Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Vieux Carré and Other Sections -- November 13, 2014

In this scene from The Picayune's Guide to New Orleans (1903) we see Chartres Street (pronounced Charters) in the View Carré, or French Quarter.  Louis Phillippe. Duke of Chartres, visited New Orleans in 1796 while he was exiled after the French Revolution.  He later King of the French (not King of France) in 1830 and was forced to abdicate in 1848. 

The terms "Vieux Carré," "Faubourg Ste. Marie," "Faubourg Marigny," are often used throughout this Guide. It may be said
The "Vieux Carré,"
or "old square," is that interesting section of the French Quarter that was laid out by Bienville when he came from Biloxi to build his city in 1718. The cleared space had a frontage of twelve squares, and comprised all the land that lay between Esplanade Street on the north, Canal Street on the south, the Levee on the east and Rampart Street on the west. The names of the streets running parallel with the river were Levee, Chartres above the Cathedral, Condé below it; Royal. Bourbon, Dauphine, Burgundy, Rampart, so-called because being the city limit on the west, ramparts were erected all along the line. Crossing these streets from the river, were Bienville, Conti, St. Louis, Toulouse, St. Peter, Orleans. St. Anno, Dumaine and St. Philip. Later, when the Ursuline Nuns came over, the old street on which was their property received the name of Ursuline, from their convent in Chartres Street. The "Barracks," or soldiers' quarters, were located two squares from the convent, hence the name, "Barracks Street," or "Quartier." Intervening was the Military Hospital, which gave to the street directly below Ursuline the name "Hospital." "The Esplanade" was located in the beautiful street that runs below Barracks, from the river to the woods. The names of those original streets have remained, un-changed through all these years. They are dear to the people, because they are the living reminders of a beautiful historic past.
The "Faubourg Ste. Marie"
lies on the upper side of Canal Street. It was the first distinct ''American" Section of New Orleans, and extended from the "Terre Commune" or Government Reservation (now Common Street) outside the walls of the ancient city to the line marked by Delord Street. It was owned by a wealthy planter named Jean Gravier, and was first called the "Ville Gravier." After the cession of Louisiana to the United States and the Americans came pouring into the city from the West, there was a contest for mastery between the Creoles with their elegant manners and luxurious homes, and the hardy, thrifty band of invaders. Finally, there grew so much jealousy and distrust that the Governor and State officials began to feel the difficulties of their position, and trouble seemed imminent. At this juncture the coolness of the American Governor and the foremost American citizens prevailed. The Americans decided, to have a city of their own, beyond the ancient French limits. Gravier was willing to divide his land into lots and streets, and found a ready sale among the discontented Americans. Gravier changed the name of the section to the "Faubourg Ste. Marie," in honor of his mother, whose name was Mary. This was the beginning of the beautiful American city that lies above Canal Street, and which now stretches to the verge of Southport.
The "Faubourg Marigny"
was the ancient plantation of Philippe Mandeville de Marigny. a provincial magnate, who entertained Louis Philippe and his brothers when they were exiles in New Orleans. The Faubourg extended from Esplanade Street to St. Ferdinand and from the river to St. Claude Street. When Marigny decided to build his own city, that should outrival either the "Vieux Carré" cr the "Faubourg Ste. Marie," he cut up the plantation into lots and streets. A portion became one of the most fashionable residence centres of old New Orleans. But the tide of progress flowed upward, and the dreams of Marigny were never realized.
Algiers was known in early Creole days as the "Plantations of the King" This was the name given by Bienville. In time swarms of negro slaves alone inhabited it. They were constantly at work and all day their quaint negro ballads could be heard. The Creoles showing their propensity for giving nicknames, rechristened the "King's Plantation" "Algiers," and the name clings to this day. It is now the Fifth District of New Orleans, and has a large population of thrifty white people.

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