admitted wayfarers and revealed her sadist practices. The inter-racial matings, while on the basis
of concubinage instead of marriage, were constant enough to yield numerous progeny, some of
whom in the course of generations were paler than quadroons. Yellow fever was true enough, if
not in actual February; and the mud was not to be gainsaid.
The city was at the same time French and English, Southern and Western, cosmopolitan and
unique. The rectangle within the demolished colonial ramparts was the French Quarter, from
which the Creole population expanded for some distance down- stream. The narrow streets of old
were built solid with houses of Spanish or French type, with grilled balconies overhanging the
sidewalks and covered ways leading to courtyards at the rear. Among the public buildings were the
French Market near the levee, thronged in early morning with chaffering vendors of all things
edible, the Cathedral, the Archbishop’s house, the Cabildo with prison cells in its courtyard, the
huge Hotel Royal with a famous block for the auction of slaves in its rotunda, and the Opera House
whose stage was extended for dancing at the masked balls of Mardi Gras. This quarter had its own
banks and business houses.
Above the linguistic border at Canal Street lay the ever- growing “American” city, with warehouses
and cotton com- presses paralleling the roofless wharves of the levee. Behind these was a cluster
of wholesale and plantation-supply houses, then a line of retail shops and theaters with the great
portico of the St. Charles Hotel in their midst. Next beyond St. Charles lay Carondelet, the street of
banks and counting houses, its flagged sidewalks crowded in season with bargaining brokers.