The Paris of the South

In reading Interview with the Vampire, I came across this line about Paris:

It was the mother of New Orleans, understand that first; it had given New Orleans its life, its first populace; and it was what New Orleans had for so long tried to be. But New Orleans, though beautiful and desperately alive, was desperately fragile. There was something forever savage and primitive there, something that threatened the exotic and sophisticated life both from within and without. Not an inch of those wooden streets nor a brick of the crowded Spanish houses had not been bought from the fierce wilderness that forever surrounded the city, ready to engulf it. Hurricanes, floods, fevers, the plague — and the damp of the Louisiana climate itself worked tirelessly on every hewn plank or stone facade, so that New Orleans seemed at all times like a dream in the imagination of her striving populace, a dream held intact at every second by a tenacious, though unconscious, collective will.

That got me thinking about the connection between Paris and New Orleans. I will be visiting Paris for the first time next month before moving to New Orleans in August. I know their histories are deeply connected, but I don’t know many of the details and I don’t know if there still exists a strong connection between the two cities.

I started out my search for information by looking at this current comparison of the two cities. The site was helpful; not only did it give me facts on population and size, but it also gave me local places to check out in both cities.

Then to delve deeper into the history of the Creole people in New Orleans (descendants of the original French colonists), I found this article by a history professor at the University of New Orleans. It specifically outlines what people who are new to New Orleans should know about its history and culture.

I also found this novel — and you know I love reading novels to find out about the history of a place. The novel describes the life of a Creole women during the Civil War who leaves America for Paris. I’ll let you know how it is when it comes in the mail!

And one more random thing that I have to include because I’m a girl: This Custom Millinery and Couture shop in New Orleans that just seems to me like a real-world, current example of the link between the city and Paris.


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