The Irish in the South, 1815-1877

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The first labor strike occurred in the s, during the building of the New Basin Canal, which was largely dug by poor Irish immigrants. Also during that decade, Irish mechanics used physical force to intimidate enslaved workers and free men of color and to exclude them from the trade. In the s Irish steamboat workers shut down the port of New Orleans on several occasions, refusing to work or allow anyone else to cross the picket lines. Captains and cotton factors were forced to negotiate with the strikers, and higher wages resulted.

The Irish in the South, 1815-1877.

This group limited the number of screwmen to fewer than five hundred, thereby keeping demand—as well as wages—high. They successfully managed to increase wages twice prior to the Civil War , though they only struck formally once.


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Irish women also took advantage of existing work opportunities and used them to pursue economic as well as familial goals. The majority of Irish women worked as domestic servants or in the service industry. Because the demand for domestic help exceeded the workforce supply, many Irish women negotiated with their employers to accommodate their family and community commitments.

Some insisted on better work conditions, for example, and the ability to leave early or come in late to attend wakes, baptisms, and similar activities. One of these immigrants, Margaret Haughery, went from working as a laundress for the St.

Irish in South Carolina - Irish Heritage Collection - LibGuides at College of Charleston

Charles Hotel to peddling milk from her dairy cows, to operating a bakery. Her life and work were commemorated in a public statue completed in ; it still stands near St. Irish immigrants had several reasons to settle in New Orleans. In addition, housing conditions marked a significant improvement over those in Ireland.

Food was plentiful and supplies regular, and the primacy of Catholicism enabled immigrants to practice their faith and to benefit from church-sponsored institutions. The Irish who came to New Orleans built cohesive communities throughout the city, well beyond the area of Uptown that is commonly known as the Irish Channel. In St. By , however, it could no longer contain the size of the congregation. Moreover, many of the more recent Irish immigrants lived in other parts of the city. Bishop Antoine Blanc, who later became the first archbishop of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, supported Irish parishioners in their efforts to establish additional parishes, giving his approval for the building of St.

John the Baptist, St. Alphonsus, and Sts. Peter and Paul.

Irish in New Orleans

He also helped recruit Irish priests and members of an Irish order of nuns to serve in these newly formed parishes. Within five years of their creation, both St. John the Baptist and St. Alphonsus had parochial schools; years later, novelist Anne Rice attended St.

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Alphonsus Church and school as a child. The local church also served as a resource for the Irish community during times of crisis. Epidemics of yellow fever, cholera, and other diseases were common, especially during the summer months, and the Irish more than any other immigrant group suffered during these outbreaks.

In , for example, Charity Hospital admitted 18, people, of whom 11, were Irish. To mitigate the effects of the high mortality rate, the Irish community founded Catholic orphanages, which provided temporary havens for children who had lost one parent and, if necessary, a long-term home for children who had lost both. Louisiana Democrats actively wooed the local Irish community and rewarded those who showed up at the polls.

Because New Orleans was captured very early in the war, these Confederate soldiers fought with little to no aid from home. Individuals and families with established ties to the area stayed and attempted to prosper as best as they could. General postwar difficulties were compounded locally by the rapid rise of the railroad, which made the steamboat all but obsolete, thereby eliminating many of the port jobs the Irish held. Despite this economic climate, Irish Americans formed the Hibernia Bank in , which proved to be an important resource for the community.

Demonstrations of Irish ethnic pride in New Orleans continued throughout the twentieth century and can still be witnessed today. The city is home to numerous St.

In citizens concerned about the preservation of St. Alphonsus Church founded Friends of St. Alphonsus and succeeded in having the church declared a National Historic Landmark in At that time, the church also expanded to include St. Alphonsus Cultural and Arts Center, which offers tours, sponsors special events, and operates a small museum about the Irish Channel.

In addition, the Irish Cultural Museum of New Orleans opened in , with artifacts as well as interactive displays illustrating the history of the Irish in the city. Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, —. Article published March 15, David Johnson. Alphonsus, and Sts. Peter and Paul.

He also helped recruit Irish priests and members of an Irish order of nuns to serve in these newly formed parishes. Within five years of their creation, both St. John the Baptist and St. Alphonsus had parochial schools; years later, novelist Anne Rice attended St. Alphonsus Church and school as a child. The local church also served as a resource for the Irish community during times of crisis. Epidemics of yellow fever, cholera, and other diseases were common, especially during the summer months, and the Irish more than any other immigrant group suffered during these outbreaks.

In , for example, Charity Hospital admitted 18, people, of whom 11, were Irish. To mitigate the effects of the high mortality rate, the Irish community founded Catholic orphanages, which provided temporary havens for children who had lost one parent and, if necessary, a long-term home for children who had lost both. Louisiana Democrats actively wooed the local Irish community and rewarded those who showed up at the polls. Because New Orleans was captured very early in the war, these Confederate soldiers fought with little to no aid from home.

Individuals and families with established ties to the area stayed and attempted to prosper as best as they could.


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General postwar difficulties were compounded locally by the rapid rise of the railroad, which made the steamboat all but obsolete, thereby eliminating many of the port jobs the Irish held. Despite this economic climate, Irish Americans formed the Hibernia Bank in , which proved to be an important resource for the community. Demonstrations of Irish ethnic pride in New Orleans continued throughout the twentieth century and can still be witnessed today. The city is home to numerous St.

In citizens concerned about the preservation of St. Alphonsus Church founded Friends of St. Alphonsus and succeeded in having the church declared a National Historic Landmark in At that time, the church also expanded to include St. Alphonsus Cultural and Arts Center, which offers tours, sponsors special events, and operates a small museum about the Irish Channel. In addition, the Irish Cultural Museum of New Orleans opened in , with artifacts as well as interactive displays illustrating the history of the Irish in the city. Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, —. Article published March 15, David Johnson.

Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, 15 Mar Baudier, Roger, et al. Charles L. New Orleans: St. Diner, Hasia R. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, Gannon, James P. Campbell, CA: Savas Publishing, Gleeson, David T. The Irish in the South, — Hoy, Suellen M.

Dublin: Attic Press, Kelley, Laura D. Miller, Randall, and Jon Wakelyn, eds. Niehaus, Earl F. The Irish in New Orleans, — Rousey, Dennis. Patrick's Day celebrations and churches such as St.

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Author Laura D. Territorial Period Index letter I. Greater New Orleans.

Territorial Period.