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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November 24, 2021
By Xiomara Blanco, Eli A. Haddow, and Jason Wiese

Maps are more than visual representations of landscapes and geographic features; they’re also storytellers. Cartographers imprint their views of the world on the maps they make, leaving significant messages in tiny details.




November 19, 2021
By Cathe Mizell-Nelson

Were our ancestors glued to the mail like we are glued to our phones? The wealth of postcards with pedestrian information suggests that they may have been.




October 29, 2021
Nick Weldon, editor

A mysterious illness took the life of Oscar Dunn, the first Black man to serve as a lieutenant governor in US history. Now, 150 years later, we look back at the circumstances of his death and whether is was murder.




October 27, 2021
By Nick Weldon, editor

Norbert Rillieux patented the process of sugar refinement changed the industry, but the free man of color faced racist discrimination from the government and clients.




October 15, 2021
By Dave Walker, communication specialist

Author John Ed Bradley recalls meeting artist John Clemmer and opening a door into the world of 20th-century New Orleans art.




October 8, 2021
By Molly Reid Cleaver, editor

The full extent of the storm’s impact on coastal demographics remains to be seen, but for Louisiana’s indigenous people, it’s another wave in a long saga of forced migration and environmental adaptation going back hundreds of years.




September 27, 2021
By Lydia Blackmore, Sarah Duggan, and Mallory Taylor

Damage from fire, water, or other natural disasters can ruin possessions and memories. Here are a few tips to rescue damaged items, and advice on when to seek professional help.




September 24, 2021
By Dave Walker, communication specialist

To get the inside story of brass bands and second lines, we talked to THNOC's own Douane Walpes, who tells us what it's like to play for the clubs and second liners on the streets.




September 15, 2021
By Eli A. Haddow, marketing associate

After Hurricane Ida, we spoke with a climatologist to grasp the differences between the two monster hurricanes and compare them with other cataclysmic storms in Louisiana history




August 27, 2021
By Molly Reid Cleaver, editor

Life in the colony of Mobile was precious, so why did Bienville, the de facto ruler, slash the salary of the only Midwife?




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