• Education in New Orleans

    THE STORY OF JOHN MCDONOGH
    SOCIAL, LITERARY, and
    PHILANTHROPIC EFFORT
    THE MILITARY

    The educational system of New Orleans is unsurpassed.

    It is estimated that there are upwards of 76,000 educable children in the City of New Orleans. Of these, some 32,000 attend the public schools; about 16,000 attend the Catholic parochial schools, convents, academies and colleges.

    A large proportion of the remainder attend the many excellent private schools scattered over the city, which are, for the most part, under the direction of talented Southern women.

  • Tulane University has an attendance in all its departments aggregating about 700. Its sister institute, the H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College, has about 350. The Jesuits' College has an attendance of about 600 students. These institutions have already been noticed in this Guide, but throughout the city the visitor will come unexpectedly upon some beautiful building surmounted by a cross or statue, and surrounded by extensive grounds. Through the grating in the gate one may catch sight of demure maidens moving about with book in hand, or engaged in recreation beneath the trees, and at their side is ever a black-veiled nun, for the most part a woman thoroughly educated in the best schools of Europe, and who has taken the vow to devote herself forever to the education and guidance of youth. These are the convent schools and academies of New Orleans, for many years the only higher institutions of learning in the far South, until the public high schools were established in the forties. The convents still hold their own in the progressive march of the age, and young ladies come from all parts of the South to enjoy the benefits of higher education and acquire the accomplishments in music, art and the languages for which the New Orleans convents have ever been famous.

  • The Public School System

    of New Orleans is also unexcelled. There are about seventy public school-houses, which have cost on an average of |40,000 each. .The public school enrollment averages 32,000. 1903 witnessed the addition of public night schools to the general system.

  • McDONOGH SCHOOL No. 14.

    Ten of the public school building's are reserved £for the education of colored youth. Thirty of the public school buildings were either bought or built and are kept in repair through the noble endowment of John McDonogh. For this reason the visitor will see inscribed on many of the finest public school buildings the name "McDonogh," followed by the number of the school.

  • Romance of John McDonogh.

    The history of John McDonogh reads like a romance in these later days. He was of Scotch-Irish parentage, and was born in Baltimore in 1779. He was liberally educated, and early in life embarked in commercial pursuits. In 1800 he came to New Orleans, where he opened business on his own account, and was soon regarded as one of the most successful and wealthy men.

  • In 1806, young, gay and dashing, and a general favorite, not only in business circles, but in the most exclusive homes of the old Creole noblesse, he retired from commercial life and devoted himself to the management of his large estates. He opened a magnificent house at the corner of Chartres and Toulouse Streets, kept a numerous retinue of slaves, fine horses and equipages, and was considered one of the most desirable matches in the French Quarter. But young McDonogh aspired high, and none pleased him so well as the beautiful daughter of Don Almonaster, the Spanish Colonial philanthropist and magnate of old New Orleans. The proud old nobleman indignantly rejected the suit, declaring that a daughter of his noble race should never ally herself to a poor plebeian. Stung to the heart, McDonogh withdrew. The lady subsequently became the wife of the Baron "de Pontalba, and McDonogh's grief and mortification weighed so heavily upon him that he swore he would have more money than all the Almonasters and Pontalbas put together, and that his name would live when their proud titles would have sunk into oblivion. From that hour his habits and nature changed. In his bitter anger he sold the contents of his magnificent house in Chartres Street, and moved to a small house on his plantation in McDonoghville, on the other side of the river, where, for nearly half a century, he led a lonely, penurious life, with seemingly one ambition — the amassing of money. He seemed, to all appearances, cold, hard, selfish, and the prejudice of New Orleans against the close, miserly life he led was great.

  • Wherever he passed he was pointed out as a miser. At his death, in 1850, he left his immense fortune to be divided, share and share alike, between the Cities of New Orleans and Baltimore, for public educational purposes.

  • No condition was attached to the gift to the City of New Orleans, except the simple request at the bottom of the will that the little children of the public schools should come once a year and strew his grave with flowers.

  • McDonogh was at first buried in a marble sarcophagus on his estate on the other side of the Mississippi, above Algiers. His body was subsequently removed to Baltimore, in accordance with his last request, and laid beside his f other and mother. But the old tomb over the river is still to be seen. The inscriptions, which were the rules of Mr. McDonogh's life, were composed by himself, and are exceedingly characteristic of the man. The public school children of New Orleans built the monument to his memory in Lafayette Square. May 1, "McDonogh Day," is annually kept in the schools, the children devoting the afternoon to memorial exercises in his honor, and sending delegations from each school to strew the monument with flowers.

  • The Social Life of New Orleans

    is very beautiful, but, as remarked in the beginning of this Guide, the stranger mist come with letters of introduction, else he will gain his impressions of the city from the streets alone, seeing nothing of the inner life of the people, which is the most charming and distinctive feature of this old Southern metropolis.

  • New Orleans is rich in social clubs, educational, literary, benevolent and charitable organizations.

  • The social clubs are, of course, exclusive organizations, and admission is by invitation or by presentation of a card from one of the members. The most prominent of these are the Boston Club, which has its home at No. 824 Canal Street, the Pickwick Club, 1028 Canal Street, the Varieties Club, with rooms at the Grand Opera House, in Canal Street, the Chess, Checkers and Whist Club, with quarters at 108 Baronne Street, Louisiana Club, 122 Carondelet Street, French Opera Club, which meets in the French Opera House, the Harmony Club, an exclusively Hebrew organization, occupying the beautiful home, corner of Jackson Avenue and St. Charles, the Cotillion Club and the Carnival German Club, which give very swell and exclusive social evenings during the Carnival season.

  • Among

  • Organizations of Women

    are the Woman's Club, which meets the first Monday of each month at 1446 Camp Street, the Arena Club, which meets at the residence of the President, 610 Julia Street; the Era Club, devoted to the extension of suffrage among women, which meets at Gibson Hall, Tulane University, every second and fourth Saturday of the month.

At the meetings of these several clubs visiting club women are cordially welcomed upon presentation of credentials, as also at the meetings of the Daughters of the Confederacy, in Memorial Hall, on the first Monday of the month, and the quarterly meetings of the Ladies' Confederate Memorial Association, held in the same place. The Daughters of 1776-1812, meets every first Tuesday at Washington Artillery Hall Armory, St. Charles Street, the Daughters of the American Revolution hold reunions every first Wednesday morning in the reading room of the Howard Memorial Library, the Colonial Dames meet at the residences of members. Among distinctively literary organizations are the Round Table, the Book Club, Quarante, Geographies, Tea and Topics Clubs, which are very exclusive and which hold their meetings at the residences of the Presidents or members.

Along Educational Lines

is the Catholic Institute, which has succeeded the Catholic Winter School, the Church Club (Episcopal), the New Orleans Educational Association and the Kindergarten Club; the latter meets the first Monday and second Saturday of the month, respectively, at the Boys' High School, in Calliope Street, near St. Charles. The New Orleans Free Kindergarten has five kindergartens under its direction, located respectively at 1203 Annunciation, 1534 Poydras, 610 Camp, 2218 St. Thomas, and 3327 Laurel Street.

The Athletic Clubs

are located as follows: Young Men's Gymnastic Club, 224 North Rampart Street: the Southern Athletic Club, corner of Washington Avenue and Prytania Streets; the Audubon Golf Club has its links and clubhouse at the upper end of Audubon Park; the New Orleans Golf Club at the lower end of the City Park; the New Orleans Tennis Club has its clubhouse and court on Saratoga Street, between General Taylor and Constantinople; the Walnut Street Tennis Club has its court at the upper end of Audubon Park. The golf and tennis clubs are composed of ladies and gentlemen.

Very prominent socially and otherwise are the

Yachting and Boat Clubs.

The Southern Yacht Club, which was organized in 1849, and is the second oldest in the United States, the St. John's Boat Club and the West End Rowing Club have their clubhouses at West End. Regattas take place annually under the auspices of these clubs, the admission to the clubhouse on such occasions being by card from the members.

The Young Men's Gymnastic Rowing Club has its house on the Bayou St. John, at the terminus of Esplanade Avenue.

The Victoria Cricket Club plays in Audubon Park, and the New Orleans Polo Club has its field in the City Park.

New Orleans has numerous rifle clubs. Thirty-five organized private hunting and fishing clubs, with handsome camps and many game preserves, are located within thirty miles of the city, along the lines of the railroads and waterways. Public institutions of this character are also plentiful. Philanthropic and benevolent associations and mutual aid societies, missionary and church societies, abound in New Orleans. Every asylum and orphanage has its organized body of auxiliary women workers, who devote themselves to sewing and assisting in providing for the wants of the inmates. It is said that for its size and population New Orleans does more charity work in comparison than any other city of the United States.

New Orleans is the

First Military District,

and most of the military organizations are comprehended in the First District. It comprises the Division Staff, the Battalion of Washington Artillery, the Louisiana Field Artillery, the Naval Brigade, the Jefferson Guards, the First Troop of Cavalry and the Signal Corps. The district is commanded by Major General John Glynn, Jr., with Colonel E. C. Fenner as Chief of Staff.

The oldest of these military organizations is the Washington Artillery, whoso armory is located in the Washington Artillery Hall, on St Charles Street, near Julia. It comprises five batteries, all under excellent management. The battalion is under the command of Lieutenant Colonel John B. Richardson. The Louisiana Field Artillery, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel John P. Sullivan, consists of five batteries. Its armory, on St Charles, near Felicity Street, was destroyed by fire in 1902. The erection of a new armory, which will probably be located on the old site, is contemplated. The First Troop of Cavalry is commanded by Lieutenant Churchill. Its armory is on Eighth and Carondelet Streets. The Jefferson Guards, commanded by Captain Kantz, has its armory in Gretna. The Signal Corps is commanded by Captain Warner, and is located at St Charles, near Gravier Street. The Naval Brigade, which is attached to the First Military District, was organized in 1895. This organization, familiarly called the "Naval Reserves," did splendid service in the war with Spain. It furnished 240 officers and men to the United States Navy. The brigade has eight divisions, two of which are engineer divisions. The organization recently erected a handsome new Armory in Camp Street, between Julia and St. Joseph, abutting the sidewalk, with a large drill and recreation ground in the rear. The cost was $20,000. The Commanding Officer and other officials have their offices in the building. Strict military regulations prevail within the barracks. The Naval Brigade is now one of the largest organizations in the Naval Militia service in the country. The membership is now above 400. The United States Steamship Stranger is the training ship of the organization, and is ordinarily anchored in the river at the foot of Henry Clay Avenue.

Captain J. W. Bostick is the commander of the brigade.

The only other military organization in the city is the Continental Guards, organized in 1854, and which did excellent service during the Civil War. The organization is an independent command, permitted to bear arms. The armory is in Odd Fellows' Hall, on Camp Street.

Not ranking among the military organisations, but dear to the people of New Orleans because of the heroic part they bore in the memorable struggle of '61 and '65, are the New Orleans Camps of

The United Confederate Veterans,

whose headquarters are at Memorial Hall, in Camp Street. New Orleans Is justly proud t of the fact that the organisation of the United Confederate Veterans had its birth here, the survivors of Confederate Cavalrymen holding the first reunion in this city Feb. 13, 1888. As a result, a joint call of the New Orleans Camps was issued for a general Convention to be held in New Orleans June 10, 1889, the purpose of which was to form a confederation for the assistance of the widows and orphans of fallen comrades, and to hand down to future generations the true history of the Southern cause, etc. Ten camps of veterans were represented at that first convention, the Army of Northern Virginia of New Orleans being designated as Camp 1, the Army of Tennessee as Camp 2, and the New Orleans Confederate Veteran Cavalry as Camp 9, and permanent organization was effected, the title "United Confederate Veteran Association" adopted with General John B. Gordon as the unanimous choice for Commander-in-Chief. Eighteen camps were represented at the first reunion. The second reunion was held at Jackson, Miss., June 2, 1891. Twenty-six veteran camp delegates responded. The third reunion was held in New Orleans April 8, 1892, and there were delegations from 172 camps. There are now 1492 camps. The reunion held in New Orleans in April, 1903, brought together delegate survivors of the cause, numbering some 65,000. Over $65,000 was raised by the people of New Orleans for the entertainment of the veterans, and the reunion was voted the grandest and most successful ever held.

Working in sympathy with the veterans are the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Confederate Southern Memorial Association. Here again New Orleans patriotically points to the fact that her women were the first to organize in 1861, and the first to build a monument to the Confederate dead. The United Sons of Veterans is an organization pledged to the noble principles laid down in the constitution of the parent organization.

The Department of Louisiana and Mississippi of the Grand Army of the Republic has its headquarters in New Orleans, at 164 South Rampart Street. Colonel C. W. Keeting is Department Commander and Rudolph B. Baquie is Adjutant General. The members are mostly soldiers who came to Louisiana and Mississippi after the close of hostilities between the States, or came with the Federal Army during the latter years of the war.

The Picayune's Guide to New Orleans, 1904

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