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passed, but only so recently that one may be pardoned in thinking one can still hear the echoes of the mighty steam power used in the compressing of the bales.
Fashion, after all, governs in streets and localities, as it does in women's attire, though the changes are much slower and more lasting. Without mention of the lower districts, where, by the way, are some beautiful buildings with more or less historical associations, the trend is all up town. Not so very long since Julia Street row, extending from Camp to St. Charles, was peopled by aristocratic families; likewise the buildings on Carondelet, between Lafayette and Girod, while all the neighboring thoroughfares were eagerly sought for residence sites. In the little cottage still standing on the river side of Camp Street, above Julia, was the then well-patronized Macauley School for young ladies, where many of the older society women of the present were instructed in their girlhood days.
As the city expanded, Annunciation to Prytania inclusive, extending up in varying degrees to about Louisiana Avenue, became a favorite locality; some of these streets have lost the popularity of those days, but the commodious dwellings still standing all attest how much of the city's life was centered there. First one and then another, lost its hold upon public favor, and now upper St. Charles marks the line about which fashion gathers.
For a long while Canal Street remained neglected, and only of recent years has that portion from about Claiborne out been built up. In the days of the old Metairie race course, now the Metaire Cemetery, Common Street afforded the means of communication, and during the time given up to such sport, it was lined with carriages and buggies, all speeding thither that their occupants might witness the contests, than which no greater have ever been held in this country. Nor was Common Street deserted by travel at other times, for the shell road, which still exists along the New Basin, was the favorite drive of those days. West End was not then what it is now, but it had its public resorts that are pleasant memories to many of our people. The New Basin road was the great speedway, and “2:40 on the shell road” was the one expression of all the youngsters of the day for rapid motion. Then the ownership of a horse, or the means necessary to hire one, was a prerequisite to reaching this part of Lake Pontchartrain; but during the Federal occupation of the city a railway was constructed on the lower side of the Basin by the military, which road, with the continued improvements of later days, now affords a much sought-for outing for the masses.
There is much more than could be told, but what has been given shows the wonderful changes which have taken place.
There is a charm in the touch of old age that even the freshness of youth cannot outrival; there is a charm in old association that recalls the glories of the past; there is a charm in listening to the whisperings of years gone by—may the future bring to New Orleans no changes that will make it less the City Beautiful!
MINUTES OF MARCH 19. The regular monthly meeting of the Louisiana Historical Society took place on Wednesday evening the 28th, at the Cabildo. All the officers were present, and there was a full attendance of members and friends.
The minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved.
S. Locke Breaux, 1907 Prytania Street.
Mr. Hart presented two very interesting and unique documents to the Society; the commission to the postmastership of Campti, Parish of Natchitoches, issued in 1845 to Jacob A. Wolfson by the United States, and the commission to the same officer by the Confederate States Government, in 1862. Mr. Hart was thanked by the Society. He then read an extract from an old paper dated 8th of January, 1855, giving in honor of the day, a spirited account of the always interesting Battle of New Orleans.
The paper of the evening was contributed by Miss Grace King on the “Notes Bibliographiques de Boismare, Published in Paris in 1855," a rare and most interesting manuscript belonging to Mr. T. P. Thompson's collection of Americana and kindly lent by him to the Society for publication.
Boismare was, in 1825, a bookseller in New Orleans, located at 137 Chartres Street, and later 135 Royal, where he had also a circulating library.
At the close of Miss King's paper there were some pleasant reminiscences indulged in by the members interested in Bibliographical studies.
Judge Renshaw, with a few appropriate introductory remarks, submitted the following resolution, which, after some discussion, was adopted and the matter referred to the Executive Committee :
"Resolved, That the Executive Committee of this Society is hereby requested to take under consideration the subject of the founding of New Orleans, and to report in writing as early as practicable.”
The question of purchasing photographs of the dispatches of the Spanish Governors of Louisiana, 1766-1791, now compiled by the Carnegie Institution of Washington, was also referred to the Executive Committee.
Mr. Hart's motion on the change in day of the monthly meetings, which had been laid over for several meetings, was acted on, with the result that it was decided that the day be changed from the third Wednesday to the third Tuesday of the month.
There being no further business the Society adjourned.
MEETING OF APRIL, 1917. The regular monthly meeting of the Louisiana Historical Society was held at the Cabildo on Tuesday evening April 18th.
There was a very small attendance, owing to a strike on the car lines. Most of the officers were present.
After the reading of the minutes, Mr. S. A. Trufant being introduced by the President, read what proved to be one of the most interesting papers ever presented before the Society, “ A Review of Banking in New Orleans, 1830-1840." Although dealing with technical details of financiering, it gave a most pleasant summary of the political history of a period when banks played no inconsiderable part in the election of presidential candidates, notably in that of General Jackson over Henry Clay.
The paper suggested some pertinent questions asked by Mr. W. 0. Hart, which Mr. Trufant answered.
Mr. Hart then recalled, à propos of Jackson that John Quincy Adams, then Secretary of State, had proposed his then formidable rival for an appointment in Mexico, which, as is well known, Jackson declined.
Mr. John Dymond, in his usual interesting manner, related incidents and episodes of his early life in New Orleans, to which he came in 1866.
Mr. Trufant was given a vote of thanks.
Mr. Hart exhibited an interesting relic of the early days of banking in Louisiana, the reproduction of a note or bond given in 1837 for a sum of money borrowed from the old Bank of Louisiana (printed in the Hibernia Rabbit for December, 1916), which lead to further reminiscences of the Hibernia Bank by Mr. Dymond and others.
Mrs. Bruns, President of the Louisiana Branch of Colonial Dames, asked the Louisiana Historical Society's assistance in getting Congress to pass favorably a resolution to make a National Park on the site of Chalmette.
Mr. James Wilkinson also spoke in favor of the measure, and praised the noble avenue of oaks growing at Chalmette, as themselves worthy of national recognition and preservation. Other members also spoke in support of Mrs. Bruns' petition; and a motion endorsing it was passed unanimously.
The Society then adjourned.
REVIEW OF BANKING IN NEW ORLEANS, 1830-1840.
By S. A. TRUFINT. Vincent Nolte, in his very interesting memoirs, entitled “Fifty Years in Both Hemispheres," tells us that in 1821 New Orleans did not possess one single paved street. In 1822 the City Council, recognizing the necessity for some improvements, decided to pave Rue Royale, at a cost of $300,000, and the Council arranged through Vr. Nolte for a loan to be repaid in ten years from the banking house of Barings, London. Mr. Wolte says this was the forerunner of many similar loans. The commerce of New Orleans, which was destined to so mighty a future, was obliged to contend with greatest difficulties because of the miserable condition of the streets, the highways and the dykes of the river, which gave them a thousand hindrances in the way of trade's advancement.
The subject assigned me for this very informal address is "A Review of Banking in New Orleans, 1830-1840,” but to better appreciate the wonderful expansion of the monetary system of the period, I have called your attention to the rather crude conditions as they are authoritatively reported to have existed at the beginning of the previous decade.
Judge Porter, in his article of New Orleans written in this period, says
“By whatever route the traveler approaches New Orleans, whether by the river, the sea or the lake, the feature which first attracts his attention is the levee, where one may meet with the products and the people of every country in any way connected with commerce.”'
The levee was one continuous landing place or quay four miles in extent, and of an average breadth of 100 feet. A very large part of the Western products were brought to New Orleans in flatboats. The flatboats were long, narrow rafts covered with a raised work of scantling, giving the appearance of narrow cabins built for the purpose of habitation, but designed to protect their cargo from the weather. These boats were valued frequently at $10,000 and $15,000. These flatboats floated with the stream three or four miles per hour, guided by a large oar at the stern and aided with an occasional dip of two huge pieces of timber which were like fins on either side.
The products of the Ohio, Missouri and upper Mississippi were floated to New Orleans for export. The flatboat men of the Mississippi were a distinctive class of dwellers upon the watersstrong, hardy, rough and uncouth pioneer traders, and it was many years before their number was diminished by the advent of the steamboat.
Judge Porter says:
“That part of the quay or levee which is particularly characteristic of New Orleans is THE STEAMBOAT LANDING. Here all is action. The very water is covered with life: huge piles of cotton, bale upon hale, and pork without end, as if the Ohio had emptied its lap at the door of New Orleans. Flour by the thousands of barrels rolled upon the quay. Here is a boat freighted