Louisiana Division/City Archives   New Orleans Public Library

Image of the Month
July 2011

This photograph was entered into evidence in the Civil District Court suit (#153662) brought in 1924 by the City of New Orleans against Mrs. Louise Simon. The expropriation suit was part of the city's project to connect North Rampart Street to a widened St. Claude Avenue via what is now known as McShane Place. Mrs. Simon's lots at the corner of St. Claude (recently renamed in honor of Henriette Delille, founder of the Sisters of the Holy Family) and St. Anthony Streets were just two of many needed for the change to be put into effect. Mrs. Simon eventually settled with the city and her three cottages (shown at the right in the photograph) were demolished to allow the street improvements to proceed. Today only a small part of her lots, too small for any structures, remains on the map; all the rest of the Simon property--and the remainder of the square--is taken up by McShane Place and its neutral ground.

The irregular lines running across the image are actually cracks in the surface of the original photograph. The cracks are the result of the photograph being folded up, along with the other documents filed in the suit, so as to fit into the approximately four-inch wide steel pigeonhole cases that served as storage for the Court's archives. More than fifty years later, after the Court had deposited its older records in the City Archives, the photograph was separated from the suit record, flattened (more or less), and dry mounted onto acid-free board. We're not sure that this was the absolute best treatment that could have been accorded the old photograph, but it did have the effect of stabilizing it and making it possible for researchers to access it. Now, thanks to the wonders of digitalization, it is instantly accessible to anyone who is interested in a fragment of the city that "ain't dere no more."

Click the image to see a larger version.

Click HERE to visit our old (1996-2007) Images of the Month Gallery archives.

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