Images of the Month Gallery
October 2002
What did New Orleans look like 160 years ago? This month's gallery provides a look at fifteen of the city's most important buildings as they were pictured and described in the 1842 city directory. The full title of that work, published by Pitts & Clarke, is New-Orleans Directory for 1842, comprising the names, residences and occupations of the merchants, business men, professional gentlemen and citizens of New-Orleans, Lafayette, Algiers and Gretna together with historical notices of the State of Louisiana, the City of New Orleans, the charitable institutions, the officers of the municipalities, of judiciary, of justice, of legislation and commerce, the Masonic order, the banks, the asylums, the churches, with descriptions of public edifices, hotels, theatres, a record of the victims of the epidemic of 1841, and the details of the general business of the City of New-Orleans. The publishers were quite proud of their work, noting in its introduction that, "They flatter themselves that the Directory now presented to the public far exceeds in value any one ever before printed in the city--containing more statistical and historical matter, as well as a larger mass of descriptions and views of public and noted private edifices." Unfortunately, New Orleans Public Library's copy of the directory is marred by rather heavy stains on most of its pages. While these stains detract from the clarity of the images displayed in this gallery, they do not prevent us from getting a sense of the city's grandeur those many years ago.

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