A criminal lawyer and popular journalist, Henry C. Castellanos lived nearly three-quarters of the nineteenth century in New Orleans. In his later years, between 1892 and 1895, he wrote more than 120 articles for the Times-Democrat on the history and mores of his beloved city, and in 1895 he published a selection of those episodes in New Orleans as It Was. This facsimile reproduction of the volume includes a new introduction by historian Judith Kelleher Schafer, which pieces together the little-known life of Castellanos and provides insights about a period when New Orleans was the queen city of the South.
Castellanos's collection of vignettes, incidents, anecdotes, personalities, and descriptions focuses on the years 1820 to 1860 and reflects the interests of a city newspaperman. The reader encounters duels, voodoos, executions, and piracy, and meets mayors, generals, slaves, masters, princes, paupers, judges, prisoners, and jailers. Castellanos describes in detail buildings, public parks, suburbs, notable houses, churches, and neighboring plantations as well as the characteristics, customs, dress, food, and amusements of New Orleanians. In capturing what he called New Orleans's "unwritten history," Castellanos brings alive for readers today America's most interesting city at a younger age.
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