New “French Quarter Renaissance” resources
Now available are new archival guides, digital collections, and online exhibits illuminating the "French Quarter Renaissance." After a period of significant decline, in the 1920s the French Quarter was “rediscovered” by artists and writers romantically emulating the bohemian societies of New York and Paris. They moved into the Quarter, began preserving its historic structures, and spurred the Quarter’s economic revival. Among them were Julius Weis Friend, Ethel Hutson, Genevieve Pitot, Martha Robinson, Lyle Saxon, Natalie Scott, William Spratling, “Pops” Whitesell, and Ellsworth Woodward.
LaRC recently released the first online guides to the papers of Julius Weis Friend, Ethel Hutson, and Martha Robinson. Friend (1894-1962) was the editor of the short-lived but influential literary magazine “The Double Dealer.” It published the major literary figures of its day (Ernest Hemingway, Thornton Wilder, Robert Penn Warren, and others) and was one of the first to publish Faulkner.
Ethel Hutson (1872–1951) was a leading Louisiana suffragist. A native of Baton Rouge, she was an artist, arts administrator, and journalist before being named head of the women’s department at the "New Orleans Item" in 1912. She was active in the Era Club and its offshoot, the Women’s Suffrage Party of New Orleans, for which she served as press officer.
Martha Gilmore Robinson (1888–1981) was a New Orleans civic leader for more than fifty years. Her interests spanned government reform, historic preservation, and theater, and she was one of the founders of Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre. She also founded the Women’s Citizens’ Union, served as president of the state League of Women Voters twice, ran unsuccessfully for the New Orleans City Council in 1954, and was a key figure in blocking the Riverfront Expressway.
LaRC also recently released a new online exhibit of another French Quarter Renaissance figure, Natalie Scott, whose papers LaRC also preserves. Described by Sherwood Anderson as "the best newspaperwoman in America," Scott wrote for the New Orleans States and published several books. In addition to being a leading historic preservationist and one of the founders of Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre, Scott was the only woman to serve in the Red Cross in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. For her service in World War II, she received the Croix de Guerre from the French government.