History is an evolving story. Here at The Historic New Orleans Collection, we gather, research, and share artifacts from New Orleans’ many stories, weaving together the people, places, and events that connect us to the city. First Draft gives readers inside access to our vast institutional holdings and staff expertise in a fresh and dynamic way. Read the latest stories below, or scroll down to browse by theme.


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February 14, 2020
By Lydia Blackmore, decorative arts curator

Mardi Gras as we know it began in New Orleans in the second half of the 19th century, and the mythology that krewes chose for their parade themes reflects larger stylistic and sociopolitical currents of the time.




February 12, 2020
By Jenny Schwartzberg, curator of education

The Freedmen's Bureau was established, in part, to provide for the education of African American children. Records show that demand for that service was often too much for the system to handle.




February 6, 2020
By Aimee Everett, curator

During Reconstruction, Williams became actively involved in the fight for equity in education and the rights of African American women.




February 4, 2020
By Eric Seiferth, curator/historian

In 1950's and '60s New Orleans, the Congress of Racial Equality used nonviolent tactics to press for racial equality guaranteed under federal law.




January 27, 2020
By Eric Seiferth, curator/historian

Brass bands sprang up in the mid 19th century by playing the popular music of the day. Since then, local bands have incorporated jazz, funk, bebop, and hip hop into their repertoires. 




January 10, 2020
By Robert Ticknor, reference associate

The Baroness de Pontalba survived gunshot wounds and left her husband in France before constructing two of New Orleans's most iconic structures.




December 30, 2019
By Eli A. Haddow, marketing associate

In 1997, a THNOC employee found a bullet in a courtyard that was fired into the air on New Year's Eve. The discovery came during a particularly fraught time in the history of New Year's celebrations in New Orleans.




December 27, 2019
By THNOC Staff

Looking back, we learned a lot this year about everything from peacocks, to a Catholic saint, to the Grateful Dead.




December 9, 2019
By Eli A. Haddow, marketing associate

Though a local school is named for him, Isidore Newman's cultural contributions to New Orleans are much further reaching.




November 22, 2019
By Nick Weldon, associate editor

Already a fixture in the South, Reverend Benjamin Palmer gained national fame—he went viral, in an 1860 sense—just as Southern states were deciding how to respond to Lincoln’s election. 




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