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Bill Thayer

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History of New Orleans

Histories and Source Documents

I started putting this part of my site online after Hurricane Katrina: it's therefore brand-new; other material is on its way.

[ 9/28/05: 402 print pages
presented in 18 webpages, 7 photos, 91 engravings ]

Published in 1895, Grace King's New Orleans: The Place and the People is a popular history of the city, from the first European exploration of the area to her own day. It is interesting not only for its many anecdotes of Creole life, but also as a piece of early feminist history — as well as for its portrayal, sympathetic within the parameters of the time, of black history and customs.

[ 6/1/06: 47 chapters (777 print pages, presented in 48 webpages),
30 photos, 10 maps, 19 engravings ]

John Smith Kendall's massive History of New Orleans, on the other hand, is a detailed scholarly account, written somewhat later (1922) and from a very different perspective, Anglo-Saxon and less overtly passionate.

[ 9/9/05: 9 print pages presented in 1 webpage, 5 photos ]

Harriet Joor's The City of Iron Lace is a piece of vividly atmospheric writing — most of the time I can firmly do without that sort of stuff — yet that on close reading gives an extremely clear overview, in spots even somewhat technical, of the houses of the Crescent City: it's an excellent, informative piece, if all too brief.

[ 9/12/05: 8 print pages presented in 1 webpage, 4 photos ]

An altogether different and exactly contemporary view of the city's houses and the living conditions in them: Behind the Yellow Fever in Little Palermo is a detailed, graphic report on the squalor and overcrowding that contributed to the United States' last epidemic of yellow fever.

[ 9/12/05: 3 documents, 9 photos ]

Water and Storm Management in New Orleans: a growing selection of historical documents on how the city has handled its unusual water problem.


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Site updated: 27 Jun 13