NOLA 300 / "New Orleans: The Founding Era" Exhibit Opening at The Historic New Orleans Collection
For the first time, over 75 items on-lend from institutions around the world have been brought together to help tell the story of the first few decades of life in the city of New Orleans, in commemoration of the city’s 300th anniversary. The bilingual companion catalogue, made possible through fundraising efforts of the Consulate General of France in New Orleans, includes a preface by Ambassador Gérard Araud.
The opening ceremony took place on Royal Street just outside The Historic New Orleans Collection on February 27, 2018.
Despite the threat of rain, a substantial crowd gathered to hear from Mark Romig, President and CEO of the New Orleans Tourism and Marketing Corporation, Priscilla Lawrence, Executive Director of the Historic New Orleans Collection, Erin M. Greenwald, Curator of New Orleans, The Founding Era, Vincent Sciama, Consul General of France in Louisiana, Mitch Landrieu, Mayor of New Orleans, and John M. Hairston, President and CEO of Hancock Holding Company.
During his speech, M. Sciama praised The Historic New Orleans Collection for bringing together many diverse items from around the world. As a representative of the French Republic in Louisiana, he reminded all of the unique relationship between France and New Orleans:
"References to our language and culture can be found all over the city. You can take a stroll down Toulouse Street or Bourbon Street. You can drink café au lait, you can live in the Faubourg Marigny or the Tremé. We are currently in the Quartier Français, we just celebrated Mardi Gras, the list goes on and on! As we stand here now, we the French people are very proud to have helped establish a city like no other. The Crescent City is a jewel shared by the Unites States and France, a symbol of the lasting alliance between our two countries"
The display features works on paper, ethnographic and archaeological artifacts, scientific and religious instruments, paintings, maps and charts, manuscripts and rare books. Large-scale reproductions and interactive items accompany these original objects. In many cases, items on display traveled to New Orleans for the first time in centuries.
The following French institutions lent items for the exhibit:
Archives Nationales d’Outre Mer (ANOM)
Archives Nationales de France
Bibliothèque Nationale de France
Bibliothèque de l’Observatoire de Maris-Meudon
Musée National des Châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon
Petit Palais, Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris
Musée du Quai Branly
Service Historique de la Défense, Château de Vincennes
Charles de Lassus Saint Geniès
"As a curator, having the support of these institutions, as well as access to the unparalleled knowledge of their staffs, has made this exhibition possible. We cannot thank them enough for entrusting their precious artifacts to The Historic New Orleans Collection", said Erin Greenwald, who started this exhibition during her tenure at THNOC and is now curator of programs at the New Orleans Museum of Art.
We are especially pleased to introduce the exhibitions’ bilingual companion catalogue, with a preface by French Ambassador to the US Gérard Araud and essays by scholars from France and the United States. The following individuals contributed to the publication: Robbie Ethridge, Cécile Vidal, Gilles-Antoine Langlois, Emily Clark, Yevan Terrien, Daniel H. Usner, Shannon Lee Dawdy, Erin Greenwald (editor), Henry Colomer (translator).
This book was made possible thanks to the generous support of organizations and individuals dedicated to maintaining the relationship between France and New Orleans: 2018 NOLA Foundation, Air Liquide, L’Alliance Française de La Nouvelle-Orléans, Council of French Societies in New Orleans, France-Louisiane Franco Américaine Association, Les Causeries du Lundi, L’Union Française, French-American Chamber of Commerce - Gulf Coast Chapter, IBERIABANK, and E. Alexandra Stafford.
Images courtesy of The Historic New Orleans Collection