New Orleans (LA)

Thirty years ago John Howard Griffin, a white Texan, became an itinerant Southern black for four weeks. His account of the experience galvanized the nation.

On a sunny November day in 1959, a tall, brown-haired Texan entered the home of a New Orleans friend. Five days later an unemployed, bald black man walked out. Read more >>

The modern city plays host to conventions and tourists, but it still retains the slightly racy charm that has always made it dear to its natives

Writers have been good to New Orleans, or maybe it’s the other way around. Read more >>

The first settlers marked the borders of their lives with simple fences that grew ever more elaborate over the centuries

Good fences make good neighbors,” wrote Robert Frost, and he meant that fences did more than just enclose space; like his woods and roads, they bounded a social and psychological landscape. Read more >>

The Forgotten Revolutionary Conquistador Who Saved Louisiana

Imagine, for a moment, an alternate ending to the American Revolution. The thirteen rebel colonies sign a peace of exhaustion with Great Britain in 1783. Read more >>

An Inquiry Into the Origins of Jazz

Jazz endures in a special sort of American reserve. Accepted as a part of our national heritage, still it is as if the interior sound of this music prevents most of us from embracing it as fully as we have its derivatives, pop music and rock. Read more >>
People who have never been to New Orleans usually can name several things that it’s famous for (Mardi Gras, jazz, A Streetcar Named Desire , the Superdome, jambalaya, red beans and rice), but they are apt to have only a hazy notion of what the ci Read more >>

IN THE DELTA

The low-lying Delta—six and a half million acres of land rich with soil left by the Mississippi and Yazoo rivers in flood—was first opened to a cotton-hungry world in the mid-1820’s. The price of cotton was high. Read more >>

In the snarled disputes over the Yazoo land claims in 1790 George Washington and an educated Creek chieftain turned out to be the diplomatic kingpins

Shortly past noon on April 30, 1789, a tall, somber man, dressed in a simple brown suit, was inaugurated as the first President of the United States at Federal Hall in New York City. Read more >>

“It is astonishing that the murderous practice of duelling should continue so long in vogue,” said Benjamin Franklin. Yet continue it did, often with peculiarly American variations

Few boys survive their school days without using their fists now and then. If these fights are extemporaneous affairs, fought in the immediate heat of anger, they are little more than animal reflex actions. Read more >>

The city panicked with fear of the Mafia when the police chief was murdered

The lamplight filtering through the haze and drizzle gave the streets of New Orleans an eerie pallor that October night in 1890. Read more >>

A TALE OF RECONSTRUCTION
Of the turbulent career of Pinckney B. S. Pinchback, adventurer, operator, and first black governor of Louisiana. He reminds one powerfully, says the author, of the late Adam Clay ton Powell, Jr.

His name seems pure invention —Pinckney B. S. Pinchback. It sounds so much like pinchbeck , dictionary-defined as “counterfeit or spurious,” that one suspects a joke by political enemies. Read more >>

A lonely, gallant battle fought by the designer of our flag set the stage for Andrew Jackson's victory at New Orleans.

Andrew Jackson won a stunning victory over a veteran British army that would eventually propel him to the White House

On August 24 and 25, 1814, British forces were in full possession of Washington; from August 29 to 31 other forces held Alexandria. From September 11 to 14 they were feeling out the defenses of Baltimore. Then the greater part of them vanished out of sight; once the British ships were over the horizon there was almost no means of knowing where they were and far smaller means of knowing what they intended, for by this time the blockade of the Atlantic Coast was highly effective, and there were few ships to bring in news even of the outside world, certainly not of the movements of the British lleet. No one could even be sure that any further offensive movement was meditated, but it was the duty of the American government to act on the hypothesis that the enemy would attempt to do all the harm possible —and that implied that British movements must be foreseen and guarded against. Read more >>