Comprehensive New Orleans Essay, Research Paper
In a country containing so much diversity and history, it is practically impossible tolocate one city which embodies American diversity. a colony started by the French wasthe first area to fully integrate culture and religion. The city of New Orleans, nowprosperous form its diversity, epitomizes the American Melting Pot . It is complicated torelate such different backgrounds, but with an overview of history, culture, religion, andintegration on a small scale, a reader is capable of applying the values to the Americanculture as a whole. In 1699 the first plans for New Orleans were born. French-Canadian, Pierre leMoyen, Sieur d Iberville left France to found a colony on the Gulf of Mexico. Sieurd Iberville set up a fur trading for originally on the north gulf coast, then moved theestablishment to Dauphin Island. Once again, he moved the fort and created an inlandcolony near Louisiana. Sieur d Iberville was in charge of all of France s responsibilities inthe southern portion of the territory. Wen Iberville died in 1706 the land under hisjurisdiction was given to ho brother, Jean Baptiste de Moyen Sieur de Beinville. Beinville had great plans for the development of the French colonies and in 1717he submitted plans for a new settlement to the Company of the West. In 1718 Franceagreed with Beinville s plans and authorized him to establish the settlement, according tohis plans, one hundred miles up the Mississippi. Four years later the capitol of theLouisiana territory was transferred to the new settlement now know as New Orleans. The new colony was called New Orleans in honor of the Duke d Orlean. Duked Orlean supposedly had something to do with the funding for the new colony. The Dukefavored John Law, the founder of the Company of the West, and supported many of thecompany s ventures, the construction of New Orleans inclusive. The new, growing colony needed a government, so a democratic council wasformed. New Orleans was under the rule of a law making body called the Superiorcouncil which was first formed in 1712. The Superior Council was well liked by thepeople because it was a small representative democracy. During the 1720 s and 30 sBeinville was replaced as mayor by Sieur de Pierre. The colony did not experience muchgrowth between these years so Beinville was reappointed governor in 1733 and left thecolony permanently in 1742. Spain took over the government of New Orleans in 1766. The Spanish sent thenew governor, Antonio de Ulloa, to reign over their newest asset. Although the colonywas completely populated by French, there was not an immediate opposition to theSpanish government. The French had treated the colonists very poorly. The littleproperty that the colony maintained was dependent on France and French markets. Theonly thing Governor Ulloa desired to do was replace France with Spain and the Frenchmarkets with Spanish markets. The colonists were originally indifferent to a distantchange such as this. Finally, in 1768 there was a rebellion against Spanish rule. The leaders of therebellion all lived in or around the new Orleans settlement. The rebel leaders had powerand were prosperous because of their involvement with the Superior Council. TheSpanish disbanded the Superior council and replaced it with a town council, named for itsmeeting place, the Cabillo. The Cabillo had ten members, four seats were elected and sixwere purchased. The rebels, not agreeing with the new form of government, chasedgovernor Ulloa out of town. The leaders of the rebellion were a arrested, five were shot,one died in jail and the remaining six were incarcerated. New Orleans was granted trading rights by Spain in 1795. In 1800 the Treaty ofSan Ildefenso gave Louisiana back to France. This treaty was a secret, unknown to thecolonists. Napoleon Bonaparte induced the Spanish King to return the land to France forextremely appealing considerations. Only rumors had been heard in the colony as to thereality of such a transaction, no new government or laws were added. Rumors werepartially confirmed in 1802 when the Spanish in new Orleans withdrew the trading rightsthey had previously granted. In 1803 French ownership became common knowledge. French proprietorship became known to the colonists because Napoleon, inbetrayal of a promise he made to Spain, sold the entire province to the United States forfifteen million dollars. After the Louisiana Purchase, the first American became governorof New Orleans. A lawyer named William CC Claibourne was appointed governor by thenew president. In 1812 Claibourne, despite a general dislike by the constituency, waselected governor and then in 1816 was elected senator for the state. As an Americanstate, new Orleans and the surrounding area were divided up into three municipalities forthe elections of government, because of the clashing beliefs of its inhabitants. In 1852 thecity government was reunified causing the same American-Creole conflicts causing toseparate the groups originally. Aside for the rapidly changing leaders and government of new Orleans, theheritage of the population was constantly changing. In fact, the Spanish, African, French,Irish, German, and Latin all played a part in creating today s exciting metroplex atop allthat swampy muck. The first group to reach new Orleans were the French. The French in Americawere called Creole, it comes from a Spanish word criollo meaning whites of Frenchdecent. As far as most of new Orleans was concerned, Creole meant white, Americanborn people. The Creole were generally high in public status. The Creole were accreditedwith keeping the France in New Orleans. They kept their traditions and beliefs in thenew world. Bastille Day was celebrated widely by the Creole, they rose the tricolorFrench flag and celebrated as they would have in France. The Americans disliked theCreole, they looked down upon them for several reasons, one of these being their devoutCatholicism. A group often confused with the Creole were the Cajun. In reality, the differencebetween Creole and Cajun is not quite so simple. In the strict definition, a Creole wouldhave been white or black either a full blooded descendant of an early Spanish or Frenchsettler or of an African slave (and the aforementioned). The word Creole means literally,in Spanish, child born in the colonies as opposed to a baby born in Europe or Africa. Cajuns on the other hand were descendants of French Canadians who had lived in NoviaScotia since 1604… The Acadians were given the name Cajun by the New Orleanians. These new settlers arrived, against their will, in 1760. the Acadians lived in Canada in aplace called l Acadia meaning literally the heaven on earth , because the land was soextremely fertile and they were so extremely happy there. The Cajuns, when kicked offtheir land, were put on boats and sent down the Mississippi to Louisiana. They settled onfarms outside of New Orleans. They slowly established themselves as excellent farmersand were able to catch fine prices for their crops. The Germans also immigrated to New Orleans. There were three major Germanimmigrations to Louisiana, the first of which was in the 1850 s as a result of manyEuropean Revolutions. The Germans like the French area because there was supposed tobe farmland of the same quality they were accustomed and the same religion was practicedamong their people. The German colonists settled of farm land extremely far north of New Orleans. They found the land highly unpleasant and the farming almost impossible and they becamediscouraged. Many Germans returned to new Orleans intending to board the next shipreturning to Europe and live as they had before. The New Orleanians convinced theGermans to settle in the area again, this time just north of the city on the banks of theMississippi. Their new home was soon known as le Cote Allemand, or the German Coast. The next European group to move to New Orleans were the Irish. Ireland at thetime, the 1790 s was under British control. The Irish were being oppressed because oftheir religion in their home country and they needed a sage place to go to. New Orleanswas extremely popular amongst Irish colonials because it was a Catholic settlement and ithad absolutely no British ties. The Irish in New Orleans were very poor, it was hard for them to find jobs andthey were struck hard by an outbreak of yellow fever. People in New Orleans were quickto criticize that the Irish brought the disease with them. Although many Irish became sickand died from the epidemic they became relied upon immensely in the work force, a bigchange from their earlier poverty stricken lives. In 1808 it became illegal to import slaves,so the value of a purchased worker sky rocketed. Farmers did not want their expensive
property to perform the extenuating jobs, so the Irish filled the recently vacant, taxingpositions. Another group of Europeans that immigrated to America were the Italians. TheItalians fit extremely well into the economic system of New Orleans and were essentiallyjust another group of people joining the work force. The Italians arrived in the mid 1800 s and caused no major problems in the community, until they attempted to maintain theirheritage just as the other ethnic groups were attempting. The Italians were Catholic, aswere the rest of the city, but their celebration of a different patron saint caused a fewproblems. When the Italians first began the commemoration of their faith the festivalconflicted with other religious plans and a group of Italians were lynched for this reason in1891. Italy was outraged so the United States, in attempt to avoid was paid a monetarycompensation to the country solving any international problems that may have resulted. A group of non-Europeans in New Orleans were the Africans. Many were broughtagainst their will as slaves, but a few actually immigrated on their own, those who wanteda life in New Orleans. In the beginning years of the city, the first hundred or so, NewOrleans was the safest, fairest place for Negroes to live with even the laxest of lawsimposed on slaves. Slavery was not revered by the entire population as quoted by du LacPerrin (Slavery) the greatest of all necessary evils, as well as to those who endure it, asthose that are obliged to employ its victims . The slaves in New Orleans were given many freedoms. Most slaves were able toeventually purchase their own freedom, some slaves were even bought and used under anidea much like the concept of indentured servants. Slaves were given Sundays, holidays,and other religious feasts off. On their commitment free days, slaves could work forthemselves, those that saved wisely could buy their freedom, not an uncommonoccurrence. Also, to assure the well being of slaves, only people who could afford toproperly feed, cloth, and house them were allowed to by them, those that were unable tocover the costs of these duties could not legally secure a slave. Africans became very populous in the New Orleans area. Many free blacks ownedproperty and prospered, especially in New Orleans. Out of fear in 1788 when slaves andfreed coloreds outnumbered the white population, Spain instituted the Code Noir. Thecode was drafted and written by Beinville in 1724 because as slave was considereddangerous because he was deprived of the privileges and ambitions that could be relied onto restrain free men. The Code Noir stated that slaves were to be taught the Catholicreligion, they were to have Sundays and church feasts off, interracial marriages wereforbidden among slaves, no slave was to carry a weapon, and slaves of different masterswere not to socially congregate. Although slavery was better in New Orleans than in other areas of the south,slavery was not a humane option. In 1792 a slave by the name of Toussain L Overter leada revolt with his master s and a few other masters slaves. The revolt was profoundlyunsuccessful, but left a lasting impression on the citizens. Local beliefs on slaves changedin many people s eyes, fear and suspicion grew and they wanted to decrease freedom forthe slaves so another revolt would not occur. The local government increased restrictive slave laws. The slave trade in NewOrleans became increasingly vicious until, ultimately, in the early 1830 s and 40 s newOrleans was the slave emporium of the country. Slave auctions and sales became dailyoccurrences. Slave retail became an industry, windows show cased auctions and slavesthemselves lined the streets. Even the rights of immigrant Negroes and freed Negroesregressed in the 1840 s and 50 s. Finally, in the 1900 s the implication of the Jim Crowlaws took away Negro rights to vote, have acceptable housing, beneficial education, andproper employment. In a city with so many ethnic groups and varying cultures, each to which religion isextremely important he differences need to be addressed. The religion of the colonistsgreatly effects the aura of New Orleans today, each one dutifully followed traditions andcelebrations that became part of the New Orleans culture. The religions, integrate,conflict, yet still manage to compliment each other in unique and interesting ways. The originally and most widely followed religion in New Orleans was Catholic. When the fur traders arrived in America, they were not considered very religious, almostregarded as faithless, but they had been raised in the Catholic faith. Once families beganto form in the colony, Catholicism prevailed. The Germans quickly founded a church, upon their arrival, called Saint Mary sAssumption. The language used for services for services caused problems for the Frenchand American members. Sermons were given in all three languages until 1871 when theGermans built a church of their own entitled the Mater Solorose. Other language barriersformed in he churches for the Irish and Italian settlers. In 1883 two more Catholicchurches were constructed. Both churches were run by the Redemptionist Brothers,which was not a religious society, but members of the congregation were involved with itsactivities. Settlers from Ireland and Italy had grand celebrations for the patron saints theyworshipped, Saint Patrick and Saint Joseph respectively. Saint Patrick s Day is celebratedon March 17. The holiday was first celebrated in 1809 with parades, festivals and picnics. The Irish were proud of their holiday and boasted it throughout the community. In the 1840 s, Italian settlers began to celebrate Saint Joseph s Day. The Italianshad magnificent vigils and built extravagant alters to Saint Joseph. They promised if theyreached their destination safely they would annually build an alter in praise to him. Thecelebration of Saint Joseph occurs two days after the celebration of Saint Patrick. Thecelebrations became a competition and the festivals became larger, until, finally, theybecame a reason to lengthen the carnival, the celebratory period before lent. The Catholic religion has many ceremonies and traditions that are practiced withinthe churches. An extremely important religious festival in new Orleans was the Carnival. The Carnival has been celebrated since the foundation of the city. Originally called by theFrench, Carnelevament, literally putting up the meat the festival was shortened to Carnival by the American settlers. Integrated into the theme of Carnival is thecelebration of Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) which marks the end of Carnival season. Carnival lasts from the Twelfth Night until Mardi Gras. Carnival was celebrated loudly by the entire population of New Orleans. Duringthe 18the century, Mardi Gras in New Orleans was the occasion for masked balls andparades. In the beginning the balls and parades were confined to Shrove Tuesday, as thefestival grew, parades, balls, and general parties lengthened to fill the weeks. Taradesgenerally begin the week before lent. There are several parades around town throughoutthe week, but there are more and more on the Saturday and Sunday before Lent. Today,Carnival is celebrated by people all over the country who travel to New Orleans for theevent. Another religious group to be discussed in New Orleans are the pagan beliefsfollowed by the Negroes. Throughout American history Europeans gave repetitiveattempts on the Africans to convert them to Christian religions, but a few maintained thepagan beliefs from their homelands. The Africans also experienced many short livedreligions that were avidly followed, but fizzled after a few short months. The Africans began attending Catholic churches in New Orleans. At the height oftheir passion a group called the Free Negro Elite emerged in the Catholic setting. Thisgroup believed themselves to be above many people because they worked for theirfreedom and because they were religious people. The group was bolstered from Catholicchurches. In 1848 ten elitists founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Thechurch became extremely popular and well attended. Aside from Christian religions a few Negroes followed the religion of Voodoo. Voodoo is still extremely popular in some Southern areas of the country. The belief wasthat possession by spirits is possible and if the spirit possesses you, you have reached theheight of religion. Followers of Voodoo do not believe in reincarnation, but they dofollow the belief of worship of ones ancestors. The experiences predecessors had and theinformation they received could be possessed by anyone who worshipped them. Thereligion was probably introduced by the immigrants from San Domingo. There are many types of people in New Orleans, and many types of peoplethroughout America. It is complicated to see how the different groups interact with eachother. By analyzing a small area of the country which is extremely diverse, yet unified thepeople of the United States can see how well we all can work and live together.