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Rosette Rochon 
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  Andre Cailloux
  Dr. Roudanez
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  Ernest Morial
  Bill Picket
  Bishop Healy
  John Willis Menard
  Homer Plessy
  Ward Connerly
AP Tureaud
  Bishop Olivier
  George Herriman
  Alexander Dumas
Our People Our History



Daniel Desdunes

and more ( 19th Century Political Activist)







Daniel Desdunes

Daniel Desdunes, a son of Rodolphe Desdunes, was a musician (later a teacher of music at Boys' Town) and a member of the Comité des Citoyens, formed by his father and fellow Creoles of color.

In a planned maneuver to test Act 111 of 1890 of the Louisiana Legislature (the "Separate Car Act"), Daniel Desdunes boarded a white-only car in a train bound for Mobile and was subsequently arrested and tried.

The court acquitted him, since the provisions in the Louisiana law regarding interstate travel were incompatible with federal law. The Comité's next attempt to test the law, this time focusing on in-state travel, resulted ultimately in the famous Plessy v. Ferguson case, a defeat which was to legalize segregation for more than half a century to come.




Thomy Lafon (1810-1893)



a Creole of color, built a fortune of nearly a half-million dollars through real estate investments. During his lifetime Lafon contributed to a number of causes in New Orleans, among them the Catholic Indigent Orphans' Institute.

In his will, he left bequests to establish the Home for Aged Colored Men and Women and the Lafon Orphan Boys' Asylum, and to support Charity Hospital, the Society of the Holy Family, the Shakespeare Almshouse, and Straight University. [Photograph from States-Item, Febrary 9, 1976; Louisiana Division Vertical File]



The Poets of Les Cenelles (1845).

In 1845, a volume of 85 poems was published by a group of seventeen New Orleanians, all of them free men of color--Les Cenelles: Choix de Poesies Indigenes. The poets of Les Cenelles were men of culture and learning (a number of them educated in France) and members of another Creole society set apart from the white Creole society of Gayarre and Grace King.

"The authors," one scholar has written, "were not great poets, but they must have been cultivated men who took delight in writing and who hoped that some day one of their number would achieve in verse the fame that Dumas was then winning in novel and drama." They did not, for the greater part, write about their native state but chose their themes from the French Romanticists and the classics.

In 1945, in honor of the 100th anniversary of its publication, Les Cenelles was reprinted as Creole Voices, the title page of which is shown here. The poets of Les Cenelles are Armand Lanusse (the general editor), Jean Boise, Louis Boise, Pierre Dalcour, Desormes Dauphin, Nelson Desbrosses, Numa Lanusse, M.F. Liotau, Auguste Populus, Joanni Questy, Nicol Riquet, Victor Sejour, Michel St. Pierre, Manuel Sylva, Camille Thierry, B. Valcour, and a poet identified simply as "Bo...ers."



Victoira Lecène

The caption in Nos Hommes et Notre Histoire identifies Mlle. Lecéne as one of the prize-winners (lauréates) of the Couvent School, publicly recognized by Armand Lanusse, one of the professors at the school (and editor of and contributor to the famous volume of Creole poetry, Les Cenelles).

Desdunes describes the comprehensive examinations conducted annually at the school, "festive occasions" during which students presented special recitations to an audience of their teachers, parents and other invited guests. A prize would be awarded to the child who received the most applause.

"We vividly recall Victoria Lecene," Desdunes writes, "who was given such a prize. This little girl was truly marvelous. Her versatility, her talent, and her unaffected manner of interpretation in dramatic roles, all declared her worthy of her professor's splendid award."


Laurent Auguste

Laurent Auguste was a member of the Citizens' Committee, one of the group of men whom Desdunnes writes, "These valiant Creoles were the first people in Louisiana to offer themselves as champions of a movement whose purpose was the establishment in the state of the principle of universal suffrage, a measure destined to become part of the amendments to the Constitution."


Arthur Estéves

Arthur Estéves was president of the Citizens' Committee. He had earlier been instrumental in saving the Couvent School (established to educate destitute African American children) from decline and served on its board of directors.

Estéves' company, Fauria and Estéves, manufactured sails, awnings, flags and tarpaulins, and operated at several locations in New Orleans. Desdunes wrote that he was "a man on whom the people could count in every kind of venture."


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