THE GREAT FIRE OF 1788

Posted on: April 2 2013 | Posted in: Whats New


A tour guide talking about the Great Fire beside the Cathedral grounds, where the Governor had tents set up for hundreds left homeless.

 

THE 225th ANNIVERSARY OF THE GREAT FIRE OF 1788

New Orleans has had its share of tragedy. Some believe that the resillience of its people post-Katrina is attributable to the grit born by colonial ancestors, who survived starvation floods, storms, plagues and fires. On Good Friday of 1788, almost 225 years ago to the day, the citizens of the city were largely left homeless because a massive fire consumed the French Quarter. The fire was so devastating that guides continue to conjure it on almost every French Quarter, Ghost or city tour.

The following is from a report submitted by Louisiana’s Spanish Governor Miro to his superiors.

…it is no easy matter to say whether the sight of an entire city in flames was more horrible to behold than the suffering and pitiable condition in which everyone was involved…but more horrible still was the sight, when day began to dawn, of entire families pouring forth into the public highways, yielding to their lamentations and despair, who, but a few hours before, had been basking in the enjoyment of more than the ordinary comforts of life. The tears, the heartbreaking sobs and the pallid faces of the wretched people mirrored the dire fatality that had overcome a city, now in ruins, transformed within the space of five hours into an arid and fearful, desert. Such was the sad ending of a work of death, the result of seventy years of industry.