An engaging exploration of the political, cultural, and economic influences that shaped post-Reconstruction New Orleans, this comprehensive history discusses a range of topics, from the politics of mayoral races including the story of the “Mafia” slaying of Police Chief David Hennessy in 1890 to the development of the Carnival and Mardi Gras traditions still prevalent in New Orleans today. In an effort to help fill the void surrounding this period, Joy J. Jackson places New Orleans in the context of the New South as she examines the city’s unique historical attributes.
In the North, the Gilded Age was a time of prosperity and big industrial business, but this period in the Southern states was a time of adjustment to industrialization and away from slave labor. Jackson addresses issues typical to large Southern cities like Atlanta and Savannah, including political fraud, violence, and manipulation of the black vote. She further delves into the novel qualities of New Orleans, such as the influence of writers like George Washington Cable upon the image of the city as “romantic” and the growing popularity of jazz and organized sports. Complete with an index and appendix roster of city officials from 1880-1896, the book draws upon numerous sources ranging from archives, library collections, and public documents to city guides and newspapers.