I’ve compiled a listicle of my favorite historical photos of New Orleans. Through its complex history, New Orleans experienced a series of issues: slavery, war, riots, segregation, hurricanes, etc. I stopped prior to 1980 to keep it as historical as possible. I kept it at 100 to keep it succinct, but there are many more that should belong here so feel free to add any of your favorite photos in the comments section.
- 1850: New Orleans woman and the child she held in slavery.
- 1863: Rebecca, Charley, and Rosa – enslaved children who were not completely considered “white”. They are the offspring of white fathers through two or three generations. To see more photos and read more about them visit this piece.
- 1863: “Branded Slave from New Orleans”. Wilson was branded on his forehead with his owner’s initials with a hot iron.
- ca. 1880: French Market
- 1890: Children play barefoot in the French Quarter.
- 1890: The Clay Monument on Canal Street.
- ca. 1890: Abandoned slave auction block, St. Louis Hotel.
- 1890s: Basin Street, Storyville. Prostitution, gambling, and other usually illegal activities where legalized and regulated in this historic district until its demolition.
- ca. 1900: Pay-day on the levee.
- ca. 1900: Cotton Exchange.
- 1900: Esplanade Avenue.
- 1901: William McKinley giving a speech on the balcony of the Cabildo.
- 1903: High Water at the levee. S.S. Chalmette docked.
- 1903: French Quarter Courtyard.
- 1903: Canal Street.
- 1905: Carondelet Street.
- 1905: Young Mardi Gras revelers.
- ca. 1905: Milk Cart.
- 1906: Torpedo Boats on display along the Mississippi.
- 1906: Elks Place.
- ca. 1906: Chartres Street.
- 1907: Rex Parade.
- 1910: French Opera House.
- ca. 1910: Kids at the French Market.
- 1910: Saint Charles Ave.
- ca. 1910: New Orleans and Mississippi river from Hotel Grunewald (The Roosevelt).
- 1912: Licensed sex worker, Storyville.
- 1913: Group of young workers at the Lane Cotton Mill. Child labor was common in industrial factories.
- 1913: Paperboys.
- 1923: Opening of the Industrial Canal.
- 1925: Organ grinder on Bourbon Street and Ursulines Avenue.
- 1926: Tulane Stadium.
- ca. 1920s: Babe Ruth and Seymour Weiss outside the Roosevelt.
- 1920s: View of St. Louis Cathedral through a balcony.
- 1928: Speeding around Lee Circle.
- 1928: Tulane and Charity Hospitals.
- 1929: Street Car strike results in deaths and the burning of street cars throughout the city. It also gave us the delicious po-boy sandwich.
- 1935: Barber Shop on Bourbon.
- 1936: Liberty Theatre on St. Charles. The first movie theatre in the country.
- 1936: New Orleans house during the Great Depression.
- 1937: President Franklin D. Roosevelt at Antoine’s.
- 1937: Tee-Peeing the Vieux Carré.
- 1930s: Mardi Gras Parade.
- 1930s: A New Orleans street during the Depression.
- 1937: 1937 – Courtyard at 1133-1135 Chartres Street.
- 1938: Mardi Gras revelers.
- 1938: Lafayette Square.
- 1939: Jackson Square.
- 1939: Charity Hospital illuminating New Orleans.
- 1942: Flame throwers on exhibit in New Orleans in the Army War Show.
- 1943: Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel (LCVP) or “Higgins Boats” being constructed at Higgins Industries. “Andrew Higgins … is the man who won the war for us.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower.
- 1943: Line at rationing board for shoes.
- 1944: Italian POWs attend Mass at St. Louis Cathedral.
- 1945: Nazi POWs at work Uptown.
- 1945: Celebrating the end of WWII in the St. Roch neighborhood.
- 1949: The Old Absinthe House.
- 1949: Local native Louis Armstrong maneuvering through a crowd as he makes his way to the entrance as Zulu King.
- 1950s: Pontchartrain Beach – which is in the works to reopen.
- 1953: Waiting for medical care outside “Colored Wing” of Charity Hospital.
- 1955: Segregated Street Car.
- 1956: St. Ann and Royal Street.
- 1950s: Crowded segregated classroom.
- 1957: Claiborne Bridge.
- 1957: Crescent City Connection under construction. At its opening in 1958, the bridge was the longest cantilever bridge in the world.
- Late 1950s: Canal Street.
- 1960: A sit-in at Woolworth’s by members of CORE (Congress of Racial Equality).
- 1960: Federal Marshals escort Gail Etienne to McDonogh, the first school to integrate in the city on November 14, 1960.
- 1960: U.S. Marshals escorted Bridges to and from William Frantz on the first day of integration.
- 1960: Mrs. James Gabrielle, a white mother, walks home with her daughter and police escorts after the first day at an integrated Frantz, despite the rage and jeers of others engaged in a racial boycott.
- 1960: Locals demonstrate against planned desegregation at William Frantz Elementary School on the second day of integration.
- ca. 1960: Street performers.
- 1962: President John F. Kennedy Speaks at City Hall.
- 1962: A white girl follows a black girl down the slide at Thomas J. Semmes school in New Orleans during recess on the second day of integrated classes.
- 1963: Segregated ward for women at the city prison.
- 1963: Civil Rights march from Shakspeare Park to City Hall. New Orleans was a hotbed for the Civil Rights Movement.
- 1963: The mug shot of local native Lee Harvey Oswald after engaging in a scuffle while passing out “Hands Off Cuba” leaflets on Canal.
- 1964: Beatles at City Park.
- 1964: NOPD blocks fan who ran onto the field.
- 1965: Flooding in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans after Hurricane Betsy.
- 1965: View of flooding after Hurricane Betsy as viewed from President Lyndon Johnson’s Air Force One airplane.
- 1965: LBJ lands the night after Hurricane Betsy made landfall.
- 1966: Claiborne Avenue just prior to the I-10 overpass that irretrievably changed the face of the neighborhood.
- 1960s: Second line.
- 1967: Long wait to buy tickets for the first Saints game.
- 1967: First Saints game against the Los Angeles Rams.
- 1969: Tulane, Loyola, UNO students and others protest the Vietnam War.
- 1970: Tom Dempsey kicks a then-record 63 yard field goal. Dempsey was born with only half a foot. (Photo taken by Times-Picayune photographer G.E. Arnold)
- 1970: A young David Duke picketed a speech at Tulane wearing full Nazi regalia and carrying a placard which said “Gas the Chicago 7” (referring to leftist activists).
- 1970: New Orleans police officers try to keep their heads down as they move in on a Black Panther headquarters during an exchange of gunfire in New Orleans.
- 1970s: St. Roch Market.
- 1971: One Shell Square under construction and clearing the way for the Superdome.
- 1972: Superdome under construction. (Photo taken by Times-Picayune photographer G.E. Arnold)
- 1973: A police officer checks the pulse of fellow officer who died of a head wound as police and bystanders come under sniper fire from the Howard Johnson hotel. (Photo taken by Times-Picayune photographer G.E. Arnold)
- 1973: A dead Mark Essex riddled with bullets atop the Howard Johnson hotel (Holiday Inn). Essex had shot 19 people, including 10 policemen.
- 1973: The charred remains of Rev. Bill Larson clinging to a window of the UpStairs Lounge, a gay bar set on fire killing 32. You can read more about the event here.
- 1976: Dancers at Jazz Fest.
- 1976: Black men mockingly applaud one of the last major KKK parades in the city.
- 1977: One of the first major gay rights parades in New Orleans.
- 1978: Muhammad Ali playfully spars with a youth on Canal Street.
- 1979: NOPD went on strike for an improvement in working conditions and higher pay. Mardi Gras parades were cancelled.
Hope you enjoyed them! Most of these photos are in the public domain. If you have any inquires about sourcing, where to find the original, or corrections on dates or locations, please contact me or inquire in the comments section.
1967 – First Saints game against the Rams- John Gilliam ran back the opening kickoff for a touchdown, but the Saints lost the game. I was there, and remember being disappointed after the high expectations of a win. So, is 1966 really the year the oaks came down on Claiborne Ave.?
So much destruction done to all the beautiful Medians in New Orleans. Beautiful Oak tress destroyed for CEMENT. How SAD!!!!!!
Dear Bob, thank you for sharing this history with me. Very Very true and interesting story of the South. Love, Aunt Carmie
Reblogged this on …and then there was Sarah.
Thanks for these. New Orleans is my favorite place in the world.
Thank you for your work. These photos are a beautiful registry of our history. I’m so proud to be from this city.
Stunning, moving, evocative photos! Interesting that LBJ was on the ground in NOLA 1 day after Hurricane Betsy hit and it took HOW long for aid during Katrina? Also sad to see how the St.Roch Market used to be a real market for the people in the neighborhood, not a champagne and cheese specialty mart. The faces of the people protesting the integration of the school are the same faces, full of hate, ignorance, and malice, that Trump supporters wear today.
the irony of this entire post, mainly the trump supporters’ description, is just rich!
Re # 64,the née-GNO was only at that time the longest cantilever bridge in the U.S. The way-cool Firth of Forth Bridge in Scotland, built in 1890 (!) was and is considerably longer, and an 1917 Canadian bridge was and is the longest:
One weekend doing the news shift at WVUE-TV we got call from somebody doing their homework (this is pre-Google by many years) who wanted to know how many square feet there were in Tulane Stadium. The answer we came up with was none – not since the Saints traded Tom Dempsey.
Photo of claiborne bridge must have had the negative reversed !
Fantastic collection! Thanks so much for sharing.
Thanks so much ….
Of the 100 photos,
I was a part of at least 25 of them!
So many buildings still look the same, just gussied up a bit. French Quarter homes now worth over a million.
Greatly enjoyed the photos.
Enjoyed the photos. Sometimes some photos are shown of different kinds of Business. I recently saw one of Picou’s Bakery, which was owned by my family. It was located on Bayou Road. I would love to be able to get.a picture of the bakery, if you have any on file or could let me know how to locate this information.
I am looking for a picture of Patterson’s Hotel which was at 1815 Bienville St. It housed African American performing artists before the Public Accommodation Act passed in Congress.
Reblogged this on Sydgul9.
Great site, even greater photos – thank you so much! Interested in possibly using a couple of photos – #’s 71 & 74 – for a music LP cover – wondering if these photos are in public domain?
Thanks. It was beautiful to run through the history.
How can I procure a reprint to pass on the heritage to next generation.
I intend to print and frame some of them.
Thanks for your assistance.
Chris, excellent collection! I do have questions about the sourcing of a number of these photos. I am a graduate student of Urban Planning at UNO. I’m looking to utilize open-source historic photos as b-roll in a student film project I am part of. The quality wide shots of the cityscape such as you have here are just what I’m looking for. Will you please help?
Please contact me, I would love to ask you about some specific photos.
Where do you find these photos?