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The Old French Market

The Old French Market

Circa 1880s-1890s. "The old French Market, New Orleans." Photo by William Henry Jackson. Detroit Publishing Co. glass negative. View full size.


On Shorpy:
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+120 (approx.)

Like the rest of the French Quarter, much of this view is the same today. The buildings on the left side of the image, although altered, are the same. The attached image is the identical perspective from September of 2008.

Ship's Chandlery

Two storefronts, one says "Grocery and Ship Chandlery" the other "Ship Chandlery," the latter phrase indicates they would provision ships with food.

In searching around I found that another grocery and ship's chandlery farther down the street (near the corner of Ursuline's) was involved in a serious explosion in 1895:

"April 6, 1895, Wednesday

Page 2, 644 words

NEW ORLEANS, April 5. -- Five persons were killed and a number were injured by an explosion of powder in the grocery and ship chandlery of Charles J. Salathe, Decatur and Ursuline Streets, early this morning. Following is a list of the dead"

Looking at the PDF of the full article I see that, among the dead, were two "saloon loungers."

French Market: Same but different

This is just up from St. Philip Street, where Decatur & N. Peters Streets split. The "Red Stores" building is at the right.

Seen is a part of the French Market that used to extend upriver a bit further. There used to be several stalls beyond the Morning Call Cafe (now the location of "The Market Cafe" restaurant).

In the Great Depression, the Works Progess Administration did lots of good works in New Orleans, paving streets, building parks and playgrounds, and renovating public buildings. From a historic preservation standpoint, however, the 1930s WPA work on the French Market was a mixed bag. They renovated some of the oldest structures, but also tore down several buildings that were already more than a century old at the time.

The attached photo taken a short distance down and to the right from the William Henry Jackson photo shows WPA workers on North Peters on 5 January 1937; the Morning Call is to the left.

--Infrogmation of New Orleans

Love the French Market

I used to travel to New Orleans in the 1990s, and my employer at the time had a condo in the Quarter for out of town visitors.

I spent a lot of time in the French Market (I didn't patronize the tourist trap bars or gift stores). The market was open 24 hours a day at that time. I brought home a lot of pecans and cajun spices, but passed on the alligator meat offered by one vendor.

Where it's at!

I took a walk down to the French Market this morning and it looks like the photo was taken from the corner of Decatur and St. Phillip streets. Decatur is on the left (I wrongly identified it as Gallatin in an earlier post and that's not the US Mint at the end of the street) and Peters is on the right. Some of the buildings on Decatur are still there and you can line them up to figure out where the photographer was standing.


I'm still trying to figure out exactly where this was, since the area around the French Market has changed a lot in the last 100 years or so. It looks like the street on the left is Gallatin, now French Market Place. The building at the very end of the street is the old U.S. Mint. The street on the right would be Peters, which ran along the river.

High & Dry Groceries

The "Deutsche (German) Grocery" is north (roughly) across the street from the French Market; the French Market is that irregular-shaped long structure in the center of the photo.

Last time I was in New Orleans, 25 years ago, there was at least one long-established grocery store in about that same location.

The French Market is in the high ground area, such as it is, of earliest New Orleans settlement, and probably didn't get flooded after Katrina, although I may be wrong about this.
Almost 50 years ago, I lived on the other side of Canal Street, about two blocks toward Lee Circle from the http://Liberty Theatre, There was also a nearby second theatre; I remember going to both.

Shorpy, thanks for the memories!

Gaslight to Carbon Arc

The Southwestern Brush Electric Light and Power Company had these carbon arc streetlamps up and burning by the end of 1882. The street gas lamp pictured is about 40 years older. There were 400 electric streetlamps powered by 12 generating stations. These were the days of DC municipal power, supplied for streetlights only until Edison came to town in 1886 to provide power for indoor incandescent lamps. I am fascinated by the wires in these old photographs and the eventual "current war" between AC and DC: Westinghouse vs. Edison.

Deutsche Grocery

Apparently the Old French Market had a "Deutsche (German) Grocery." Grocery is, of course, an English word; the German one would be Lebensmittelgeschäft. There must have been quite a number of German-speaking immigrants to make it beneficial use such a sign.

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