Today we are proud to publish Nathalie Dessens’ Creole City: A Chronicle of Early New American New Orleans.
Modern New Orleans is known as a vibrant, cosmopolitan city, symbolizing progress, adventure, and culture. Exploring previously neglected aspects of this city’s early nineteenth-century history, Nathalie Dessens opens a window onto antebellum New Orleans during a period of rapid expansion and dizzying change.
The story–rooted in the Sainte-Geme Family Papers harbored at The Historic New Orleans collection–follows the twenty-year correspondence of Jean Boze to Henri de Ste-Geme, both refugees from Saint-Domingue.
Through Boze’s letters, readers witness the convergence and merging of cultural attitudes as new arrivals and old colonial populations collide. The Creolization of the city is thus revealed to be at the very heart of New Orlean’s early identity and made this key hub of Atlantic trade so very distinct from other nineteenth-century American metropolises.
Nathalie Dessens, professor of American history at the University of Toulouse-Jean Jaures, is the author of Myths of the Plantation Society: Slavery in the American South and the West Indies and From Saint-Domingue to New Orleans: Migration and Influences.