Images of the Month Gallery
November 2002
Jewell's Crescent City Illustrated was published by Edwin L. Jewell in 1873. Its subtitle -- The Commercial, Social, Political and General History of New Orleans, including Biographical Sketches of its Distinguished Citizens -- suggests its lofty purpose and scope. The volume presents a panoramic view of New Orleans not long after the Civil War and not least among its "jewels" are the engravings it includes of people and places in the Crescent City. The volume itself says nothing about the source of these engravings, but LSU's Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections contains a prospectus Jewell wrote for his project, including original photographs by Theodore Lilienthal. It is these photographs that apparently appear as (at least some of the) engravings in the published volume. A selection of the engravings is featured in this month's gallery.

Edwin L. Jewell, a life-long journalist, was born in Pointe Coupée Parish in 1836. His father was the editor and proprietor of the Pointe Coupée Echo, and Jewell learned his profession at the Echo, taking over the management of the paper after his father's death. In 1862, when federal troops invaded Pointe Coupée, Jewell fled to Port Hudson, where, during the seige of the fort, he published the Port Hudson News. After the surrender of the fort, he returned to Pointe Coupee and continued to edit the Echo until 1865, when he came to New Orleans.

In New Orleans, Jewell established a new, short-lived paper, the Southern Star, which folded after only a year. In 1866, he and a partner revived the Commercial Bulletin, purchasing the type and presses of the old Delta. He was also elected state senator for the fourth district. Jewell was also one of the founders of the City Item and was at one time employed by the States. Shortly before his death, he became an index clerk of Congress and seved in that position for two sessions.

In addition to Jewell's Crescent City Illustrated, Jewell also compiled the city ordinances and laws and published them as Jewell's Digest. He was revising the digest at the time of his death, of consumption, on November 29, 1887, aged 51.

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