August is Katrina Month in New Orleans.August 29, 2014, will mark the ninth
anniversary of the storm, the flood, and one of the worst disasters in American
Creative and informative writing on Katrina continues to
be published and collected by the library, and especially by the Louisiana
Tulane University president Scott Cowen has written a scholarly memoir of his presidency
which strongly focuses on the disaster and continuing recovery of the
university and the city.Copies are
held in the main Howard-Tilton stacks as well as in LaRC:
Cowen, Scott S.The inevitable city : the resurgence of New
Orleans and the future of urban America / Scott Cowen, with Betsy Seifter ;
foreword by Walter Isaacson.First
edition.New York, NY : Palgrave
HT177.N49 C69 2014
Jones Hall Louisiana Research Collection
HT177.N49 C69 2014
Rather than simply taking credit for his own personal leadership
during the aftermath of the storm, Scott
Cowen carefully describes a wide variety of examples of individuals and groups
who contributed to the direction of recovery.He doesn’t rewrite the painful and divisive conditions of the
“In my seven
pre-Katrina years in New Orleans, I was, in a way, a tourist.But since Katrina, I feel more like I’m “from
here.”I’ve become engaged with
everything New Orleans—the music, the food, the artists, the history; the
hurricane parties, the Mardi Gras floats, the smell of jasmine, the glitter of
the river.I’ve met remarkable people,
like the late Jefferson Parish sheriff Harry Lee, who figured out how to get
Tulane’s database files out of a downtown building when the city was under martial
law, and like Quint Davis, the mastermind and producer of the New Orleans Jazz
and Heritage Festival, who almost singlehandedly brought the city’s music—everything
from the Mardi Gras Indians’ chants to Professor Longhair’s blues—to national
prominence.And then there’s Bob
Breland, my regular cabdriver, whose colorful turns of phrase, careening sense
of humor, and encyclopedic mind for city detail remind me of Ignatius from John
Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces.”
“It’s tempting to
blame everything on Ray, but circumstances shape things more than we like to
think.The troubled racial history of
the town inevitably surfaced after Katrina, and if it hadn’t been Ray with his
chocolate city speech, it would undoubtedly have been someone else stirring the
pot.At the same time, character
matters.Leadership matters.Our job as civic leaders was to work with the
difficult realities, including the realities of racial distrust, political
dissension, and the traumatic effects of loss and dislocation.” – p. 38.
“Urban revitalization requires leaders, both
direct and indirect, who are committed to both the daily grind and the
visionary goal.In the end, the resurgence
of New Orleans is the result of people who took responsibility and took charge,
of leaders from all over who did the work and found the means to achieve what
looked like an impossible goal.And once
again in its long, dramatic history, New Orleans has proved itself to be the
inevitable city.”–p. 217.
Samuel H. Lockett
(1837-1891) was an engineer and professor of engineering, who worked in
an official capacity with the United States, and during the American
Civil War, with the Confederate States. He conducted a topographic
survey of the state of Louisiana from 1869 to 1872.
The Samuel H. Lockett manuscripts (LaRC Manuscripts Collection 826) consists of handwritten descriptive text and illustrations of two works by Samuel H. Lockett. Included in the collection are: Louisiana as it is (1873-1874); and The coast of Louisiana (undated). The second work
is also included as a bound typescript. Throughout the first
manuscript are small hand-drawn sketches of Louisiana scenes, and
edited clipped proofs for possible publication; photographs are grouped together in a folder. A
handwritten sheet listing an 1870 population table by parish and race, derived from the federal census, is an informative addition to the description of the state's natural topography and geography.
This collection will be useful to environmental scientists interested in the changes in the Louisiana coast over time, as well as to historians, cultural researchers, and students of Louisiana in the visual arts.
Caption: mounted photographs from Manuscripts Collection 826, Box 1, Folder 8. Images of items held in the Louisiana Research Collection may not be re-published without permission.
Today marks the 70th anniversary of D-Day, when Allied Troops landed on the beaches of Normandy in an invasion that ultimately turned the tide of the Second World War. The Louisiana Research Collection preserves the papers of Murrel H. Kaplan, who served in the Army Medical Corps at the 64th General Hospital in Italy during World War II. In this letter to his wife, penned while listening to the radio broadcast of the battle, Kaplan recounts his and his fellow Medical Corps officers' experience of the event, as well as his eagerness for the war to end.
6 June '44 Dearest, Today is a memorable day. it is never to be forgotten. The invasion across the channel began, which is a long way for saying that it marks the beginning of the end of Hitlerism. It significances, altho manifold, is interpreted as having but one meaning -- that soon this European conflict will be over, and we will be on our way home to our loved ones. Since early this morning, all ears have been glued to the radio, even tho we knew that there would be nothing to say about the first day's fighting. It just sounded so wonderful to hear the announcer read Gen'l Eisenhower's order of the day. The repetition, instead of becoming boring, served the opposite effect, for the reality of such a long awaited event had to be driven home. As you can well visualize, the joy of this excitement was so great that hardly anyone could get any work done. The frequent consultations, the comparison of notes and of words made each of us forget for the moment that we were thousands of miles away. We could only pinch ourselves to make sure we weren't dreaming. Oh darling, this war will be over soon, and we will be together again. Because I felt that I was of no value today on my ward, I decided to go back to Maj. Holabaugh and let him check me. He found everything quiescent, which pleased me as usual. he thanked me for the compact you sent his wife. he appreciated it very much for it was only a small way of finding out how grateful I've been for all his attention. Last night, I saw Wallace Beery in "Rationing." it was a typical picture, with a few laughs and a lot of slap-stick comedy. tonight it was Bing Crosby in "Star Maker." Altho it was an old show, I enjoyed it thoroughly. movies always fascinate me. It add so so much to this otherwise drab existence. There was very little mail today. i am sure the boys at the A.P.O. took off a half day to listen to the news. I don't blame them; I would have too! Please excuse this rotten letter, but it has been an exhausting day. My sweetheart, I feel so happy, I could shout aloud. The invasion has actually taken place! We are that much nearer to being together. Gosh, how I love and adore you - and how I miss you. Love to the fallen, my heart to you, Your Sweetie
Posted by Samantha Bruner
Cornelia Dean Genella
Sansum (1868-1960) and her her husband, Samuel Sansum (1858-1945), a
lawyer, lived at 1636 Constantinople Street in New Orleans during the
twentieth century. Mrs. Sansum's mother was Mary Louise Kennedy
(1836-1899). Cornelia and Samuel Sansum were married in 1902.
Mrs. Sansum donated her rather small amount of personal papers to the library in 1950, and they are held in the Louisiana Research Collection as Manuscripts Collection 586. This collection
consists of handwritten correspondence, affectionate birthday greetings from Sam to Cornelia, a business
card, a calling card, advertisements, their marriage announcement, a reception invitation, Samuel Sansum's 1918 certificate of naturalization, and
Cornelia Sansum's small prebound datebook into which she wrote birth,
death, and marriage dates of some of her relatives. Names represented include
members of the Sansum, Genella, and Kennedy families of Louisiana and
late 1940s, when Mrs. Sansum was elderly, she held her own birthday
parties at her grand home. Gathered from twenty-first century research interviews, John Kennedy Toole biographer, Cory MacLauchlin,
relates in Butterfly in the Typewriter, that as an adolescent, Toole attended Mrs. Sansum's birthday
parties, where he was required to recite poems for her, and a friend of his performed piano sonatas. Afterward, the young people enjoyed cookies and petits-fours, and would have fun riding up and down in Mrs. Sansum's elevator.
John Kennedy Toole
may have been related to Cornelia Sansum, as they shared the ancestral
name of Kennedy, which is the maiden name of the author's mother's
grandmother. It seems probable that the young Toole might have been sent to these parties of an aging great-aunt, as a family obligation. Also, it seems more than a coincidence that Constantinople Street in New Orleans figures prominently in
Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces, although we imagine that the fictional Ignatius Reilly and his mother lived down on the other side of Saint Charles Avenue.
Captions: the naturalization certificate of Samuel Sansum;
a notation in Cornelia Sansum's datebook: Born ... 1840, John Kennedy, Biloxi, Miss.
Butterfly in the Typewriter by Cory MacLauchlin is available in LaRC with call number:
PS 3570 .O54 C666 2012 LACOLL.
Another copy is located in the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library main stacks.
Images of items in the Louisiana Research Collection may not be republished without permission.
Above is a translation and transcription of an unattributed wartime letter, written in French,
presumably by a member of the American de Marigny family of New Orleans, during World War I.
These documents are in the de Marigny family papers, LaRC Manuscripts Collection 416, Box 1, Folder 4.
The French original in the collection is itself a handwritten copy.
Text of the letter's typed translation, from French into English:
I am returning from the trenches/ where I suffered greatly/ I remained 48/ hours in muddy water/ up to my stomach, under a/ very violent firing from German cannons/ For a rest,/ we stay in the cellars/ of a ruined village,/ bombarded night and day./ Dead bodies everywhere a/ stench, it's a little like hell, nevertheless/ our troops an excellent morale,/ nothing seems to affect them. This was/ is a massacre with/ all the refinements of/ cruelty that human intelligence/ has been able to discover./ The flooded lands where/ we have worked are/ a frightening picture/ of desolation/ here and there/ - some ruins emerge from the water/ everywhere are half-sunken dead bodies which the pigs and crows/ fight over all day./ Along with that the continual rain/ and the freezing sea wind/, all full of sand/ which sticks to one's lips/ and makes one thirsty. - Fatigue/ and lack of everything/ make us sluggish/. One finally can not suffer/ because one has suffered too much.-/ The men never complain/ they are heroes/ the Germans moreover are in worse/ shape than we - this is what consoles us./ The food provisioning/ is done/ perfectly and we are/ never hungry.
Images of items in the Louisiana Research Collection may not be re-published without permission.
The Louisiana Research Collection has recently acquired the
records of the First Unitarian Church of New Orleans. Among First Church’s
records are the papers of Reverend Albert D’Orlando, who was a vocal Civil
Rights activist in the 1960s. Reverend D’Orlando was especially active in the fight
for the integration of New Orleans public schools. Below is a letter
co-authored by Rev. D’Orlando and Charles Foster, the president of the church’s
Board of Trustees, which describes the church’s the efforts to support the families of children attending
integrated schools, as well as teachers and protesters during this turbulent
period in New Orleans’s history.
January 4, 1961
Brotherhood itself is on trial
today in New Orleans. At stake here is the future course of integration itself;
for, it is clear that New Orleans will mark the turning point for or against
further implementation of the Supreme Court Decision.
We are grateful to Unitarians
everywhere who have written us words of encouragement in recent weeks. Your
interest and concern have given us new courage in continuing to grapple as we
have for many years, with a problem that has many ramifications.
You will be glad to know that
from the very beginning, The First Unitarian Church of New Orleans has been very much involved in
this situation. Ours is the only church in the city to have issued a public
statement in support of integrated schools. Moreover, although some voices (a
few clergymen, some businessmen, part of the faculty at Tulane University, and
an independent group of parents) have urge d compliance with the Supreme Court
Decision, our church is the only voice insisting that beyond the legal aspects
of the problem the issue is one that must also be solved on ethical and moral
On the level of direct
participation, many of our members have made outstanding contributions: some
are in positions of responsibility with the S.O.S. (Save Our Schools); others
provided transportation to children attending integrated schools, until this
function was assumed by the Federal Marshalls; and two of our members now face
prosecution (one is charged with criminal anarchy) for having initiated and led
a group in the first down-town “sit-ins”.
We are now entering a period
when Unitarians everywhere can give expression to their long cherished ideals.
This is a time of great tension for New Orleanians; it is marked by a constant
increase in threats, intimidation, vandalism and economic pressure on many
families, particularly on those who continue to send their children to
integrated schools. Meanwhile, a legislature that is almost hysterically
passing new segregation was, has now appointed a Committee on Un-American
Activities to investigate any person who speaks out for integration.
The pressing need here is for
funds which will enable us to keep alive and active the battle for integration.
We must be in a position to do several things, such as; to encourage parents who have not withdrawn their children from school, by helping them through
periods of economic reprisal when they lose their jobs and have their homes
vandalized; to support teachers of integrated schools who are not receiving their
salaries and to encourage other teachers who face the possibility of dismissal
because of their views on the subject; to provide legal counsel for persons
facing prosecution because of having been outspoken or active in bringing about
integration; and, to embark on a program of education designed to relieve
tension and to strengthen those democratic ideals that are now being
To meet these needs, our
Congregation already has established a Special Fund, and invites contributions
to it by all Unitarians. This will be welcome news to many individuals who have
asked us to suggest ways in which they might help. We believe that many other
members and friends of your church will be glad for an opportunity to take
direct and effective action by contributing to this project, and we would
appreciate it if you would pass this information on to them as soon as possible
that our progress may be more quickly implemented.
We will report to you on our
progress and needs, and at the end you will receive a full report on how the
money will have been distributed.
Meanwhile if there should be any balance remaining at that time, this
will be divided equally between the United Unitarian Appeal and the Unitarian
. . . .
A small portion of the First Church’s records are currently
available for research. The finding aid can be viewed here.
The remainder of the collection will be available within the next 2-3 months,
after it has been fully processed.
Samantha Bruner has joined LaRC as our Archives Processing
and Digital Initiatives Associate.
Samantha is a recent graduate of the University of Texas at
Austin’s School of Information. At the iSchool, she focused her studies on
archival management and digital preservation. In Austin she gained experience
in a variety of archival environments, including the Austin Presbyterian
Theological Seminary Archives, the George Bush Library and Museum, and the
Archive of Indigenous Languages of Latin America. Samantha also served on the
board of UT Austin’s chapter of the Society of American Archivists, and helped
organize Archives Week, monthly repository tours, and other events.
In 2010, Samantha graduated from Tulane University with a
Master of Arts in English Literature. During her time at Tulane, Samantha began
working for the Hogan Jazz Archive, where she found her calling as an
archivist. After graduating, she taught elementary level English in Japan
before enrolling in UT Austin’s archival program. Samantha’s scholarly
interests include literary studies, New Orleans history, LGBT history and
social justice, digital preservation, and exhibit curation.
John Kennedy Toole papers, LaRC Manuscript Collection 740, is held by the Louisiana Research Collection, located in Jones Hall on the Tulane University campus. The tour includes a stop at Jones Hall in the late morning.
Posted by Susanna Powers
PLEASE NOTE: As of May 27, the June 7, 2014 tour has been CANCELLED. It may be re-planned in the future.
Miss Renshaw has called to my attention the two fine and very interesting old documents which you have so kindly donated to the library. I want to assure you of our very sincere thanks for your kindness and of our pleasure in being able to add this interesting information to our growing Archives Section.
As you may know, we are now enlarging our collecting enterprises in the manuscript field, and we are anxious to do what we can to assist in the preservation of valuable original documents relating to this region and to facilitate the access which reputable and qualified scholars need to get to this material. This is of course not a new activity of this library, but we hope that its renewed emphasis may result in the proper preservation within the state limits of many valuable but fragile items.
With cordial good wishes of the season, I remain
Yours gratefully and sincerely,
Garland F. Taylor
The Howard-Tilton Memorial Library has long been the recipient of generous archival donations. The library organization and collection development policies have evolved, and the technologies have of course advanced, but this 1946 thank-you note from Librarian Garland F. Taylor, to local donor Marie Odile Delavigne, specifically recognizes the basic missions of preservation and access. In 1950, she donated a larger collection of family documents, now held in the Louisiana Research Collection as Manuscripts Collection 502 (Delavigne family papers, 1803-1946), largely consisting of handwritten French-language correspondence.
Please note that the Schiro Reading Room will be closed Saturday-Monday (May 24-26, 2014) for Memorial Day, as well as Thursday-Saturday (May 29-31, 2014) for the Society of Southwest Archivists annual meeting.
Regular reading room hours are Monday-Friday 10:00-5:00, and Saturday 9:00-1:00. Saturday hours will change to 10:00-1:00 on May 17. It is a good idea to consult the hours page on the LaRC website, for changes and exceptions, whenever planning a visit.
Prison, Johnson’s Island, Ohio, 7th May 1864.
Father’s letter of the 25th
Apr. reached me some days since.There
is no immediate prospect of an exchange of prisoners, so far as I can judge,
although we have a great many rumors pro and con, and both sides are supported
by much testimony.For my own part, I am
always hopeful, but believe nothing, except that every day that passes leaves
one less to be endured.My health
continues as good as could be expected, and I hope to live to see the outside
world, unless previously hung.I am
sorry we see things so differently and that our ideas of right and wrong are so
much opposed on one another: but I am hopeful on that subject also, and
confidently expect to see the day when we shall agree much better, or at least
when our differences will be only on matter of history.I could write quite a sermon on this subject,
and the beauty of charity contrasted with iconoclastic zeal; but I presume you
would never receive it if I did – and perhaps you are as charitable as I am,
after all.I suppose they are fighting
in Virginia today – You are praying for one thing, and other good people are
praying for another.Doubtless all the
prayers are heard, but Providence will order all for the best and defend the
right.I have that much faith, which I
hope you will consider better than none.Much love to all.If I am moved
from here you shall hear from me if possible before I go, whenever it may
Henry Brown Richardson
(1837-1909) was born in Maine, and in 1860 moved to St. Joseph, La., in
Tensas Parish, where he worked as an engineer. He served in the
Confederate Army in the American Civil War, and was captured and held at
Johnson Island in Ohio from 1864-1865. His allegiance was firmly with the CSA; while in a military prisoner-of-war camp, he tried to explain his point of view to his parents, presumably still living in the northeastern United States, in words that would not result in censorship. After the war, he and his wife, Anna Howard
Farrar Richardson (1846-1910), lived in New Orleans, at 1631 Foucher
St., and raised their nine children. Members of allied families lived in
New Orleans into at least the mid-twentieth century. Caption: Farrar, Stamps, and Kempe families papers, 1856-1877 (Manuscripts Collection 493), box 1, folder 3. Other letters written by H. B. Richardson are accessible in this collection, and also in the Richardson family papers, 1897-1961 (Manuscripts Collection 1069). Images of items in the Louisiana Research Collection may not be republished without permission. Posted by Susanna Powers
A tour of JKT’s New Orleans is being organized for June 7, 2014. We
will escape from Baton Rouge! As your guide I will show you the sites
and tell you the stories that inspired A Confederacy of Dunces.
The tour includes a presentation of the Toole Papers at Tulane
University, some of JKT’s favorite French Quarter haunts and a
behind-the-scenes look at the Lucky Dog Warehouse.
Space is limited. Tickets are on sale now through the Manship Theatre. If you have any questions please contact Marti Luke at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Louisiana Research Collection is honored to be a stop on the tour.
Posted by Susanna Powers
PLEASE NOTE: As of May 27, the June 7, 2014 tour has been CANCELLED. It may be re-planned in the future.
The Louisiana Historical Association is holding its annual meeting in Hammond, March 27-29, 2014. This afternoon, Leon Miller (third from left, above) spoke on the topic of digital archives. The session was called "Digital Archives and Louisiana History: A Panel Discussion." Others on the panel were Chris Brown (Centenary College), Laura Lyons McLemore (LSU-Shreveport), and Laura Charney (Digitizing Louisiana's Newspapers Project).
Mary Elizabeth Sanders Family Memorabilia, 1862-1957 (Manuscripts Collection 275) is primarily about the political career of Mary's grandfather, Jared Young Sanders, governor of Louisiana from 1908 to 1912. But Mary Sanders, like many or most individuals and families in Louisiana, preserved Carnival ephemera along with other personal mementos. This will be found especially among the more influential citizens' papers, as they were often participants or royalty in the parades and balls, at some point in their lives.
A rich source for research on New Orleans Carnival, the Louisiana Research Collection holds the massive physical Carnival Collection, 1857- (Manuscripts Collection 900), large selections of which have been digitized in the Louisiana Digital Library, and accessed freely online. But additionally, LaRC's archival collections widely contain Carnival keepsakes from the nineteenth through twenty-first centuries. Searching the library catalog with an advanced search, combining subject keyword "Carnival Louisiana New Orleans" and limiting by type (archival material), you will retrieve a large sample of collections with authentic personal memorabilia from Carnival.
Caption: Keepsakes in Collection 275, Box 1, Folder 3, with ephemera relating to twentieth century events by krewes of Momus, Comus, Hermes, and Proteus. Images of items in the Louisiana Research Collection may not be republished without permission.