The first newspapers in the city were published in both French and English. Set in large, badly worn type and turned out on hand presses, the papers devoted very little space to local current events, since news happenings were usually common knowledge long before the sheets were off the press. The columns were a melange of advertisements, clippings from European newspapers, fiction, poetry, and letters from readers. Illustrations were limited to woodcuts of houses, boats, and trees, which were used over and over.
Louis Duclot, a refugee printer from Santo Domingo, established the first newspaper in New Orleans in 1794. Known as Le Moniteur de la Louisiane, with 'Bombolio, Clangor, Stridor, Taratantara, Murmur' as its motto, it was published irregularly as a weekly, semi-weekly, and triweekly for a little more than twenty years, having been sanctioned by Governor Carondelet as the official news organ of the government. As the town became more cosmopolitan news sheets were published in other languages, but few of these survived for more than a year or so. The foreign-language presses were operated on Chartres Street, in the Vieux Carre, while most of the English publications were issued from offices along Camp Street, known in the early days as 'Newspaper Row.'
During the early part of the nineteenth century a number of newspapers made their appearance, the most important of which were the Louisiana Gazette (first English paper), L'Ami des Lois, Le Courrier de la Louisiane, and L'Abeille. The most successful and probably the best known of these was L'Abeille, a French newspaper established in 1827 by Francois Delaup. This publication was issued continuously in both French and English for almost fifty years. In 1872 the English editions were discontinued, and early in February 1921 the paper was purchased by the Times-Picayune Publishing Company. Under the new management L'Abeille was issued weekly until 1925 when, after almost a century of publication, an editorial, 'La Fin de l'Abeille,' announced that the paper was going out of existence.
The history of the Times-Picayune, the oldest present-day newspaper in New Orleans, epitomizes a century of journalistic development in Louisiana during which only those papers which combined with others attained any degree of longevity. The Picayune, established in 1837 by Francis Asbury Lumsden and George Wilkins Kendall, began a new era in Southern journalism. Patterned after the 'Penny Press' of the North, it sold for a picayune, whence its name. The word 'picayune' is the Anglicized form of picaillon, a term then in use in New Orleans to designate the smallest current coin, a piece of silver worth about six and one-fourth cents.
G. W. Kendall, while reporting the Mexican War, gained national renown for the Picayune by using a pony express to relay his copy to New Orleans, where it was first published before being forwarded to the East. The Picayune is given credit for being the first to use this method of news transmission.
In 1874, at the death of E. J. Holbrook, editor, the management of the Picayune was taken over by his widow, better known as the poet, Pearl Rivers. Mrs. Holbrook is said to have been the first woman in the world to edit a metropolitan daily, and the first woman in the South to enter journalism as a profession.
Dorothy Dix (Mrs. Elizabeth M. Gilmer) came to New Orleans in 1896 and has maintained an 'advice to the lovelorn' column for the Picayune over a period of forty years an unsurpassed record for newspaper features.
The present Times-Picayune is the result of numerous newspaper mergers since the Civil War; the New Orleans Times absorbed the Crescent in 1868 and in turn combined with the Democrat to form the Times-Democrat in 1881, which merged with the Picayune in 1914 to form the Times-Picayune. The Democrat had been established in 1875 with Richard Tyler, son of President Tyler, as its first editor. Le Propagateur Catholique and the Deutsches Zeitung were both founded before the Civil War and published for several years.
Before the outbreak of the War Between the States, Gallic journalism in New Orleans had increased in importance and prestige. At this period there began a definite decline in the use of the French language, the reason for which is readily apparent. Post-war poverty forced the once, wealthy Creole planters to forego their frequent visits abroad, and their sons were placed in the public schools of New Orleans instead of the universities of Europe. Here the students were taught the English language, a fact which resulted in a gradual break with French culture and tradition, and a waning of the influence of the French press. Subsequent writers have deplored the fate of the French newspapers, and the passing of the gay and witty Creole editors who were ' equally at home with pen, pistol and sword, and who lent such spice and color' to New Orleans journalism. Today there is only one French newspaper, Le Courrier de la Nouvelle Orleans.
The most important newspapers at present published in New Orleans, in addition to the Times-Picayune and the Item, are the States, an evening daily founded in 1880 and owned and published by the Times-Picayune Publishing Company, and the Morning Tribune, established in 1924 and now a tabloid, published by the Item. In addition to these there are more than forty other news publications issued regularly in the city, including weekly, monthly, and quarterly periodicals. Among these are several commercial, labor, trade, school, and religious publications.
The New Orleans Item, founded June 11, 1877, is said to be the oldest afternoon newspaper in the South. The paper was established by eleven journeymen printers, who, out of work, banded together to form a co-operative news publication. Mark Bigney was made managing editor with Edwin L. Jewel assistant. At the end of the first week, when the profits were distributed, each member of the staff received $2.65.
In June of the following year, Lafcadio Hearn, who had spent a miserable seven months in New Orleans, sick, hungry, and out of work, was introduced to the editor of the Item as a literary fellow 'after your own heart.' When Hearn's experience as a journalist in Cincinnati became known, he was given work as 'assistant,' with a salary of ten dollars a week. Hearn's literary ability was recognized almost immediately, and he was soon given a free hand in molding the policies of the Item. Within a few months the paper had changed from a dry colorless sheet of advertisements, letters, and excerpts from foreign papers to a flourishing publication filled with local and national events, literary criticisms, dramatic reviews, poems, and cartoons. Hearn was soon serving, not only as chief editorial writer, but cartoonist and critic as well.
In 1881 John W. Fairfax gained controlling interest of the paper, retaining Bigney as editor until the latter's death in 1886. During these years the Item employed a number of prominent writers on its staff, including, among others, J. B. Wilkinson, Henry Guy Carleton, Judge Alexander Walker, and Thomas G. Tracey.
When Fairfax sold the paper in 1894 it was purchased by Dominick O'Malley, a stormy Irishman who had come to New Orleans from Cincinnati shortly before. Scathing editorials began to appear in the columns of the Item, as O'Malley denounced the political scandals of what he contemptuously dubbed the 'boodle council.' Fist fights and cane lashings, as a result of these editorials, were frequent occurrences, with fatalities not uncommon.
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St. Tammany Farmer 9-Oct-1915
Straight News Publications
American Progress, 822 Perdido St., published monthly by John D. Klorer, is a political organ established in 1933 by the late Senator Huey P. Long. It carries no advertising and is not published for profit.
Herald, 1124 Lafayette St. (Algiers), is a weekly newspaper published each Thursday by Dr. C. V. Kraft.
Louisiana Weekly, 632 S. Rampart St., is a Negro publication edited by Mayme Osby Brown.
Morning Tribune, 722-730 Union St., is a tabloid published daily except Sundays, when it is combined with the New Orleans Item. The paper is edited by Marshall Ballard.
New Orleans Item, 722-730 Union St., edited by Marshall Ballard, is a daily evening newspaper which combines with the Morning Tribune on Sundays.
New Orleans States, 615 North St., a daily evening newspaper edited by J. E. Crown, is under the same management as the Times-Picayune, having been purchased by the latter in 1933.
Times-Picayune, 615 North St., edited by L. K. Nicholson, is the oldest daily newspaper published in New Orleans, having been founded in 1837.
Weekly Crusader, 417 Canal Bank Building, is published by Sidney W. Keats.
Foreign Language Publications
Courrier de la Nouvelle Orleans (New Orleans Courier), 702 Camp St., printed in both English and French, is published twice a month by Andre Lafargue and Mrs. J. G. de Baroncelli.
Deutsche Zeitung (The German Gazette), 200 South Galvez St., edited by Walter Zachiedrich, is published weekly by the Deutsches Haus for members of the organization.
II Messaggero (The Messenger), 941 Royal St., an Italian weekly, is edited by Paul Montelepre.
La Voce Coloniale (The Colonial Voice), 604 Iberville St., an Italian weekly, is edited by Joseph R. Colleta.
Vox Latina (The Latin Voice), 702 Canal St., a Spanish newspaper, is published twice a month by Joaquin Barcenas.
Labor, Trade, and Commercial Journals
American Cotton Grower, 535 Gravier St., is published monthly under the editorship of Stanley Andrews.
American Insurer, 217 Carondelet St., is published monthly by Louis Phillips.
Cotton Trade Journal, 810 Union St., is published weekly under the editorship of Will Branan.
Daily Journal of Commerce, 427 Camp St., is edited by A. L. France and E. Washofsky.
Federationist, 520 Conti St., is published each Friday by William L. Donnels.
Louisiana Grocer, 217 Pan-American Building, is published monthly by the Retail Grocers' Association.
New Orleans Medical and Surgical Journal, 1430 Tulane Ave., edited by John H. Musser, is published by the Louisiana State Medical Society. Proceedings of the Louisiana Engineering Society is published bi-monthly by the Louisiana Engineering Society, with James M. Robert as editor.
Rice, Sugar, and Coffee Journal, 201 Bienville St., the official organ of the respective industries in the South, is edited and published by R. J. Martinez.
Southern Plumber, 207 Board of Trade Annex, edited by Theodore A. Walters, is published monthly by the New Orleans Association of Master Plumbers.
Sugar Bulletin, 407 Carondelet St., is published bi-monthly by Reginald Dykers.
School and Religious Publications
Catholic Action of the South, 712 Louisiana Building, is published weekly by the Rev. Peter M. H. Wynhoven.
Christian Advocate of the Southwest, 631 Baronne St., is a colored publication issued monthly by L. H. King.
Jewish Ledger, 938 Lafayette St., is published weekly by Dr. Mendel Silber.
Lagniappe, Newcomb College, is published quarterly by Newcomb College students.
Maroon, Loyola University, is published weekly during the regular school session by Loyola students.
New Orleans Christian Advocate, 512 Camp St., is published each Thursday by W. L. Duren.
Tulane Hullabaloo, Bienville Hall, Tulane University, is published weekly by Tulane students.
Court Records, 430 Chartres St., is published daily by K. P. Montgomery.
Louisiana Conservation Review, Department of Conservation, New Orleans Courthouse Building, 400 Royal St., is published quarterly with James P. Guillot as editor. Free distribution.
Louisiana Digest, edited by E. R. Greenlaw, 6831 West End Boulevard, is the official journal of the Police Jury Association of Louisiana, and is published monthly.
Menagerie, 2640 Upperline St., is a small literary magazine published irregularly by Bennett Augustin.
New Orleans Directory, published annually by Soards, 502 Stern Building, 548 Baronne St.
Police Reporter, 623 Godchaux Building, John C. Roth, editor, is published weekly.
The New Orleans newspapers admirably reflect the life, spirit and sentiment of the community in which they are published, and their management is thoroughly en rapport with popular feeling hereabouts as to the province of journalism. If anywhere in America the line is judiciously drawn between news and that vicious scandal-mongering which is deprecatingly termed "sensationalism," and yet is made a distinctive policy in other places, it is in the Cresent City. The dignified, and yet spirited conduct of the principal New Orleans dailies, might well be emulated by these news-scavengers. The leading newspapers are: La Abeille de Nouvelle Orleans (The Bee) the Picayune, the Times- Democrat , the States and Item^ the last two evening publications.
LA ABEILLE DE NOUVELLE ORLEANS.
The oldest journal of the southwest, issued its first number Sept. 1st, 1827. At first it was published only in the French language, but in a few months an English side was added to the paper, and subsequently a Spanish department was supplemented. For many years this journal wielded great influence, the ability and enterprise displayed at its inception speedily obtaining recognition for it. Changes in the proprietorship and momentous political events varied its policy, so that it was successively Democratic, Whig, and, for a brief period before the war, Republican; but the opening of hostilities enlisted it in support of the Southern cause. During the occupation of the city by Butler, its plant was seized, and for a short time publication was suspended. After the war, like other organs of public opinion in this section, it espoused the side of the Democratic party. In 1872, it was determined to continue it as a journal of the French language exclusively, and this course has since been followed. Owing to the character of the Louisiana population, it finds in this direction a sufficient field. Alexander Bullitt, who retired from management upon the defeat of Henry Clay for the Presidency, Dr. Samuel Harby, the English, and Numa Dufour, French editor, were prominent figures of this community in their day. Messrs. Oscar Donnet and Edgar Dufour are the present proprietors.
THE NEW ORLEANS PICAYUNE.
The first issue of this superior newspaper bears date of Jan. 25th, 1837. The brilliant and adventuresome George Wilkins Kendall, a co-laborer with Horace Greeley, and F. A. Lumsden of North Carolina, also a man of fine attainments, were its founders. Their venture was a success from the start. Kendall was afterward distinguished as one of the foremost pioneers of the State of Texas, participating there in the early trials of the settlers in that Commonwealth, and undergoing persecution at the hands of the then hostile Mexicans. He died in 1867. Lumsden was drowned in a disaster in Lake Michigan in September of 1860.
A. M. Holbrook was, for many years following 1839, the business manager. Under his direction, the paper prospered wonderfully. Alexander C. Bullitt, afterward the conductor of the chief organ of the Whig party, the Washington Republic held an interest for a time after 1844. Samuel F. Wilson was editorial manager from 1850 for twenty years, and until his death. Barnwell Rhett was a writer for it. A stock company bought the paper in 1872, and in 1875, Mrs. E. J. Holbrook (Pearl Rivers) became the proprietress. Mr George Nicholson, the business manager, was admitted to a partnership with her, and the difficulties growing out of the war, and subsequent hard times, were gradually overcome. Mrs Holbrook and Mr. Nicholson were married in 1878, the firm name now being Nicholson & Co. The Picayune is regalded as entirely reliable, and faithful to the high calling which it represents.
The remarkable success of this newspaper since the consolidation indicated by its title, is undoubtedly due to the administrative ability of its manager, the distinguished Major E. A. Burke, State Treasurer of Louisiana, and Director-General of the Exposition. The Times-Democrat first appeared December 4th, 1881. It is a combination of the business of two newspapers, the Times, established in 1863, and the Democrat, started in 1875, Major Burke was managing editor of the latter paper. Through his efforts the Times, which was for sale, was absorbed by the Democrat, a joint stock company, in which Mrs. Sue A. Burke had a controlling interest, acquiring the property. Under Major Burke's vigorous direction the patronage of the newspaper has so expanded that it is now rated with the great journals of America. The positions of trust and honor to which Major Burke has been chosen illustrate the influence of this powerful organ, as much as the esteem in which he is personally held. This newspaper is not behind any in the land in a single essential particular, and is especially noticeable for the lead it takes upon all questions of great moment in this community, such as the Exposition and the South American trade revival. Commercial reports are made a special feature by the Times-Democrat and much of the data in this work comes from its columns.
OTHER DAILY ISSUES.
Major H. J. Hearsey, a writer with a national reputation, runs that sprightly evening daily, the States. It has met with public favor, and has a great sale on Sundays.
The Daily City Item is edited and published by M. F. Bigneg. It has a handsome patronage and is much approved for its independence. In politics it opposes all its competitors, the Republican party having its most loyal support.
The Deutsche Zeitiing dispenses the happenings of the day to a German constituencv in the language of the Fatherland. Jacob Hassinger, its editor, is a journalist of more than local reputation.
The Price-Current, established so far back as 1822, has recently been made a commercial daily. It is an acknowledged authority in all this section upon matters within its field. Louis J. Bright & Co. are its proprietors.
The Sugar Bowl is, a well conducted weekly Trade Journal.
The Mascot, best appreciated for the pungency of its paragraphs, and the suggestiveness of its caricatures, is a weekly conducted by the Mascot Publishing Company.
The Propagateur Catholiquie, a journal whose name explains its purpose, is published weekly in the French language, by A. Lutton & Co.
The Morning Star is a Catholic weekly which also makes a feature of secular matter for family reading. It has therefore a wide circulation.
The Jewish South is the organ of the residents of Hebrew faith.
The South Western Christian Advocate and the Christian Advocate are respectively the journals of the Methddist denomination, and the Methodist Church South.