New Orleans Public Library
|Administrations of the Mayors of New Orleans|
Augustin de Macarty (1744-1844)
Augustin Francois de Macarty who was elected the sixth Mayor of the City of New Orleans, without opposition, on Sept. 4, 1815, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, January 10, 1774. He was the son of Augustin Guillaume de Macarty and Jeanne Chauvin de Lery, members of an ancient and highly honored southern family, allied by marriage to one of the last Spanish governors, Don Estevan Rodriguez Miro.|
His father, a Chevalier de Saint Louis, was born in New Orleans on May 5, 1745.
On April 17, 1786, he entered the first company of the King’s Mousquetaires, but, longing for his native land, he returned to New Orleans and married Jeanne Chauvin de Lery, by whom he had two sons, Augustin Francois born in New Orleans January 10, 1774, and Jean Baptiste, also born in New Orleans in 1776.
Augustin de Macarty’s son, Lewis Barthelmy Macarty, served as Secretary of State under Governor Claiborne in 1812, another interesting member of this aristocratic family was his aunt, Mademoiselle Jeanne de Macarty, whose vast plantations just above the city, ultimately became the site of the suburban town of Carrollton, and whose fortunes he inherited.
The term of Augustin Francois de Macarty was signalized by an outbreak of a disease, now known as Yellow Fever. It is believed that this epidemic was brought from Havana. In the year 1817 the mortality caused by this scourge was 1142 in five months. An important result of this visitation was the creation of the first Board of Health, in 1817. It is also on record that this mayor dumped the first incoming shipment of ice into the river because he feared it would cause
consumption among the citizens. On May 7, 1816 a crevasses occurred six miles above New Orleans and the land between the City and the Faubourg St. Marie was overflowed as far as Chartres Street, giving the appearance of a lake. A considerable portion of the downtown section of the city was overflown.
In 1819, a form of quarantine was instituted by proclamation of the Governor of the State, and a Registrar appointed for the Parish of Orleans to compile statistics appointed for the Parish of Orleans to compile statistics of births and deaths. This had formerly been done by the clergy. An ordinance was passed to grant a license for the opening of a theatre; tickets to be sold only in proportion to the seating capacity. Probably no other city in the United States was more enthusiastic over the stage than New Orleans. In 1791 a company of French players, refugees from Santo Domingo, arrived in the city and performed in tents and empty buildings. When the St. Peters Street Theatre was erected in 1808, this company gave as their first performance in this new building, “Prince Tekeley.”
New Orleans’ second theatre was the St. Philip Street Theatre and in 1818 John Davis, the first impresario who brought a French Opera Troupe to the city, applied to the mayor for a loan of $12,000 to complete his theatre (The Orleans Theatre) - This request was finally granted. New Orleans was indebted to Mr. Davis for one of the most handsome theatres in the United States and which was famous for more than half a century. The cost of this theatre was $180,000.
In March, 1819, the city entered into a contract with Benjamin H. B. Latrobe, for the erection of a waterworks system run by steam. It may be interesting to mention that at that time the city received a donation from John Gravier for a market place, the square now bounded by St. Charles, Camp, Poydras and Girod Streets.
From 1815 to 1820 the population increased from 33,000 to 41,000. People came from all parts of the Union and from every country in Europe. “New Orleans was now on the threshold,” says Mr. John Smith Kendall in his History of New Orleans, “of an era of great prosperity so long predicted as the consequence of her location and so well suited to accumulate wealth and power.”
On November 23, 1817, after a long and painful illness, Hon. William Charles Cole Claiborne, who led Louisiana through a hectic decade as its first American Governor and one of the most glamorous figures in Louisiana History, passed to the great beyond. Shortly before his death, he was elected Senator to the Senate of the United States; but death prevented him from taking this office.
To the period of Macarty and Roffignac Administrations belongs the development of the “American Quarter,” this part of the city being situated outside of the “Vieux Carre,” or French Settlement.
Macarty served with distinction at the Battle of New Orleans, which was fought near his own lands below the city. It was in his plantation home, about four miles below New Orleans, General Jackson established his field headquarters.
Augustin de Macarty died October 16, 1844, at the age of 70, and the illustrious Creole name, De Macarty, has become only a memory in New Orleans. His funeral took place at 4 o’clock P. M. on October 16, 1844 from his residence on Camp St., between Delord (Howard Ave.) and St. Joseph Sts.
|Members of the Macarty Administration|
September 4, 1815-May 13, 1820
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