Leon Godchaux, a Jewish immigrant from the Alsace-Lorraine region of France, got his start by the 1840s as a peddler, selling needles, thread, and other dry goods up and down the Mississippi River. He soon opened a store on Canal Street, Godchaux’s, selling dry goods and men’s clothing, the profits from which allowed him to purchase a large sugar plantation and several sugar mills. In 1892 Leon Godchaux’s descendents built a new “skyscraper-style” store at the corner of Canal and Chartres Streets. They soon began expanding the merchandise to include women’s clothing and household goods. 

Godchaux’s, 527–37 Canal Street

between 1920 and 1923; gelatin silver print

by Charles L. Franck Photographers

The Charles L. Franck Studio Collection at The Historic New Orleans Collection, 1979.325.1642