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Authors: John B. Garvey,Mary Lou Widmer

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Beautiful Crescent: A History of New Orleans

BOOK: Beautiful Crescent: A History of New Orleans
13.99Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

The oleander was brought from Cuba by the Spanish after the fires of 1788 and 1794 had devastated plant life in New Orleans. It was adopted as the city flower in June 1923. The seal, adopted in 1805 and redesigned in 1852, shows a pair of Indians, the region’s first inhabitants; recumbent Father Mississippi; and an alligator from the swamplands. The flag was accepted by Mayor Martin Behrman on February 9, 1918.



Copyright © 1982, 1984, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1994, 2013

By Kathy Chappetta Spiess and Karen Chappetta

All rights reserved

First edition, 1982

Second edition, 1984

Third edition, 1988

Fourth edition, 1989

Fifth edition, 1991

Sixth edition, 1992

Seventh edition, 1994

First Pelican edition, 2013

The word “Pelican” and the depiction of a pelican are

trademarks of Pelican Publishing Company, Inc., and are

registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Garvey, Joan B., 1929-

Beautiful crescent : a history of New Orleans / by Joan B. Garvey and Mary Lou Widmer ; foreword by Jane Molony. — 1st Pelican ed. / edited and updated by Kathy Chappetta Spiess and Karen Chappetta.

p. cm.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

ISBN 978-1-4556-1742-5 (pbk. : alk. paper) — ISBN 978-1-4556-1743-2 (e-book) 1. New Orleans (La.)—History. I. Widmer, Mary Lou, 1926- II. Spiess, Kathy Chappetta. III. Chappetta, Karen. IV. Title.

F379.N557G37 2012



Printed in the United States of America

Published by Pelican Publishing Company, Inc.

1000 Burmaster Street, Gretna, Louisiana 70053

To Mom and Dad, we miss you both.
And to our brother and sisters.


Beautiful Crescent
is a good short, basic history of New Orleans—and more. We use it as a textbook in training Friends of the Cabildo volunteers. It’s a foundation, a springboard, an appetizer—just enough factual political history, just enough “people” history to tantalize and whet our appetites to delve into the books in the Bibliography. The wonderful lists of governors, mayors, noted personalities, and the chronology make
Beautiful Crescent
an indispensable tool for tour guides—and indeed fun for everyone else who loves New Orleans.


Jane Molony

Training Committee

Friends of the Cabildo


History is a story, and as a story, differs with the story-teller. The story-teller’s point of view becomes the attitude with which the history is related. For this reason, the following chronology is
history of New Orleans, not
history of New Orleans.

We maintain that there is no definitive history, only stories told with more or less documentation. Opinions cannot be documented, nor importance decided, except through a personal approach. Our approach is a “people approach.” We have tried to view the city through the people who came here, some to stay, some to make their mark and then move on. We hope to share with you our view of the development of New Orleans in this narrative.

Joan B. Garvey

Mary Lou Widmer


It is truly a pleasure to be associated with
Beautiful Crescent: A History of New Orleans.
In 2009, we met with Mary Lou Widmer, one of the authors of this book. After many discussions and negotiations, we obtained the rights and the responsibility of keeping this magnificent book on New Orleans history alive.

We’d always considered ourselves knowledgeable about New Orleans and her history. Yet it wasn’t until we began the process of updating this book line by line that we realized how little we really knew about the city of New Orleans.

In addition, while reading and researching the distant and recent pasts, it became apparent that the attitudes, customs, and general doggedness of New Orleanians to celebrate life and to overcome
adversity and disaster and get on with the business of life are engraved in our civic psyche. Long ago, newcomers to the Louisiana colony said with regard to the laissez-faire attitude of the people here, “it was caused by the humidity.” Whether it is in the humidity or in the water, after reading this book and understanding the motives of Bienville, Iberville, and everyone else who formed a community in New Orleans, it is no wonder we have been able to rise above disaster and celebrate the city that we all love.

All New Orleanians and visitors to the area would benefit from becoming familiar with the history of New Orleans, and we don’t believe there is any book with which it is better to do that than through the pages of
Beautiful Crescent.

Kathy Chappetta Spiess

Karen Chappetta

Editors and Updaters

BOOK: Beautiful Crescent: A History of New Orleans
13.99Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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