The Shop at The Historic New Orleans Collection has launched a new annual series where they have compiled a list of influential people that have impacted the city of New Orleans. For 2023, the shop has chosen to highlight Micaëla Almonester (The Baroness de Pontalba), Henrietta Delile, Lafcadio Hearn, Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe (Jelly Roll Morton), Mahalia Jackson, and Oscar Dunn. All six of these prominent figures are significant to the city’s history and culture.
1. Micaëla Almonester, The Baroness de Pontalba, saw how neglected the area around Jackson Square was and decided to demolish run-down properties to renovate the area—many of these changes are still in place today.
2. Henrietta Delile was a Catholic nun that devoted her life to sharing religion with the enslaved people of the United States. Eventually, she founded the second Black religious order in the country.
3. Lafcadio Hearn was a Greek, Irish, and Japanese writer and teacher who wrote about New Orleans’s Creole culture and its special Caribbean and European attributes.
4. Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe, also known as Jelly Roll Morton, was a jazz pianist, bandleader, and composer. He was one of jazz’s first arrangers, proving that the music genre could thrive through composition.
5. Mahalia Jackson was a talented vocalist and civil rights activist who used her stage presence to attract international attention to gospel music.
6. Oscar Dunn served on New Orleans’s City Council and as the first black Lieutenant Governor in the United States.
Do any of these stories resonate with you? The shop worked with a local artist to design mugs, totes, and lapel pins that feature these hometown heroes! The Shop at the Historic New Orleans Collection will continue this series each year, launching a new set of hometown heroes at the beginning of 2024.
Stop by the shop, or click here to browse the collection online and learn more about these proactive individuals.
The Shop at The Historic New Orleans Collection is located at 520 Royal Street