Louisiana Division
New Orleans Public Library

WPA Materials at the New Orleans Public Library

WPA workers were employed on a number of projects in the New Orleans City Archives, then an agency of the Mayor's Office. In 1946 the city shifted responsibility for the Archives to the New Orleans Public Library. Materials produced by the WPA were transferred to the Library along with the original records housed in the Archives and the city's extensive collection of original newspapers.

  • Newspaper Indexes
    • Card Index of Vital Statistics, 1836- --an index to newspaper obituaries/death notices to which NOPL staff added existing biographical indexes. Continued by NOPL staff through 1972; now known as the Biography/Obituary Index.
    • Events Index, 1836- --an index of events reported in the local newspapers. Has many gaps in coverage. Continued by NOPL staff through 1963; now known as the Louisiana News Index.
    • Concert Programs of New Orleans, 1838-1923--5 typewritten volumes with transcriptions of programs that appeared in local newspapers. Also includes some "editorial comment."

    [View a sample Louisiana News Index card]

  • City Archives
    • Cabildo Records--Spanish transcriptions and English translations of the five original Spanish manuscript volumes of the Acts and Deliberations of the Cabildo, 1769-1803. Also a one-volume Digest of the Acts comprising abstracts of entries in the original records, arranged by subject and including an index. All of the WPA Cabildo materials are available on microfilm for reference use at NOPL as well as for interlibrary loan and/or purchase.
    • Conseil de Ville Records--translations of the official proceedings of the Conseil de Ville, 1803-1829 (18 v.), the ordinances and resolutions passed by the Conseil de Ville, 1805-1835 (21 v.), and messages received from the Mayor, 1805-1836 (17 v.) All of these translations are available on microfilm for reference use at NOPL as well as for interlibrary loan and/or purchase.
    • General Council and First Municipality Council--portions of the minutes and proceedings, the ordinances and resolutions, and the messages received from the Mayor by the First Municipality Council, 1836-1852, were translated by WPA workers, as was an 1845 inventory of the archives made by the clerk of the General Council. The Mayor's messages to the General Council, 1836-1845, were also translated; all are available on microfilm except for the 1845 inventory which is available online at http://home.gnofn.org/~nopl/inv/ab3201.htm.
    • Office of the Mayor--two volumes of the Mayor's messages to the Councils, 1840-1852, were translated as was a volume of indenture records kept by the Mayor, 1809-1814. All three volumes have been microfilmed.
    • Miscellaneous Spanish and French records of New Orleans, 1789-1816--transcriptions of the original documents and English translations, each series in four volumes, are available. Neither series has been microfilmed.
    • Other City Archives Records--various indexes to changes in street names and numbers, indexes to ordinances, indexes to ordinances, franchises & grants for railroads, street railways, light, gas and telephone service, and lists of newspapers in the archives collection.

  • Photographs
    • Negatives--ca. 7000 4" x 5" negatives recording the work of various WPA projects in New Orleans. Approximately 10% have contact prints attached to the negative envelopes. Many of the photographs are identified by project, place, and date through notes on the negative envelopes. Among the projects represented: art, archives, drainage, education, the lakefront, the U.S. Naval Base, nursing, City and Audubon Parks, paving, and public buildings.
    • Prints--3 cu. ft. of 8" x 10" prints are also available. Most were probably made from the negatives described above, but there are also a number of prints for various projects outside the city limits. Of special interest are several prints showing President Franklin Roosevelt during his visit to the Crescent City in 1937.
    • National Youth Administration for Louisiana--a scrapbook with photographs showing various activities around the state, 1938.

[View a sample contact print]

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