Saturday, February 1, 2014

Relics of War Discovered on Esplanade Avenue New Orleans, Louisiana, 1904

From the Times-Democrat article Relics of War of Old Times Dug from Esplanade Avenue July 23, 1907:

"Sewerage Work Brings To Light Cannon Balls, Bayonet, Spanish Coin of Date of 1712, and Fifteen Feet Below The Level, Cypress Barricades ~ Pickets Nailed Together With Home-Made Nails."

"Relics and reminders of the New Orleans of old times have been recently brought to light in the trenches being dug in Esplanade Avenue for the sewerage.  During the last two or three days an old wooden spade, three cannon balls, an empty shell, an old bent bayonet, the handle of a sword, an aged coin, and a number of other curios have been dug up."

"All are very old and the iron cannon balls and other iron articles are very much rust-eaten.  However, all are historic looking enough to create much interest.  Just how long they have been in the ground it would be hard to say.  However, the presence among the lot of an old Spanish coin, bearing the date of 1712, indicates that they have been buried many years."

"The cannon balls and other curios dug up, though, are not the most interesting of the relics and curiosities unearthed in this work.  Fifteen feet below the level of the ground were old cypress barricades, built with long cypress pickets and out and wedged tightly together.  It would almost be impossible to determine the exact course of these barricades without excavating the entire street.  They run through the trenches, and it was necessary to cut away part of them to sink the sewer pipes to the required depth.  The pickets forming the barricades were spliced and nailed together with home-made nails, queer looking pieces of iron which looked as much like the nails of to-day (sic) as the old cannon balls look like up-to-date shells and cartridges."

"The wooden spade is of cypress, and when found was water-soaked.  It has since dried out, however, and yesterday was as solid and hard as it had ever been.  it was made very much like the iron spade of to-day (sic), and  on trial was found to be just as handy in digging out mud.  The spade is very light and would doubtless be much more handy than the heavier iron spades of to-day (sic).  Mr. Milliken said he could not understand why cypress spades were no longer manufactured." Photos courtesy of the State Library of Louisiana.