Racquette is still played in New Orleans at the old City Park on the Metairie road, near Canal street, by the Creoles, who have always been very fond of the game. There are several clubs in the city in the down-town quarter, and on Sundays very good games may be witnessed.
While it was fashionable, tennis was played throughout the city, though of late it has been supplanted by golf. There are still many clubs in existence, notably one that plays in Audubon Park, and many people have tennis courts in their private yards.
Base-ball, since it has become a national game, has been played in New Orleans, and there have been in the city many fine games, the base-ball season extending for quite a while, and clubs from different leagues playing in the city, principally at Sportsman's Park, the grand stand of which is very large and the accommodations being sufficient, with the bleachers, to hold many thousands of people, who frequently congregate to see the games.
One of the amusements which strangers always indulge in when they come
to New Orleans, and in which residents of the city could follow them in as to many things, with no small degree of pleasure, on account of the number of curious things to be seen, is the amusement of sight-seeing. Most people are eager to see the sights of the old Creole quarter as the oldest and most historical part of the city; but the American quarter also is well worth seeing, and can bear comparison with any of the other cities of the country. In attempting to see the sights of New Orleans one usually starts from Canal street and goes down Royal or Chartres towards Jackson square. Along Royal street may be noticed in the first block
at old No. 18, what used to be the famous gambling saloon, now Miller's Billiard Saloon. On Customhouse street, the first street from Canal, a few doors from Royal street, is the house where the celebrated Lopez, in 1851, organized his filibustering expedition against Cuba. A little further down, near St. Louis street, old No. 110, imbedded in the banquette on either side of a huge stone gateway, are two cannon buried so deep in the earth as scarcely to be noticed by the ordinary passer-by on the street. Here were, in the old days, the Spanish barracks, and here were also quartered the soldiers of his most Catholic Majesty during the Spanish Colonial days. Opposite the old commanderia is the Hotel Royal, now the St. Louis Hotel, at one time the State House, one of the places of the most historical interest in New Orleans. Here the negroes were sold at auction, in slave days, at an exchange which was located in the building. Here was where the Radical authorities were
besieged at the termination of the reconstruction days by the citizens, who formed themselves into an army of revolutionists to oppose them and had trained artillery upon the building. On Royal street are several second-hand stores which sell antiques, many of them very valuable and genuine, although some of them spurious — notably the beds in which Lafayette slept when he came to New Orleans, where he once passed a night, of which four are exhibited — beautifully carved four posters, with prices ranging from two to three hundred dollars on account of the
On Royal, at the corner of Hospital, is the famous "Haunted House," the decorations of which are remarkable; carved doors, carvings on the inside, bronzed imitation of an elaborate sort of the ancient regime. This is a house that is described by Mr. Cable in his Strange True Stories of Louisiana, as belonging to a lady who so maltreated her slaves that she was mobbed by the citizens whose moral sense was outraged by her wicked behavior. Turning into Chartres and coming down again towards Canal, at the corner of Ursulines, stands the old Ursulines Convent. It is now the Archbishop's palace. Still coming down Chartres, at the corner of St. Ann is the Jackson Square, the Plaza des Armas, under the
Spanish, Place d'Armes under the French, where the Louisiana patriots were executed by Don O'Reilly when he took possession in the name of the Spanish Government, and where General Jackson triumphed after the Battle of New Orleans. Jackson Statue is in the centre, by Clark Mills, a duplicate of the statue in Washington. On either side of the square are the Pontalba buildings, named for Madame Pontalba, a daughter of Don Almonaster y Roxas, one of the early celebrities of New Orleans, who founded the Cathedral and the Charity Hospital, and who lies buried in the Cathedral at the right of the altar, with the inscription over his grave of his name and titles, Chevalier of the Royal and Military Order of St. Louis, etc. In the railings of the galleries of the Pontalba buildings, are to be noticed the monogram, "A. P.," Almonaster-Pontalba.
Facing the square stands the Cathedral St. Louis, the oldest church in New Orleans, and one of the buildings of the most historical interest in the city. On either side, stand what are now the Court House buildings — the building now occupied by the Civil District Court on the north side, originally the presbytery building for the occupation of the priests, and on the south side, the building now occupied by the Supreme Court, which in ancient days was the Cabildo or City Hall. On the gallery of this building the officials stood when the territory was transferred from Spain to France and from France to the United States. Upon the
entablature near the roof, are cannon and cannon balls of ancient design with the American Eagle inserted after the cession to the United States, where in turn were the emblems successively of his most Christian majesty and his most Catholic majesty the Kings of Spain and France. Coming down Chartres street, opposite the Supreme Court building, at the comer of St. Peter, is what is now a barroom, which is one of the most ancient buildings in the city, originally the oldest hotel west of the Alleghany Mountains. On Chartres, at the corner of St. Louis, is an old building with a cupola, which was built for the occupation of Napoleon, by an
enthusiastic admirer of his in New Orleans, who had planned an expedition to rescue the Emperor from St. Helena, and built the house for his occupation, upon his anticipated arrival in New Orleans. But the Emperor died before the expedition set out. Between St. Louis and Canal streets, on Chartres, are the New Orleans bird stores, which are very curious, filled with all sorts of birds and alligators and snakes, tropical birds from Central and South America, and curious animals, such as fanciers collect.
There have been outlined above a very small number of the things that are to be seen in the exploration of New Orleans. In the ancient city the sights are inexhaustible. There are fan light transoms of the old regime and ancient architecture — Spanish and French — with the dormer windows, batten shutters, and court yards and Spanish water jars of the most romantic description.
A stranger should not omit a visit to the chapel of St. Roch, which is an absolutely mediaeval institution, and to the Lugger Landing at, the Picayune Tier at the head of Hospital street, with the Luggers with their red sateen sails, rocking at the moorings, and the lugger men squatting on the decks, a scene that the artists love to paint. The luggers come from the oyster beds of the South, and are laden with oysters. They have all sorts of queer names, too— San Remo, Three Brothers, The Admiral Techetof, The Josephine. It is one of the most picturesque sights
in the city.
OPERA AND THEATERS.
The beginning of the theatrical business in New Orleans dates back to 1791, when a company of French comedians was brought over and played in the city. According to the chronicles, this is the first theatrical engagement of any company in New Orleans.
The first theater in New Orleans was erected in 1808, the Theatre St. Philippe on St. Phillipe street. The building was afterwards turned into the Washington Ball Room. The St. Phillipe street school-house is now upon the same location. It was at this theater that Noah M. Ludlow, one of the celebrated of the early managers, first produced an English play, opening his season in 1807 with Tobin's comedy, "The Honeymoon."
The newspapers of 1810 make mention of a theater on St. Peter street, but very little is known of it, and the writers of the history of New Orleans upon that period make no mention of it.
The famous theater of the old days was the "Orleans Theater," at the corner of Royal and Orleans streets. In 1868 it was burnt and there is now only left a wing of it, which shows some of the ancient architecture. This wing is now the colored convent.
In the early days, it was in this theater that the opera was introduced in New Orleans, which was the first opera in America. The citizens at that time were, as now, enthusiastic with regard to music, and the operatic performances were elaborate and from a large repertoire: Rosini, Meyerbeer, Auber, Mozart and other great composers were held in New Orleans long before the other cities of the country had obtained that degree of civilization. The audiences were fashionable, and so great was the love of the public for operas that the performances extended to a
length which now seems extraordinary, the operas beginning at half past 6 and continuing some times until 12 o'clock.
The first building upon the site of this theater was erected in 1813 by a joint stock company. This was burnt in 1816 and the Orleans Theater, bearing that name, was built in 1818 by John Davis, who had become the sole proprietor of the first theater. The cost was one hundred and eighty thousand dollars. The architecture of the lower story is described as Roman Doric, although not pure, and the upper story is Corinthian composite. The finish inside was elaborate. There was a large pit or parquette and loges grilles, and all the accessories of a complete opera house. In 1819 the Orleans Theater was opened by the second dramatic
company that was ever imported to America from France. The first has already been mentioned as having played in New Orleans in 1791.
Connected with the Orleans Theater and forming part of it, was the Orleans Ball Room. Sometimes they boarded over the floor of the parquette and threw the whole into one dancing floor. The ball-rooms were built in 1817. It was here that the famous Quadroon Balls were given that figure so largely in the Romances of New Orleans and in the tales of the travelers who visited the city in the early days.
It seems strange that the theater and ball-room, in the changes of time, should have been transformed into a convent. No one now looking at its wide old facade of rusty brown, without adornment, and seeing the colored religeuses passing in and out the heavy door, would suppose that here used to be the most famous theater of ante-bellum days, and the ball-room where quadroon balls were given that are to be read of in the guide-books and the romances of Mr. Cable.
On Camp, near Poydras, where the Moresque building used to be, was the
American Theater. It was burnt on the 20th of July, 1842, and then rebuilt and reopened on the 5th of December, 1842. There was another American Theater on Camp street — the "Old Camp," as it was affectionately called by the public and by the actors who played in it. It was erected in 1823-1824 by James A. Caldwell, Esq., who is famous as one of the most prominent of the New Orieans managers of the day.
The Gaiety Theater, which was, at one time, named the Varieties, was on Gravier street, behind the Cotton Exchange. Varieties Alley takes its name from the old theater.
The Bijou Theater, which was afterwards Weriein Hall, stood at the corner of Baronne and Perdido streets.
The old St. Charies Theater — "Old Drury" — was perhaps the most famous of all of the New Orieans theaters. It was erected by Noah M. Ludlow and Sol Smith. They built it in sixty days as a tour de force, in their rivalry with James M. Caldwell, who was the successful theatrical manager of the day and against whom they had entered into competition. The old St. Charies has been recently burnt and has not been rebuilt. For many years it was as famous as the St. Charies Hotel. It was the largest theater in town, one of the oldest, and the theater where the most
famous actors and companies played. Here all the actors of celebrity in America played as long as the old house stood — Keene, Macready, Ellen Tree, Chariotte Cushman, Joseph Jefferson, Junius Brutus Booth, John Wilkes Booth, Edwin Booth, Buckstone, Fanny Ellsler, etc.
In the annals of the St. Charies are many anecdotes of the famous players who played there; the story of Joe Jefferson's being fined when he was a young man for disorderly conduct in his dressing room, and Mr. George Vanderhoff, who used to be very famous in the old days of Hamlet and as Claude Lorraine in the Lady of Lyons. When Mr. Vanderhoff was performing the latter part he was interrupted, as he was carrying Pauline up stage when the lady had fainted in the play, by an unmannerly man in the audience who shouted out to him, "Kiss her!" So great was the chivalry of the audience in those days that the offender was bodily taken up by the audience and passed from hand to hand and incontinently ejected from the house. In his "Leaves From the Actor's Notebook," where he records the anecdote, Mr. Vanderhoff remarks that the next lines of the play were, "There! We are strangers now." They were received by the audience with cheers and laughter.
Then there are stories of the daring of John Wilkes Booth, who, when the city was occupied by General Butler, during the war, would cross from the St. Charles Theater to the bar across the way, yelling out cheers for the Confederacy and halloaing for the Bonny Blue Flag, a proceeding which was, in those days, considered a feat as much as a man's life was worth.
The Academy of Music, close adjoining the St. Charles Theater, was for many years a favorite play-house in New Orleans. While a small theater, the companies that played there were good, and until in its later days, when music hall attractions were brought there, the audiences were refined. It was at the Academy of Music that the farewell production of Bidwells Stock Company was given. They played Victor Durand and the house was packed from pit to gallery, and the company, which was one of the best stock companies that ever played in New Orleans, or any other city, was given an enthusiastic farewell. It must be remembered that all of the notable actors played in that splendid company. It was from the stage
of the Academy of Music, during the civil war, the actor Harry McCarthy first sang "The Bonny Blue Flag," which became one of the national songs of the Confederacy.
The Grand Opera House, which was at first the Varieties Theater, is still owned by the Varieties Association. It is celebrated for one of the most magnificent entrances in America. With Messrs. Klaw & Erlanger's new Tulane and Crescent Theaters, it is one of the three theaters in New Orleans.
The French Opera House was erected in 1860 and designed by Gallier, one of the celebrated architects of the time. It is situated on Bourbon street, at the corner of Toulouse, and while the exterior is not particularly prepossessing, except with regard to its size, it is equipped in every respect as an opera house should be, with a parquette, loges, secondes, troisifemes, quatriemes, loges grilles, baignoires grilles, dress circle and boxes and foyer, all decorated to a high degree and of the most magnificent kind. Here the fashionable gather on opera nights and grand opera is given as elaborately as in Paris. The artists are singers of high price and great merit, and there are trained choruses and ballets. The companies are capable of performing opera bouffe, as well as grand opera. The choruses are carefully trained, consisting of a number of people who make a livelihood by singing in the choruses, and who are singers of a marked degree of ability. In the audiences, besides the fashionable, there are some who are genuinely musical. Among the population of New Orleans are many people who are musical by habit and by inheritance. For many years the opera has been established in New Orleans, and before that it existed in France, whence the ancestors of many of the opera choruses come. Both grand opera and opera bouffe existed in New Orleans long before it was established in another city of America. The opera is one of the features which distinguishes the city and of which it is proud. It would render it remarkable among American
cities even if it had no other unique feature.
During the reconstruction days, Mr. Charles Howard and Mr. John A. Morris, the latter of whom came to New Orleans from the North, established the Louisiana State Lottery, which for many years had a renown throughout the country. It was, perhaps, the largest lottery that ever existed in the United States. The profits were enormous and the proprietors amassed immense wealth, becoming multi-millionaires and being known as lottery kings.
Through its wealth and through the corruption which existed in Louisiana politics during the early reconstruction days, the lottery company secured from the Legislature a charter which gave it a monopoly and the prestige of being the State Lottery, and rendered its position, for a time, impregnable. The prizes were large, tickets were sold throughout the country and throughout the world. Besides the grand drawings, for the poor people who could not afford the price of the tickets to the grand drawings, the company established daily drawings, at which tickets were sold for small sums, thus adding to their clientele the poorest classes of people, as well as those who were better to do, who could better afford the indulgence. The political influence of the lottery was great, and necessarily so, inasmuch as to secure its monopoly it was necessary for it to control every Legislature. It was this, together with the reassertion of the moral sense of the people, which was shocked by the bad repute to which Louisiana was brought in other parts of the country where lotteries had been abolished and were prohibited, that finally brought the lottery to an end. A vigorous campaign was started against the renewal of its charter, and in spite of the most strenuous efforts on the part of the, lottery people in the campaign in which Governor Foster was first elected, the lottery was destroyed and no longer has an existence in Louisiana. It is said that at the last Legislature at which the charter of the company was considered, as much as one hundred thousand dollars was offered and paid for the votes of the members of the Legislature in favor of the company. It is to the credit of the people of Louisiana that, in spite of its immense wealth and its unscrupulous use of it, and its entrenched political position, the lottery was finally destroyed. While the Honduras lottery, which has succeeded the Louisiana lottery, still exists, and its tickets as well as the tickets of other petty foreign lottery companies, in violation of the law, are still sold in New Orleans, compared to what the business once was, the lottery business in New Orleans is now a mere bagatelle.
When the history of New Orleans, during the existence of the lottery, comes to be written, the extent to which the evil spread will be found to have been enormous. Immense numbers of people patronized it in all positions and in all walks of life. It spread even to the domestic servants, whom, it was said, filched the market money from their employers to invest in the daily drawings. Business men regularly every month set apart a portion of their profits to invest in lottery tickets.
Clerks on small salaries took one or more tickets as regularly as pay-day came around. The anxiety of the lottery ticket holder at the time of the drawings, the scenes at the policy shops, where the tickets were sold, the stories of the fortunes that were drawn in prizes and the fortunes that were expected during weary years and never drawn, would form a fit theme for the writer of fiction.
In the early days New Orleans was regarded as an El Dorado by the gamblers, who flocked to the city from all parts of the country and of the world. It was partly on account of the cosmopolitan character of the people, who were French and Spanish, with an admixture of foreigners from other parts of the country, and partly because gambling was more universal in the early days all over the world than it is now. The moral sense of civilized countries has been developed to an extent that has diminished the practice to a considerable extent, although it is not entirely suppressed. The early Creoles were very fond of gambling, and the Americans who came to this city were not far behind. It is related of an old Creole planter that he named two streets that were laid out in his plantation, which became part of the city, "Craps" and "bagatelle," on account of the two fortunes which he had lost at those games. Faro, roulette and vingt-et-un were played at the gambling house at the comer of Orleans and Bourbon streets. Another famous ranch was on Bayou
Very large sums were said to have been lost in these early days, and the most distinguished people played. Colonel Grymes and Edward Livingston, who were leaders of the bar, were said to have been very heavy plungers. John Davis, the theatrical manager, is said to have made a considerable fortune in various sorts of gambling games, and besides his theatrical ventures, opened gambling rooms, which were the sources of the capital he used in his theatrical business. In 1832 there were not less than fourteen large gambling establishments; and the evil grew to such an extent with the public games and the encouragement of private games,
brag and ecarta, which followed upon the great indulgence in public gambling, that the Legislature in 1832 passed a law to suppress gambling. At the time of the Mexican war it broke out again, and rondeau and loto were added to the old games which had made New Orleans the famous center for gentlemen of the green cloth. At old No. 4 Carondelet street there was a famous establishment, where now the Louisiana Club is located, for many years the domicile of the Boston Club. This was run by McGrath and Company, and was visited by prominent gamblers from all over the country, where the pools on the Metarie races were sold. It was elegantly fitted up and the business done was positively enormous. It afterwards became
Sherwood and McGrath's. It is said that the losses in one night's play at McGrath's amounted to as much as eighty thousand dollars. Until it was closed by the law, old No. 18 Royal street was one of the most famous establishments of the city. Roulette and loto, faro and other games were
played. It was frequented by large crowds of all classes and nationalities. It was brilliantly illuminated and ran day and night. More than most American gambling houses it resembled the gambling resorts of Europe, on account of the cosmopolttan character of the crowds and the popularity of roulette and the foreign looking croupiers, with their blue-black, close shaven faces. There were always Chinamen in this establishment playing loto. The Americans played roulette and faro and other games, only occasionally taking any hand at loto to try their luck
against the Chinamen. With celestial patience and perseverance the Chinamen used to stick to their game for hour after hour, with absolute immobility whether they won or lost.
Although there are laws against gambling in Louisiana — the Constitution declares gambling to be a vice, and the lottery has been stopped and the large gambling houses closed — there is still a considerable amount of it in the city. Boys who play craps in the street are arrested, but private gambling houses that are out of sight flourish unmolested, although it is charged that the police must needs know of their existence. The man who comes to New Orleans who wishes to gamble will find no difficulty in running against a sport who will steer him to a place where he may be fleeced with a thoroughness as absolute as it was done in the old days. Poolrooms are open and are thronged by men of all classes and ages. At the private clubs there are still played games of poker, and it is said the gains and losses sometimes amount up to a considerable figure. Of course, at the races, there is a regular betting ring, and on every race a considerable amount of money changes hands.
While it is true that neither in New Orleans nor in Louisiana has there been any breeding of blooded horses, nevertheless, on account of the sporting and pleasure-loving character of the people, horse-racing, from the earliest days, has been a prominent feature of the city. The old Metairie racecourse, where now the Metairie Cemetery is located, fifty years ago was the most famous racecourse in the United States. Between 1840 and 1860, in proportion to the population. New Orleans could bear comparison with any city in the world as to the number of its
racecourses and the quality of the races. Even at the present time. New Orleans is one of the racing centers of the country.
There was the Eclipse course at Carrollton, the Metairie course, that has just been referred to, the Bingaman course in Algiers, La., a course on the Hopkins plantation, about twelve miles below the city, and the Union course, now the Louisiana Jockey Club course, which is the only one that is now used.
It was on the Metairie course that Lexington defeated Lecompte, April 1, 1854. Duncan F. Kenner, Richard Ten Broeck, Colonel Jefferson Wells, Colonel Bingaman, Colonel William Johnson and all the magnates of the day were present. Among the spectators was ex-President Fillmore. Perhaps this was the most famous race that was run in New Orleans in the old days, although the racing was frequent, the horses were of first quality and the purses high.
The races in our day take place in the spring and autumn at the Fair Grounds and are conducted by the Louisiana Jockey Club.
The New Louisiana Jockey Club was incorporated on the 24th of March, 1880, with a capital stock of seventy-five thousand dollars. The charter members and the first board of directors were: E. W. Simmons, John A. Morris, Walter J. Hall and George W. Nott.
The New Orleans races are one of the features of New Orleans and of the
South. The best horses of the country are brought down, and great pains are taken by the club members, who are gentlemen of high character, to have the races absolutely fair. The crowds that gather there are great and the grand stand frequently contains a large assemblage of ladies.
Adjoining the racecourse is the Jockey Club House, on the Metairie road, with an entrance drive from the racecourse. The Jockey Club House was once the residence of Mr. Luling. The club purchased it for sixty thousand dollars. It has a front of five hundred feet on Esplanade street by twenty-five hundred feet deep, with an area of nearly thirty acres. It is high ground and is exempt from overflow. The gardens are beautifully set out and are kept in perfect order, with Southern trees and plants and flowers and shrubbery. In the center of the park there is a lake, with a small island. There are orchards of fruit trees surrounding the park,
and flowers and shrubbery. It is one of the most beautiful places in the country. The club building is a large old-fashioned brick building, three stories high, with magnificent reception and dining rooms, library, reading rooms, etc., beautifully furnished with carved furniture. Large galleries surround the building and the terrace is one of the most beautifid in the country. It is surmounted by a cupola, from which a magnificent view of the city and the surrounding country can be had.
Here, during the summer, the club gives its famous promenade concerts,
which are attended by the fashionable people of the city and are among the features of social life in New Orleans. Bands of musicians are stationed about the gardens, in the shrubbery, and the grounds are lighted up by numbers of Chinese lanterns and electric lights, the effect of which is very beautiful.
HUNTING AND FISHING.
On account of its situation, surrounded as it is by water and with bayous and lakes all over the country, and its neighborhood, no city in the country is more favorably situated than New Orleans for all sorts of sport. The hunting is principally of ducks and snipe, but all kinds of fish, fresh water and salt, are caught in the immediate vicinity. There are many hunting and fishing clubs near the city of New Orleans, many of them within the city limits, though not within the built-up portion, as the city limits of New Orleans stretch to the Rigolets, from the Jefferson line, a distance of forty odd miles. Every sportsman has his particular hunting and fishing grounds, but the whole country is good. There are hunting clubs at English Look-out, at the Rigolets, Chef Menteur, at Miller's Bayou, Lake Catherine, and at Chandeleur Islands. All of these places are good for fishing also. Many of the sportsmen have elaborate outfits of canoes, pirogues and hunting suits — which must be yellow, the color of the marsh grass — and decoys, and innumerable
paraphernalia for the amateur sportsman. The snipe shooting is good, but hunting duck is considered the nobler sport. The variety of ducks that may be shot in Louisiana is innumerable. The experts will name many more kinds than are found in the treatises of the ornithologists. The French duck is generally conceded to be the finest duck with regard to appearance and for the table. The Louisiana ducks, it is claimed, fiy faster than the ducks in any other part of the world, but nevertheless very many are killed, both by the regular pot hunters and by amateur
hunters. Many of the hunters are expert shots, and will calculate to a nicety the exact angle at which the gun is to be held and the exact distance ahead of the duck that it must be pointed. The hunting trains during the hunting season over the Louisville and Nashville Road, are always crowded with the regular hunters and their friends, whom they are taking over, and when they return Sunday night the amount of game that is brought in is something extraordinary. Over every seat is hung a bunch of ducks, and the baggage car, besides, is loaded full. To hunt ducks in Louisiana is not like hunting game in any other part of the country, where an afternoon can be devoted to the sport. It is a regular expedition. It is necessary to go to the hunting grounds so as to remain over night and get up an hour before daybreak and row or paddle in a small canoe or pirogue (riding in a Louisiana pirogue has been described by a visiting Englishman as fioating in the water on a match) to the hunting grounds, where the blind is made and the hunters lay concealed until daybreak, when the ducks are expected to come. The coldest weather is considered the best for the sport, which, with a long pull before daybreak, makes the amount of hardship that is endured necessarily considerable. The marshes are damp, and when the ducks do come, you have to be very quick in handling the gun, as single ducks or whole fiocks will fly by with the rapidity of a rifle bullet. Nevertheless, the game seems to be worth the candle, as when the ducks are flying the bags that are secured are considerable, and the Louisiana ducks are the finest in
All sorts of fish are caught in the waters of South Louisiana. Trout, black fish, perch, bass, croker, sheep-head, Spanish mackerel, pompano, mullet, plaice, red-fish and cat-fish. The cat-fish usually trouble the amateur fisherman, as they abound everywhere in great quantities. To catch small shark at Grand Isle with a rope for line and immense hooks is considered a very enjoyable sport on account of the dangers from the bite of the fish. The sport is not finished when the fish is caught, as, with the sharks it is necessary to kill it. The favorite way is to chop off
its tail with a hatchet. While the fisherman is chasing the shark to "decapitate" its tail, if an Irish bull may be used, the shark is very often chasing the fisherman. Sharks are caught at the end of the Island and they are usually small shark, three to three and one-half feet long. Green trout is considered one of the finest fish that can be caught, and in all the bayous and lagoons during the summer they abound.
The sportsmen's stores in New Orleans keep in stock all sorts of rods and tackle and flies, where fishermen's outfits and paraphernalia can be had, and the trade is very considerable, as many men in New Orleans are enthusiastic fishermen, and some of them very expert. Green trout are usually caught with live bait, shrimp being used, though some believe in a bit of red flannel to attract the trout. There is always doubt about the red flannel, but it is supposed to appeal to the picturesque taste of the fish. There is no doubt about the shrimp. They will bite at shrimp,
and the Radian fishermen, who are always experts in all sorts of fishing, always employ shrimp.
In the old days, cock-fighting was one of the sports par excellence in New Orleans. While the practice never grew to the extreme that it has in Mexico and in the Central American countries, where the Renidero de Gallos is as invariably a feature of the city as the Plaza, with its bands of musicians; nevertheless there were cock-pits in many parts of the city, and then there was quite a trade in the breeding and training of game cocks, and considerable money was wagered upon the success of likely birds.
The old Spanish cock-pit is at the comer of Dumaine and Prieur streets, where occasionally a cock-fight is held, and where, a few years ago, there were mains regularly every Sunday from 9 a. m. till 3 p. m. Although it was originally a favorite sport with the Creoles, and although most of the fighting was in the Creole quarter of the city, nevertheless, it spread to the Americans, and the up-town residents became as fond of the sport as their down-town neighbors. There is a cock-pit in Jefferson Parish, just across the dividing line of the Parish of Orleans and the Parish of Jefferson, where many celebrated mains have been held, and where the jeunesse dore and the boys from "the front" frequently gathered to see the sport.
At one time prize-fighting was one of the regular sports in New Orleans. In no city of the world, not even in London, has the manly art flourished as it did in New Orleans in its heyday. New Orleans was the headquarters of the Sullivan-Ryan fight which took place in Mississippi, and of the Sullivan-Kilrain fight, which also took place in Mississippi; and in the city itself many famous fights were held, principally at the Olympic Club, at which Sullivan, Corbett, Hall, Fitzsimmons and all the great stars of the prize ring appeared and won fame and large purses. No club in the United States ever offered as large purses as the Olympic Club.
There were several of the fights where purses of twenty thousand dollars were offered.
Prize-fighting in New Orleans was finally stopped by a decision of the Supreme Court in a suit to forfeit the charter of the Olympic Club, and now only glove contests are held, which are infrequent and do not elicit great interest.
The game of golf is recent in New Orleans, but is firmly established here, as in all large American cities who have followed the fashion of England and of New York in reviving the ancient game of Scotland. In Audubon Park there are several golf links, and the players operate upon them very frequently. There is a Golf Club and a Golf Club house in the park, at which, on ladies' day, teas are given which are considered quite minor society events.
A peculiar feature of the sport in New Orleans is the picaninny caddy, who is very different in appearance from his Northern and European compeer, and by no manner of dressing up in the golfing rig can be made to look "English, you know. The appearance of a little negro boy in golf costume is one of the most comical sights that can be seen anywhere in the world, the resemblance being to that of the monkeys in fancy dress that accompany hand-organs. Nearly all of them pout while they are addressed as caddy, as if they did not understand the meaning of the word and take it to be a term of opprobrium, and, as during a game it is frequently necessary to call "caddy," the faces of the little negroes grow blacker and blacker.
SUMMER PLEASURE RESORTS.
In summer the population of New Orleans goes to the West End, which is
reached by electric cars that start on Canal and Bourbon streets. In some respects it is like Coney Island in New York. There is music there during the summer, and some of the bands are of a very high quality. Vaudeville, restaurants, a scenic railway and sideshows and special attractions on special days draw the crowd. The restaurants have been already referred to under that particular head. The Southern Yacht Club is located at West End, and the West End and the St. John Rowing Clubs.
The Spanish Fort, where the old Spanish Fort is still standing, was at one time a popular resort, and it is claimed by many to-day to be a much prettier place on account of the gardens than West End, but very little used on account of the defective train service and partly on account of the growing supremacy of West End, due to its nearness to the city. The Spanish Fort has been given over to the negroes, and is a favorite place for negro picnics.
The oldest of the summer pleasure resorts in New Orleans is Milneburg, whence the boats leave for Mandeville and Covington and places across Lake Pontchartrain. There are many private clubhouses here, and restaurants, also skiffs and sail-boats to hire. The finest of the restaurnats is Moreau's, which will be treated of under the head of restaurants.
One of the most celebrated cafes of the old days was John Davis's, on Orleans street, between Royal and Bourbon, next to the Orleans theater and thefamous Orleans ballroom. Here the wild young fellows and the roues of the early part of the century used to meet and drink. Here they would quarrel over their drink or over some rival at one of the quadroon balls in the ballroom next door, and when the details were arranged, to report under the Trois Soeurs at the City Park, or, as tradition has it, if it were late at night, upon the plat of ground in the rear of the Cathedral, now fenced in, which was a admirable and convenient place for aduel with colichemardes. Then there was the La Bourse de Maspero or Maspero's Exchange, celebrated in the third decade of the present century. This was located on the corner of St. Louis and Chartres streets. The building has been changed some in the progress of time, but the ancient architecture is still recognizable. The Southern Exchange barroom is now where the old Bourse used to be. This was the literary restaurant in ancient times, and the editors of the papers, professional men and the merchants, used to meet and drink, quarrel and play dominoes, which was a great game in the old days. In ancient New Orleans there were quarrels and also duels, not so many as at John Davis', which was the fighting place par excellence.
The restaurants to-day are Lamothe's, on St Charles, near Common, Moreau's, on Canal, between Carondelet and St. Charles, which has just been closed, and Fabacher's and The Gem, on Royal, near Canal, and the Restaurant de Paris on Bourbon street, just opposite the French Opera House, where there is an admirable table d'hote, Antoine's, on St. Louis street, between Royal and Bourbon, celebrated for its Creole cooking, as also Bezaudun's Restaurant de la Louissane, on Customhouse, between Royal and Bourbon; at West End, Tranchina's and Astredo's and others. At Milneburg there is Moreau's, where they still serve the Bouilla baisse. Here it was that Thackery ate it when he came to New Orleans in the '50's, when Miguel cooked it, and the famous novelist acknowledged that it was as good as that of Monsieur Terre, at Paris, famous in the New Street of the Little Fields that he immortalized in the Ballad of the Bouillabaisse.
Opposite the City Park is the Renaissance des Chenes Verts, which Mr. Alciatore keeps. It is one of the best restaurants in the country. There is Begue's, the famous breakfast place, on Decater, at the corner of Madison and countless small restaurants in Little Italy, where the Bohemains foregather; Pegot's, Buffa's, etc.
The cooking in New Orleans is celebrated, gourmands claiming that the Creole cooking is the best in the world. Francatelli and Urbain Dubois cannot equal the dishes prepared by a genuine Creole cook. The game, papabottes, grassets, ducks and snipe are served fessande. There is bisque and courtbouillon and salmi, and Spanish omelettes of all sorts, and gombo, gombo aux herbes, gombo file, gombo aux ecrevisses.
Two drinks that are peculiar to New Orleans are the "roffignac," said to have been invented by the Marquis de Roffignac, one of the celebrities of the early days; and absinthe, which is also drunk in Paris. It is found at the old Absinthe House at the corner of Bourbon and Bienville streets, which was built in the year 1752, and which has been an absinthe house since 1826.