In the decade preceding the Civil War, New Orleans was a boisterous port with one of the most diverse populations in the world. But the city was enjoying a transient heyday, soon to be replaced by devastation and Reconstruction.
During the mid-nineteenth century, commerce, culture, architecture, education, and other important facets of life reached their zenith in the fabled Crescent City. But beneath the outwardly carefree surface, yellow fever and typhus claimed thousands of lives every year, branding New Orleans “the most unhealthy city in the world.”
In this detailed account of an exciting era, Professor Robert C. Reinders weaves the colorful tapestry of a city in its prime; yet what he presents is a New Orleans devoid of many of the legends and myths that have surrounded the city’s history. According to Reinders, the Creole aristocracy of the 1850s was a bold lot, much shrewder than has been assumed, with effective commercial ties to American merchants, as well as cultural ties to native France.
With more than sixty illustrations and photographs of the city and its key personalities from this period, the New Orleans that emerges in End of an Era is even more fascinating than the one of storied fame.