previously been called the Place d'Armes in 1850. At that time the signal gun which previously had been fired nightly at 9 o'clock from the center of the Place d'armes was removed to what we now know as Beauregard Square, but which was then called Congo Square. There the signal gun nightly bellowed forth its warning to all slaves to seek their homes, down to 1862, when the custom was discontinued by order of the Federal authorities then in control of the city. The tolling of the fire alarm bell took its place, and thereafter for over forty years the nine strokes which marked the hour were heard by thousands who were unaware of the reason why it was rung. Congo Square lost its name early in the present century, when the picturesque old appellation gave way to that which it now bears. It was called "Congo" from the custom of the negroes of meeting there on their Sunday afternoon holiday to dance the "bamboula" and other African dances, to the accompaniment of barbaric music made by rattling a bone over the jawbone of a dead mule and beating a drum of skin over a barrel head. At an earlier date the locality was known as the Congo Plains, and sometimes as the Place des Nègres. Before the foundation of the city the Indians celebrated in this vicinity their corn feasts, commemorated in "La Fête du Petit Blé," the first dramatic composition ever written in Louisiana.

Lafayette Square came into existence when Peters, Yorke, Sparks and others created the Second Municipality. In the earliest maps of this quarter it is designated merely as a "place publique." Like Jackson Square, and indeed like most of the other squares then existing in the city, this place was originally surrounded by a high iron fence. Egress  p681 and ingress were to be obtained only at gates, one on each side, which were locked at 9 P.M., not to be opened till the following morning. Washington Square, in the lower part of the city, was laid out on land originally belonging to the Macarty family. Clay Square, on Third Street, and Douglas Square, on Washington Avenue, evidence in their names the dates when they were laid out. The latter is now called Morris Park, in memory of John A. Morris, a local capitalist. Margaret Place perpetuates the fame of Margaret Haughery, an uneducated Irish woman, who for many years was at the head of the largest bakery in the city and whose munificence to a considerable extent enabled the construction of the St. Vincent Infant Asylum, the St. Elizabeth Asylum and the New Orleans Female Asylum. Margaret died in 1882 and a monument to her memory, the work of Alexander Doyle, was erected in the triangular green plot in front of the New Orleans Female Asylum in 1884. This bit of ground, which had till then been private property, was at that time dedicated as a public square.


[image ALT: A photograph of a large city park with grass and tall trees, laid out in a largish oval in the foreground, with a monument in the center of it, a similarly-sized circle in the middle ground, and connecting sidewalks, mosst following gentle curves. In the background, a number of three- and four-story commercial buildings, and to the right, one taller, imposing building with a columned portico. It is a view of Lafayette Square, New Orleans, about 1920; the large building is the central postoffice.]

Beauti­ful Lafayette Square,
Showing U. S. Postoffice in Background.

Just above Margaret Place opens out the irregularly shaped but extremely attractive expanse of tree and grass known as Coliseum Square. It is a remnant of an ambitious project on the part of the early makers of New Orleans, which like many others, failed of accomplishment. The square occupies a corner of what was once the Faubourg Delogny. The classic name is a memorial of the taste for that sort of thing which led to the naming of the adjacent streets after the Grecian muses. Old maps show a design for a "colosseum" to be shaped like the letter E, with its open end facing Race Street, which was then the Chemin de la Course, or Race Track Street, and was a wide thoroughfare planted with trees and extending from the river to this spot. The "colosseum" was intended to be the scene of public games and assemblies, like those of ancient Rome, no doubt; but it was never built, and the only vestige which it has left is the name of Coliseum Street, bestowed at the suggestion of Dr. T. G. Richardson, the celebrated surgeon, long dean of the Medical College of Tulane University. The lower end of Coliseum Square was originally intended to be adorned with basins (fountains), and the street which led thence to the river was dubbed Rue des Bassins; but these were never built, and the name of the street was ultimately changed to Terpsichore. Prytania Street, which branches off from Camp near Margaret Place, owes its name to a plan somewhat similar to that of the "colosseum." At the same time that Coliseum Square was projected, it was planned to establish a sort of people's university in the square bounded by Prytania, St. Charles, Melpomene and Euterpe. The Prytanium, in ancient Greece, was a meeting place, a kind of people's palace, where foreign embassies were received, youth instructed and the most illustrious of citizens assembled. In France, in the craze for things Greek and Roman which was one of the symptoms of the intellectual disorder of the Revolutionary period, a somewhat similar institution looked to the management of the preparatory schools, which were often called "prytanées." The street which led to projected Prytanium was called, somewhat prematurely, Rue des Prytanées, or, in English, Prytanes Street — later corrupted into its present form. The Prytanium, needless to say, was never built.

The two principal parks of New Orleans are Audubon and City Parks. They are situated at opposite extremities of the city. Audubon Park is a magnificent expanse of 247 acres. It was originally the property  p683 of the patriotic Mazan, one of Lafrénière's companions in the disastrous revolt in 1768. His property was confiscated by the Spanish government, and some years later granted to Pierre Foucher, son-in‑law of Etienne de Boré. De Boré's own estate lay below the present lower boundary of the park; it was there that he succeeded in perfecting the manufacture of sugar, and raised the first commercially profitable crop of that staple ever grown in Louisiana. Both of these estates eventually fell into the hands of the Marquis de Circé-Foucher, by whose heirs the present Audubon Park was sold to the city in 1871 for $180,000. It was known in 1879 as the "New City Park." The name of Audubon was not bestowed till some years later, at the suggestion of Dr. T. G. Richardson, to whom Coliseum Square also owes its name. The land was allowed to lie unimproved till 1884, when the Cotton Centennial Exposition was held within its limits. Considerable improvements were made by the management of this enterprise in the section lying between Magazine Street and the river, but the larger part, between Magazine and St. Charles Avenue, was at this time denuded of the stately oak trees which had formerly embellished it, to make way for the buildings necessary to house the exhibits. All of the exposition buildings were subsequently removed except the Horticultural Hall, an immense structure of iron and glass, containing exquisite collections of trees and flowers. This was badly damaged in the great storm of 1909, and was shortly thereafter demolished. In 1886 the park was placed under control of a commission, with J. Ward Gurley, afterwards United States district attorney, was the first president. The work since carried on in the park has been in accordance with a plan prepared by the great landscape artist, Olmstead. The lake which now winds its sylvan way through the St. Charles Street side of the park was excavated in 1919 and 1920.

The City Park covers 216 acres. It formed part originally of the plantation of Louis Allard. Allard's estate extended all the way from the Bayou St. John to the Orleans Canal. He was a man of letters and wrote meritorious verse. Towards the end of his life his fortunes declined. He was compelled to dispose of the greater portion of his land. The last remnant, comprising the present park, was sold to John McDonogh, the eccentric philanthropist. At his death, in 1850, McDonogh left it to the cities of New Orleans and Baltimore. At the partition sale New Orleans acquired it in full owner­ship and decided to devote it to park purposes. Allard, who was then very poor, was, by a special agreement, after the sale, permitted to continue to live at the place. He was thus able to spend his declining days under the oaks which he loved, and when he, too, passed away, he was buried in a quiet spot under a favorite tree. The tomb is still to be seen in the pleasant surroundings of the city playground. In the early part of the nineteenth century the Allard east was a favorite resort of duellists. Many sanguinary encounters were fought out beneath the great oak trees which still adorn one side of the park. After its acquisition by the city the land was suffered to lie unimproved till 1896. In 1898 an elaborate plan, largely the work of the Park Board's engineer, George H. Grandjean, was adopted,​10 and since then the work of beautification has been carried on steadily. The lake which forms a conspicuous feature of the park, was formed in 1898 and 1899 by enlarging Bayou Metairie, a branch  p684 of Bayou St. John, which flowed for nearly a mile through the Allard estate.


[image ALT: A photograph of a wide and very flat monumental allée in a park, with a median strip formally planted with twin ranks of evenly-sized palm trees. The entrance to the allée is marked by symmetrical stone pillars about 7 m tall, and the photograph is taken from an empty circle of lawn with concentric sidewalks. It is a view of the Esplanade entrance to City Park, New Orleans, about 1920.]

Esplanade Entrance to City Park, New Orleans

The Jefferson Davis Parkway, which will ultimately be a splendid thoroughfare connecting Canal Street with the upper part of the city, at present terminates in the vicinity of Robert Street. It was formerly known as Hagan Avenue, in memory of John Hagan, a rich land speculator of the '40s, who laid out the Faubourg Hagan of transient importance in the development of the city. The name was changed in 1910. At the Canal Street end of the parkway stands a statue of Jefferson Davis by the sculptor Valentine, erected in 1911 at a cost of $20,000 by the Jefferson Davis Monument Association. This society was formed in April, 1898, the first president being Mrs. A. W. Robert. It was at first intended to place the monument in Coliseum Square, but in 1906, when Mrs. W. J. Behan became president, the plans were changed, and a site for the statue was solicited in Audubon Park. A committee composed of J. B. Levert, B. T. Walsh, John Holmes, Mrs. J. G. Harrison, Mrs. Benjamin Ory and Mrs. Behan was formed in 1908, through whose efforts the present location was obtained. The monument was unveiled on February 19, 1911. The beautification of the parkway since then has proceeded slowly.

The Author's Notes:

1 Heloise Hulse Cruzat, "New Orleans Under Bienville," in Louisiana Historical Quarterly, Vol. I, No. 3, pp75, 76.

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2 Times-Democrat, January 9, 1910.

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3 Zacharie, "New Orleans: Its Old Streets and Places," in Publications of the Louisiana Historical Society, Vol. II, Part III, 73.

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4 Leovy, "Laws and General Ordinances of the City of New Orleans, 1866," pp486-489. It is greatly to be desired that these names be restored to the map of the city, on account of their associations with local history and literature.

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5 January 12, 1838.

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6 Proceedings of the City Council for March 13, 1854, in the New Orleans City Archives.

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7 Mayor Waterman's General Message to the Common Council of the City of New Orleans, October 1, 1857. This pamphlet is preserved in the city archives. I am indebted to Mrs. M. Pohlman, the archivist at the City Hall, for the opportunity to examine this curious record.

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8 Ordinance 2124, reported in Leovy's digest, 489.

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9 See "Historic Canal Street," in Times-Democrat, May 13, 1904.

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10 Picayune, March 17, 1898.

Thayer's Note:

a See Grace King's sympathetic sketch of him in New Orleans, the Place and the People, pp370‑371; and the further references in my footnote there.

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