Race, Sex, and Social Order in Early New Orleans
Publication Year: 2009
Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press
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On Good Friday, 1788, a devastating fire spread through New Orleans, eventually destroying three-quarters of the city’s buildings. As the fire threatened his house, notary Pierre Pedesclaux ordered his children to save the notary registries in his possession. Pedesclaux’s actions saved the records while his house burned ...
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In 1700, Pierre Le Moyne, sieur d’Iberville, sailed up the Mississippi River, gathering information about the territory he had just claimed as the French colony of Louisiana. When the expedition approached a Bayougoulas settlement, the villagers, according to André Pénicaut, “fled into the depths of the woods ...
1 Indian Women, French Women, and the Regulation of Sex
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In March 1745, a dying Charles Egron dit Lamothe appeared before the New Orleans curé, Father Dagobert, to make a will. Born in Quebec in 1677, Egron had arrived in Louisiana with founder Pierre Le Moyne, sieur d’Iberville, in 1700 and had lived in various French settlements along the Gulf Coast, ...
2 Legislating Slavery in French New Orleans
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In 1736, Marie, a young slave woman, ran away, claiming she was being “cruelly treated without cause.” Marie’s legal owner was Françoise Larche, who had recently inherited her father’s estate. However, Françoise was a minor and Marie was under the control of Françoise’s uncle and guardian, Joseph Chaperon and his wife, ...
3 Affranchis and Sang-M
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In August 1725, two New Orleanians stood before Father Rapha
4 Slavery and Freedom in Spanish New Orleans
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In June 1773, Catherina, a thirty-six-year-old mulata slave belonging to the estate of Juan Bautista Destrehan, filed a coartación petition for herself and her five-year-old daughter Félicité, requesting the court appoint appraisers to determine the price of their freedom. She argued that she had “merited the right to ...
5 Limpieza de Sangre and Family Formation
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In December 1779, Do
6 Negotiating Racial Identities in the 1790s
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In September 1799, Doña Clara Lopez de la Peña, a twenty-old-year-old native and vecina of New Orleans, appeared before Bishop Luis Peñalver y Cárdenas to request that he correct a clerical error concerning her daughter Luisa’s baptism. Then almost five years old, Luisa was, according to her mother, ...
7 Codification of a Tripartite Racial System in Anglo-Louisiana
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In 1796, Eulalie Mandeville, a twenty-two-year-old femme de couleur libre, and Eugene Macarty, a twenty-eight-year-old blanco, began a relationship that would last almost fifty years, ending only with his death, and produce five children. Shortly after the relationship began, Mandeville received land and money ...
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On January 1, 1832, Alexis de Tocqueville was in New Orleans. He included the city on his tour of the United States in 1831–32 precisely to contrast its racial order with Anglo-America’s, although perhaps a desire “to enjoy the pleasures so celebrated of New Orleans” tempted him as well. ...
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Essay on Sources
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Writing about sex and race in early America is difficult. Much of the historical evidence consists of moralistic diatribes (which do not tell us whether the acts being railed against were in fact taking place nor, even if they were, with what frequency nor whether the speaker’s horror was representative of the few or the many) ...
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Page Count: 352
Illustrations: 7 halftones
Publication Year: 2009
Series Title: Early America: History, Context, Culture