Louisiana Division
New Orleans Public Library
Administrations of the Mayors of New Orleans
Denis Prieur (1791-1857)
Denis Prieur, a Creole, born in 1791, was elected the eighth mayor of New Orleans and took office May 12, 1828. Previous to his election he had satisfactorily performed the duties of City Recorder and was brought out by the Jacksonites as their standard-bearer. The Jackson Partisans, made much ado over his victory, defeating the Adam’s faction, a “ring” as it would be called today. From this regime originated the democratic organization of Louisiana. The Adam’s faction had named A. Peuchaud, another prominent Creole, for their candidate.

Denis Prieur was re-elected unanimously each term during a period of ten years. His mayoralty was eventful because it illustrates the extent of political animosities in those days. A federalist, by the name of William Harper was elected to the City Council at the time Prieur became Mayor and his policies were entirely different from those of Prieur’s. The papers of that period fully described the wars waged against each other on account of their opposite policies.

He was re-elected by the Democratic Party April 4, 1842 and served until February 7, 1843 when he resigned to take charge of the office of Mortgage Registrar to which position he was appointed by the Governor of the State of Louisiana.

The disorderly conduct of the lawless element in the community caused the mayor to take drastic measures and he organized the “Square Watch” which superseded the militia patrol and thereby tried to suppress the plundering and robbery that was prevalent at that time.

In 1828 the legislature of Louisiana passed a law prohibiting the exhibition of Negroes for sale in the more frequented parts of the city. The mayor condemned the mal-treatment and frightful abuse of slaves. These changes were approved. John Holland, the sheriff and a large number of local troops proceeded to a certain scene to avert an insurrection among the slaves. The adventures of Bras Coupe were of great interest at that time because the white population in those days greatly feared him and newspapers advertised a reward for the capture of fugitive slaves.

In 1829 Donaldsonville became the State Capital, possibly because the legislature had no place to meet due to the burning of the State Court House in New Orleans and also because it was deemed unwise to expose the members to the temptations of the pleasures and distractions of city life.

This did not last long, for in 1831 the seat of Government was returned to New Orleans. A year later the buildings occupied by the Charity Hospital located at Common and Baronne Streets became vacant, by the removal of the institution to its present site on Tulane Avenue. They then became the property of the State and were used as the home of the various governmental departments and as the meeting place of both branches of legislature during the following sixteen years.

On February 7, 1829 the New Orleans Gas Light Company was incorporated. The capital of the company was $100,000, with the privilege to increase to any amount not exceeding $300,000.

On March 8, 1836 a new charter divided the city into three municipalities, each with its own board of alderman, but under one mayor and one General Council represented by members of the three Municipal Councils.

An epidemic of cholera broke out in 1832 in which the defective water was thought to be the cause. Six thousand persons perished within twelve days. One hospital deserted by physicians and attendants, was found filled with corpses, and the ghastly contents as well as the buildings were ordered to be burned.

In 1834 the First Presbyterian Church was built facing Lafayette Square. The St. Charles Theatre was built in 1836 at the cost of $350,000 and the first St. Charles Hotel was completed in 1838 costing $600,000.

On My 13, 1837 the disaster with which Louisiana had been threatened for a long time, finally fell upon her. Fourteen New Orleans Banks suspended specie payments. As an emergency measure and to afford the community temporary relief, the three municipalities of New Orleans each issued bills amounting to as much as four dollars, but within a short time private companies and even individuals claimed the same privilege so that the State was inundated with rag money.

One of the direct causes for this condition was the fact that too much attention was being given to the cultivation of cotton which was bringing a higher price than sugar. After 1840, however, a new tariff brought up the price of sugar, which became again the great staple of Louisiana.

Mention of the death of two of Louisiana’s citizens famous in history, which concurred during Prieur’s administration, may be made:

Father Antonio de Sedella, better known as Pere Antoine, a Capuchin friar, passed away on January 19, 1829 amid the love and tears of the whole city. This wonderful old man, adored for his benevolence, came to the province of Louisiana in 1779. He is supposed to have performed nearly one half of the marriage and funeral ceremonies for the inhabitants of the city, until his death, at the ripe old age of 90. He lies buried at the foot of the altar of the St. Louis Cathedral, of which he was the Cure (or pastor) for the parish, for nearly fifty years. The St. Louis Cathedral, an ancient and interesting edifice of New Orleans facing Jackson Square or “Place d’Arms” as it was known in those days, stands today on the very site where the first house of worship was erected by Bienville and his pioneers in 1718. It is filled with historic lore and has witnessed the principal events which occurred since the founding of the city up to the present time. The local Masonic Fraternities took a conspicuous part in the funeral procession. A notice in the Louisiana Courier of 1829 reads as follows: “Masons of all rites and of all degrees, to you we address ourselves, remember that Father Antoine never refused to accompany to their last abode the mortal remains of our brethren and that gratitude now requires that we should in turn accompany him with respect and veneration he so well deserved.”

Captain Dominique You, the pirate, well known for his courage and intrepidity, cherished and esteemed by every American and mostly by every native of Louisiana for the signal services which he rendered this State and the Union during the invasion of the British, died the following year, November 15, 1830. He was never favored by fortune and died almost in want, but no sooner did his death become known to the members of the City Council, then they hastened to pay the sacred debt which the city owed this brave man for his efforts, by furnishing him with a suitable funeral which took place from his residence corner Mandeville and Love Street. He is buried in St. Louis Cemetery number two.
Two other men worthy of note in New Orleans who passed away at that time, were Governor Pierre Derbigny, who died on the 6th of October, and J. W. Smith, Judge of the Criminal Court, who died on the 7th of November.

Denis Prieur was the Democratic candidate for Governor at one time, but was not elected; he was, however, Collector of Customs.

Mr. Prieur was a man of chivalrous instincts, a noble type of his race, popular with all classes of society, brave, charitable and accessible to all.

He died on November 9, 1857 at the age of 66, from a paralytic stroke. His funeral, which took place from the residence of his sister, Mrs. Le Monier, 193 Canal Street, was one of the largest ever held in New Orleans.

Members of the Prieur Administration
April 4, 1842-February 7, 1843

Name Office District Notes
Bertus, P. Recorder First Mun.
Baldwin, J. Recorder Second Mun.
Lewis, A. J. Recorder Third Mun.
Bertus, Paul Secretary First Mun.
Smith, Percifor F. Secretary Second Mun.
St. Amand, J. B. S. Secretary Third Mun.
Purdon, James St. Mary Market Second Mun.
Communy, J. Surveyor First Mun.
Surgi, L. Surveyor First Mun. Deputy
Pilie, Jos. Surveyor Second Mun.
D'Hemecourt, J. A. Surveyor Third Mun.
Liautaud, A. Tax Collector on Public Houses First Mun.
Montamat, L. Tax Collector on Public Houses Third Mun.
Rieffel, A. Tax Collector on Steamboats First Mun.
Lambert, J. D. Tax Collector on Vehicles First Mun.
Wheaton, W. H. Tax Collector on Vehicles Second Mun.
Guirot, A. J. Treasurer First Mun.
Duplessis, T. Treasurer First Mun.
Sloo, Thomas, Jr. Treasurer Second Mun.
Dugarry, J. F. Treasurer Third Mun.
Montamat, L. Treasurer Third Mun.
Manchon, D. Vegetable Market First Mun.
Planchard, E. Warden of the Jail First Mun.
Lange, O. Wharfinger First Mun.
Butler, John R. Wharfinger Second Mun.
Masicot, J. B. Wharfinger Third Mun.
Wiltz, T. Wharfinger Third Mun.
Bodin, A. Attorney First Mun.
Roselius, C. Attorney First Mun.
Rawle, Ed. Attorney Second Mun.
Magiony, J. Attorney Third Mun.
Canon, E. A. Attorney Third Mun.
Dutillot, F. Auctioneer First Mun.
Canon, T. Keeper of the Cemetery First Mun.
Heno, Geo. Meat Market First Mun.
Cuvillier, Jos. Notary 1st & 3rd. Mun.
Marks, Jos. B. Notary Second Mun.
Tricou, H. Physician of the Jail First Mun.
Osborne, J. Q. Physician of the Jail Second Mun.
Lewis, J. H. Physician of the Jail Third Mun.
Lynd, H. J. Police Commissioner 1st Mun./1st Dist.
Viot, S. Police Commissioner 1st Mun./2nd Dist.
Crevon, E. Police Commissioner 1st Mun./3rd Dist.
Corrico, Geo Police Commissioner 2nd Mun./1st Dist.
Leonard, Chas. Police Commissioner 2nd Mun./2nd Dist.
Wells, N. E. Police Commissioner 2nd Mun./3rd Dist.
Frederick, U. Police Commissioner 3rd Mun./1st Dist.
LeBlanc, V. Police Commissioner 3rd Mun./2nd Dist.
Guerin, L. Police Commissioner 3rd Mun./3rd Dist.
Brugier, A. Police Commissioner 3rd Mun./4th Dist.
Lafferenderie, J. M. Port Market Third Mun.
O'Grady, J. C. Poydras Market Second Mun.
de St. Romes, J. C. Printer 1st & 3rd Mun.
Rea & Beardslea Printer Second Mun.
Fortier, F. N. General Council First Mun.
Doriocourt, A. General Council First Mun.
Buisson, A. General Council First Mun.
Soule, P. General Council First Mun.
Rogers, D. J. General Council Second Mun.
Avery, W. H. General Council Second Mun.
Leverich, J. H. General Council Second Mun.
Marigny, B. General Council Third Mun.
Delassus, A. General Council Third Mun.
Coquet, F. General Council Third Mun.
Cuvillier, A. General Council Third Mun.
Soniat, E. Aldermen First Mun. Fourth Ward
Latour, Z. Aldermen First Mun. Fifth Ward
Canon, E. A. Aldermen First Mun. Fourth Ward
Peire, H. D. Aldermen First Mun. Third Ward
Cruzat, M. Aldermen First Mun. Third Ward
McNeil, S. D Aldermen First Mun. First Ward
Ramos, C. Aldermen First Mun. Fifth Ward
Musson, G. Aldermen First Mun. First Ward
Montegut, E. Aldermen First Mun. Second Ward
Meynier, A. Aldermen First Mun. Second Ward
Blondeau, A. Aldermen First Mun. First Ward
Taney, C. H. Aldermen First Mun. First Ward
Banks, T. Aldermen Second Mun. First Ward
Jordy, F. Aldermen Second Mun. First Ward
Lavillebeuvre, J. U. Aldermen Second Mun. First Ward
Peters, S. J. Aldermen Second Mun. Second Ward
Lockett, H. Aldermen Second Mun. Second Ward
Caldwell, J. H. Aldermen Second Mun. First Ward
Walton, J. B. Aldermen Second Mun. Second Ward
Whitney, B. Aldermen Second Mun. Third Ward
Hall, J. Aldermen Second Mun. Third Ward
Ross, J. Aldermen Second Mun. Third Ward
Simpson, A. P. Aldermen Second Mun. Third Ward
Hill, Allen Aldermen Second Mun. Second Ward
De Buys, W. Aldermen Third Mun. Third Ward
Leffe, J. B. Aldermen Third Mun. Second Ward
Charbonnet, P. A. Aldermen Third Mun. Fourth Ward
Dupre, A. Aldermen Third Mun. Third Ward
Lewis, W. Aldermen Third Mun. First Ward
Naudaud, D. O. Aldermen Third Mun. First Ward
Guillet, A. Aldermen Third Mun. Second Ward

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