Copper and Bone: Craft Labor and Aesthetics in the Early Creole Faubourgs of New Orleans, 1790-1865

Author(s): Christopher Grant

Year: 2017


The early residents of the Creole faubourgs have long been recognized as contributors to the development of New Orleans’s unique aesthetic traditions. Indeed many of the city’s most iconic architectural forms and cultural practices were forged in these neighborhoods—semi-peripheral spaces where people from a variety of local and trans-Atlantic backgrounds came together to re/define and embody the meaning of "Creole" in the nineteenth century. But much of the details about the labor that built these physical and social communities - the physical work of enslaved laborers and free people of color—has been eclipsed by dominant narratives that privilege more recent developments in the city’s history. This is particularly true of Faubourg Tremé, the neighborhood that gave birth to jazz but was also the location of the city’s earliest plantations. This paper employs recent archaeological findings from one of these early plantations to examine the physical traces of the labor that built the Creole city. From buttons to furniture hardware, it asks, What are some of the material traces of Creole aesthetic traditions? and How did craft labor assist in the building and making of new urban communities at the turn of the nineteenth century?

Cite this Record

Copper and Bone: Craft Labor and Aesthetics in the Early Creole Faubourgs of New Orleans, 1790-1865. Christopher Grant. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429022)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -91.274; min lat: 24.847 ; max long: -72.642; max lat: 36.386 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17197