A City of Chameleons

Reimagining New Orleans

The redoubt at Chalmette, 1815, by Stoops
Reimagining New Orleans

New Orleans remains a strange mixture of history and myth, learned and loved in the same places and days. It is the imagination which teaches history there. Hearing a choir in the Cathedral, watching a genteel music performance at the Grima house, walking and smelling and feeling the cobblestone streets in a late rain, waiting behind the ramparts at Chalmette in the morning for the sounds of impending battle, listening to the tales told on front steps and porches, in timelessly dark bars, in a pirogue on the lake - this is how history and myth are taught in New Orleans. So why not attempt to reimagine early New Orleans the way it may have been, perhaps even the way it was, from art and plays, rather than a book?

This section is meant to assist historians and students in reimagining early New Orleans. This section includes paintings of important events in New Orleans history made years after the events depicted. It also includes a screenplay and a teleplay which attempt to capture the complexity of this city of chameleons as it wrestled with becoming part of a new empire.

© 2014 John E. Rodriguez
Last updated: 7 May 2014

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