Perspectives from a Privy Past: Neighborhood and Race in Late Nineteenth-century Creole New Orleans

Author(s): Christopher Grant

Year: 2018


The Faubourg Tremé is often referred to as America’s oldest African-American neighborhood and has been the site of significant social, cultural, and political developments in New Orleans for the past two hundred years. From the colonial period onward, the neighborhood fostered the growth of the city’s Creole population and displayed a distinct cultural and demographic makeup unmatched in other parts of the American South. In recent decades, scholars have considered the Tremé as a rich site of cultural production, situating the history of the neighborhood within wider discussions of immigration, creolization and race. But as the twentieth century neared, the city’s ancient population entered a period of diminishing social and economic prosperity - an era often subject to literary tropes of decay and decline. Privy finds from a household in the Tremé provide an alternative perspective - one that situates the neighborhood’s residents in wider networks of urban and demographic change. This poster re-examines the historical and symbolic importance of the Tremé by close examination of a single late-nineteenth/early-twentieth-century privy. The privy deposits offer a hidden history of the neighborhood as well as renewed insight into the methodological value of the privy as a central resource in historical archaeology.

Cite this Record

Perspectives from a Privy Past: Neighborhood and Race in Late Nineteenth-century Creole New Orleans. Christopher Grant. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 442556)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.735; min lat: 24.847 ; max long: -73.389; max lat: 39.572 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 21629