It seems natural to usher in the new century by looking
back a hundred years to the dawn of the previous
century. So, this month we present photographs and drawings from a variety of sources published or produced in 1900
-- the common date being the only similarity among the images.
The fact of the matter, however, is that January 1, 1900 was NOT celebrated as the dawn of the 20th century -- not in
Orleans nor elsewhere. Instead, the new century made its debut on January 1, 1901. The first day of 1900 was simply
welcomed like any other new year "in the good, old familiar way," (wrote the Times-Picayune)
"amid the booming of giant crackers, the shrieks of steam whistles, the flash of Roman candles, the burst of rockets, the
clang of bells and the merry toots of tin horns."
The Picayune did invite "leading men and women" of the city to answer the question, "What do you wish this
glad new year?" Among the responses, printed on January 1, 1900, were these: "permanent immunity from disease,"
"money for public works and workers," "good crops and good weather," "betterment of police protection," "the removal
of dirt," "fraternity, brotherly love and righteousness," "good government and good health," "intellectual and moral
light," "an honest and truthful press," "peace and good will," "greater industrial achievement," and, in general, "success
for New Orleans."
These same wishes are no doubt still dear to New Orleanians one hundred years later.