First Impressions of the Land of Zion: The City of New Orleans through the Eyes of Mormon Immigrants

Tiffany Taylor, “First Impressions of the Land of Zion: The City of New Orleans through the Eyes of Mormon Immigrants,” Selections from the Religious Education Student Symposium 2006 (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2006), 121–139.

First Impressions of the Land of Zion: The City of New Orleans through the Eyes of Mormon Immigrants

Tiffany Taylor


“The same wind that carried them thus far,” wrote architect Benjamin Henry Boneval Latrobe in 1819, “will take them to New Orleans.”[1] During the nineteenth century, immigrants seeking a new life in America arrived by the thousands at the port of New Orleans, Louisiana. After months on the storm-tossed sea, confined in overcrowded vessels, travelers welcomed the sight of their destination land. A relieved Robert Crookston, traveling from Liverpool to America, recorded, “At last we were towed up the river to New Orleans and so had a chance to set our feet on terra firma.”[2] While the New York Harbor and other ports on the East Coast welcomed many immigrants, another popular route to the United States took a more southern course. New Orleans—the great “Crescent City” and the major metropolis at the mouth of the mighty Mississippi River—became the fifth largest city in America by 1848.[3] As expansion brought the western border of the United States to the banks of the Mississippi River and beyond, the river became the lifeblood of the nation, serving as a primary transportation route and shipping corridor.

For many people, New Orleans was their first encounter with the United States of America; thus, it was the city’s sights and sounds that shaped their first impressions of their new country. Often emotion made it difficult for those seeing America for the first time to describe their surroundings; however, with their senses excited and their curiosity piqued, some of the most vivid descriptions, embodying the true character of the city, came from early immigrants for whom New Orleans was the beginning of a new life. Some of these early travelers were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also commonly known as the LDS or Mormon Church, whose arrival in New Orleans held religious significance.

The Church, established by Joseph Smith[4] in 1830 in Fayette, New York, had, by 1839, moved its headquarters to Nauvoo, Illinois, a town on a bend of the Mississippi River. By 1845, with approximately 11,000 residents, Nauvoo was one of the largest cities in Illinois.[5] Between the years of 1830 and 1848, it is estimated that 26 percent of the Church’s membership originated in England.[6] Baptized by Mormon missionaries in Europe, these English converts wanted to meet the Prophet Joseph Smith and gather with the main body of Saints, thus making the voyage to America at great personal sacrifice. As stated by President Thomas S. Monson: “For many the journey didn’t begin at Nauvoo, Kirtland, Far West, or New York, but rather in distant England, Scotland, Scandinavia, and Germany. . . . Between the safety of home and the promise of Zion stood the angry and treacherous waters of the mighty Atlantic. Who can recount the fear that gripped the human heart during those perilous crossings? Prompted by the silent whisperings of the Spirit, sustained by a simple, yet abiding faith, they trusted in their God and set sail on their journey.”[7]

In 1844, Latter-day Saint Priscilla Staines wrote of her departure from England aboard the ship Fanny: “When I arrived at Liverpool and saw the ocean that would soon roll between me and all I loved, my heart almost failed me. But I had laid my idols all upon the altar. There was no turning back. . . . So I thus alone set out for the reward of everlasting life, trusting in God.”[8] Joseph Fielding, also traveling from Liverpool, recorded, “The ship was dark, there being no light allowed in the deck so we had to find our way to bed and put the children to bed, in the dark, but I felt glad to find myself on the way to Zion.”[9] Between 1847 and 1853, at least fifty-nine vessels sank on their way to America, but because Church leaders ensured that only the most seaworthy ships were chartered for the Latter-day Saints, not one emigrant company of Saints was lost in the Atlantic during a fifty-year period.[10]

En route to Nauvoo, immigrants arriving in New York faced an arduous overland journey from the East Coast to what was then the western frontier of the United States. The Prophet Joseph Smith recommended that members of the Church take a less expensive, more direct route to Nauvoo via New Orleans.[11] The Crescent City thus became the main port of arrival for Latter-day Saints between 1841 and 1854.[12] Travel through New Orleans, however, was not without its dangers.

“Sickness Liable to Assail Our Unacclimated Brethren”: Health Threats in New Orleans

The oppressive humidity, especially rampant from June to October, created the perfect environment for the spread of numerous diseases. Swarms of mosquitoes carrying malaria and yellow fever flourished in the wet climate.[13] Following an outbreak of yellow fever, cholera struck the city late in October 1832.[14] The exact number of deaths resulting from these successive outbreaks cannot be accurately determined; however, it is known that six thousand people died in a period of only twenty days.[15] Between 1817 and 1860, twenty-three yellow fever epidemics in New Orleans killed more than twenty-eight thousand people. The worst yellow fever epidemic before the Civil War hit the city in 1853, killing over ten thousand people before the cooler October temperatures finally provided some relief.[16] This devastating contagion of disease prompted a change in the travel patterns of the Saints. In a letter dated August 2, 1854, Brigham Young, Joseph Smith’s successor, gave the following instructions to Elder Franklin D. Richards, Church immigration agent in Liverpool: “You are aware of the sickness liable to assail our unacclimated brethren on the Mississippi river, hence I wish you to ship no more to New Orleans, but ship to Philadelphia, Boston, and New York.”[17]

Despite the incessant threat of illness, all but nine America-bound Latter-day Saint voyages from 1840 to 1855 arrived at New Orleans, creating a Mormon presence in the city sizable enough to attract national attention.[18] An April 1853 issue of Harper’s New Monthly Magazine in New York reported, “Since 1838 more than 50,000 converts have been baptized in Great Britain, of whom about 17,000 have joined their brethren in America. A large portion of them land at New Orleans.”[19]

The Land of Zion

For Latter-day Saints, arriving in New Orleans meant something more than an end to their taxing sea journey—it marked the beginning of a new life and a realization of their deepest religious convictions. New Orleans was a main checkpoint on their journey to Nauvoo, Illinois. Saints often referred to Nauvoo as “Zion,” or a gathering place of God’s people living under God’s rule. Because of the religious significance of their voyage to America, Latter-day Saint perceptions of New Orleans were especially astute, for these were their first impressions of the land of Zion. Along with descriptions of the stunning landscape and the heat and humidity they encountered upon their arrival at the port city, Latter-day Saints also addressed some of the major social aspects of New Orleans society, such as slavery, religiosity (or the perceived lack thereof), the lack of cleanliness standards, and the diversity of the population.

“Those Long Rainy Afternoons in New Orleans”: Contemporary Descriptions of the City

New Orleans, founded in 1718 and named after the regent of France, Philippe, duc d’Orléans,[20] has always elicited from its visitors a wide range of perceptions that are almost as colored and varied as the unique culture of the city itself. Upon reaching New Orleans, Pierre-François Xavier de Charlevoix, a French explorer who traveled to America in 1722, penned, “This town is the first that one of the world’s great rivers has seen rise upon its banks. . . . This wild and desrt [sic] place that canes and trees still cover almost entirely, will be one day, and perhaps that day is not far off, an opulent city and the metropolis of a great and rich colony.”[21] From the food to the architecture, New Orleans is an inimitable American city. A traveler from Baltimore recorded, “New Orleans has at first sight a very imposing, and handsome appearance, beyond any other city in the United States.”[22] In 1831, Frenchmen Alexis de Tocqueville and Gustave de Beaumont came to the United States to study the roots of American democracy. Impressed by the growing port city, Tocqueville recorded, “The first of January 1832, the sun rising in a brilliant tropical sky revealed to us New Orleans across the masts of a thousand ships.”[23]

Literary figures of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, drawn to the vibrant ambiance of New Orleans, often referred to the city in books and stories, capturing its mythical, fiction-like intrigue. Legendary author and humorist Mark Twain loved the people and the cultural mix of the Crescent City. In his book Life on the Mississippi, he expressed his opinion of the varicolored plaster adorning the city’s buildings: “It harmonizes with all the surroundings, and has a natural look of belonging there as has the flush upon sunset clouds. This charming decoration cannot be successfully imitated; neither is it to be found elsewhere in America.”[24] Author William Faulkner, in his work Mosquitos, masterfully conveyed the beauty of a New Orleans evening when he wrote, “The violet dusk held in soft suspension lights slow as bellstrokes, Jackson square was now a green and quiet lake in which abode lights round as jellyfish, feathering with silver mimosa and pomegranate and hibiscus.”[25] A resident of New Orleans, Tennessee Williams set many of his plays in the Crescent City. In A Streetcar Named Desire, he penned, “Don’t you just love those long rainy afternoons in New Orleans when an hour isn’t just an hour—but a little piece of eternity dropped into your hands.”[26]Anne Rice, a native of New Orleans, described a sunset at the riverfront in her Feast of Saints: “It was deepening to purple over the river, descending in layers of violent gold and red clouds behind the masts of the ships; and cicadas sang in the dense foliage of walled courtyards.”[27]

Just as novelists embodied the late nineteenth and mid-to-late twentieth century New Orleans in their literature, Latter-day Saints brought the sights and sounds of nineteenth-century New Orleans to life on the pages of their journals. Some aspects of the scenery and lifestyle the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, appearing in both Latter-day Saints’ and novelists’ descriptions of the city; however, in comparison with the later writings of nationally known writers, Mormon perceptions provide valuable insights into the earlier New Orleans that greeted immigrants seeking a better life in America.

“I Never Saw Anything So Beautiful”: Mormon Impressions of New Orleans

Upon arrival at New Orleans, Mormon immigrants recorded a wide spectrum of first impressions. Some were rather disappointed by the city which greeted them, perhaps having envisioned something on a grander scale. For many others, however, New Orleans was everything they had dreamed it would be. They were entranced by this new land and its accompanying scenery and society. Arriving aboard the ship Palmyra in 1845, Ann Pitchforth commented, “We arrived at New Orleans. The sight of land caused every face to smile, though on a foreign shore. Refreshed, we started up the noble Mississippi; the beauty of the scenery would take me too much time to describe; orange trees, houses, plantations, villages, pass in quick succession.”[28] Similarly, George Whitaker, also a passenger on the Palmyra, recorded, “I thought I never saw anything so beautiful as the sights going up the river. This was the beginning of March. Everything looked fresh and green—the oranges were hanging on trees. I thought I would very much like to live there.”[29]

Henry Jones, arriving on the ship Fanny in 1844, enjoyed the Mississippi River but was less taken by the city itself. He recorded in his journal, “It is a beautiful river. New Orleans is a dirty place what I have seen of it but I have only been up to the Custom House. I should not like very much to live here not that I should be afraid.”[30] In contrast, Edward Tolton wrote, “A very enjoyable time was realized the few days that we remained in the ‘Delta City.’”[31] “The scenery on each side of the river were most romantic and grand, and it done my eyes good to look around me, after being so long without seeing houses and land,” remarked Matthias Cowley.[32] Lorenzo Snow, who later became fifth President of the Church, wrote of his arrival at New Orleans, “We were extremely delighted with the beautiful prospects of the country which lay along the river as we passed up that magnificent stream.”[33] Other observations of the city, however, illuminated some of the more unpleasant features of New Orleans society.

“Oh! Slavery, How I Hate Thee!” Criticisms of New Orleans Society

As early as 1820, the Louisiana Advertiser, a newspaper published in New Orleans, was used to advertise land, clothing, ship’s passage, rice, livestock, coal, and “negroes.” An ad on the front page of the June 10, 1820, issue of the Advertiser read, “NEGROES. For Sale, . . . 15 Prime Likely Negroes, Of both Sexes. The above slaves are first rate Negroe and will be sold with warranted characters.”[34] At the time members of the Church were traveling through the city on their way to Nauvoo, New Orleans was a major center of the African-American slave trade in the United States. The Saints’ first impressions of their new country, influenced by their moral beliefs, were surely tainted by what they saw of slavery. For many, the site of “Negroes at work”[35] throughout the countryside, coupled with the debasing spectacle of the crowded slave auctions in the city, “left an abhorrent impression [on them] as they commenced their inland journey to Zion.”[36] Upon arriving in New Orleans, Jean Rio Griffiths Baker captured the general feeling of Mormons toward the practice of slavery when she exclaimed, “Oh! Slavery, How I hate Thee!”[37] On March 30, 1841, Latter-day Saint Alexander Neibaur recorded, “In the afternoon, it was reported the steward had the cook taken up to sell him, New Orleans in Louisiana being one of the chief slave states.” [38] His contemporary, Alfred Cordon likewise noted the existence of slavery in the city when he observed, “There were a many slaves working on the streets chained together both men and women.”[39] The beauty of the landscape which greeted the Saints in New Orleans was tempered by what they viewed as a deplorable practice. Jean Rio Griffiths Baker later penned of her arrival, “The only thing which deteriorates from its beauty is the sight of the hundreds of negroes at work in the sun.”[40]

Another moral-based observation of New Orleans made by Latter-day Saints pertained to the seemingly reckless, irreverent lifestyle prevalent in the city. Upon his arrival from Liverpool, Richard Rushton recorded, “New Orleans is a fine place but all thought of religion is neglected.”[41] In 1840–41, two Latter-day Saint missionaries were sent to southern Louisiana to proselyte. They reported back to Joseph Smith that in New Orleans “help was needed to save this wayward cosmopolitan city.”[42] When help was sent, the missionaries experienced persecution and had little success.[43] Missionary Harrison Sagers, preaching in New Orleans in 1841, was confronted by a ruthless mob. Fortunately, a group of courageous women came to his rescue and circled him in defense.[44] Arriving in New Orleans on a Sunday, which is considered by Latter-day Saints to be a day of rest from ordinary, daily labors, James Burgess remarked, “We arrived at New Orleans on the 20th of November being Sunday. . . . It seemed rather strange to see them holding their market day on Sunday but however it is reckoned to be the best market day with them.”[45]

Mormons were not the only visitors who condemned what they viewed as the immorality of the city. Rachel Jackson, wife of future U. S. president Andrew Jackson, shuddered when she saw the city, declaring, “Great Babylon is come up before me. . . . Oh, the wickedness, the idolatry of this place.”[46] Later in the nineteenth century, Greek-born journalist Lafcadio Hearn wrote to a friend in Cincinnati of his visit to New Orleans, “Times are not good here. The city is crumbling into ashes. It has been buried under a lava flood of taxes and frauds. . . . Its condition is so bad that when I write about it . . . nobody will believe I am telling the truth.”[47] Hearn later wrote, “The paradise of the South is here, deserted and half in ruins. I never beheld anything so beautiful and so sad.”[48] American author Charles Dudley Warner observed the “shabbiness” of New Orleans, describing it as “a thriftless, battered and stained, and lazy old place.”[49]

Land sharks, or river thieves, posed a constant threat to all immigrants passing through New Orleans. Lucius Scovil was sent to New Orleans in 1848 to manage the financial affairs of the incoming Saints and to protect them from the devious tactics of the land sharks. He wrote of Saints being “bamboozled by these runners,” then commented, “Those sharpers are threatening me all the time, but I do not fear them.”[50] Orson Spencer recorded, “On our first arrival in New Orleans a few ruffians boarded us in a turbulent manner, probably for a purpose akin to what impelled the Sodomites to annoy Lot’s guests.” He also noted the presence of “mischievous females that were an offence to the eye of purity.”[51] The lack of civility exemplified by some of the city’s inhabitants was not the only issue that bothered travelers.

Though the city of New Orleans was ornamented by the lush greenery on the banks of the Mississippi River, the downtown areas were sometimes found wanting in their state of cleanliness. “Got to New Orleans,” wrote Nicholas Silcock, “The city, it is a very miserable looking place.”[52] Unsanitary conditions contributed to the already rampant spreading of disease. “Everywhere in the city the streets were littered with garbage and all manner of human refuse.”[53] Yet New Orleans was a “strange city of strange contrasts. . . . If the streets were quagmires underfoot they were also channels of moving, living color that could be matched nowhere else in America.”[54] In many cases, the pure intrigue of the unique culture overshadowed any shortcomings travelers may have noticed in the city.

“People of All Colors Speaking Every Language under Heaven”: Diversity in New Orleans

The 1852 Conclin’s New River Guide deemed New Orleans the “princip[al] city in the south” and explained that it consisted of “the inhabitants of all countries, colors, and languages.”[55] Describing the throngs of people in the streets, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote, “Population similarly mixed, faces of all shades of colour. Language French, English, Spanish, Creole.”[56] Such a collage of various ethnic groups was indeed foreign to Latter-day Saint immigrants. “We found people here from almost all countr[ies],” remarked James Burgess.[57] Another Latter-day Saint, Alfred Cordon, observed, “There were people of all colors speaking every language under heaven almost.”[58] From the unique makeup of the New Orleans society to the bustling marketplace and the lively harbor, whether or not the Saints were impressed by what they saw, they were most certainly always intrigued by this diverse city.

After landing in New Orleans, Latter-day Saints chartered steamboats to take them to their main destination of Nauvoo, Illinois. “When our boat arrived at the city [Nauvoo] there were hundreds to welcome us,” wrote James Burgess.[59] Many expressed the deep feelings of happiness and peace they felt upon reaching Nauvoo. Greeted at the boat landing by the Prophet Joseph Smith, Robert Crookston recorded, “It was the most thrilling experience of my life for I know that he was a Prophet of the Lord.”[60] Thus began a new journey for the Latter-day Saints—a journey that would ultimately lead them from Nauvoo to the western United States and what would eventually become the state of Utah. Though New Orleans was not the final destination for Latter-day Saint immigrants, it served an important role in their religious voyage. New Orleans was the first city to welcome them to America—the land of Zion.

Other Formidable Barriers: The Rest of the Journey

Nearly a century and a half after the time of the major influx of Mormon immigrants through New Orleans, President Gordon B. Hinckley traveled to the city on July 24, 1997, to celebrate what New Orleans city officials deemed “Mormon Immigrant Day.” In a public ceremony, President Hinckley was made an honorary citizen of the city and, in turn, expressed his gratitude to the city that had welcomed so many Latter-day Saints to their new country. He remarked, “The hospitality offered to [the Latter-day Saints] in this city was most welcomed by the sea-weary travelers and provided a much-needed measure of comfort and rest before they continued their journey up the Mississippi River and, eventually, west to the Rocky Mountains.”[61]

Noting both the environmental beauties and the societal blunders of New Orleans during the mid-1800s, Church members reached telling conclusions and provided valuable observations of the city. The joy they felt in the religious nature of their immigration to the United States was reflected in their positive, poetic descriptions of New Orleans. The religious convictions of other Saints caused them to be especially critical of several moral faults they observed in New Orleans, such as slavery, the lack of religion, or the prevalence of ruthless behavior. Whether accentuating the positive or illuminating the negative, these members of the Church provided a vivid image of the city, comparable to later descriptions of New Orleans by literary authors.

Though it seemed that their arrival in the United States marked the beginning of better days, the Saints who had left their native lands and endured so much for the sake of their religion would still be required to cross other formidable barriers—seas of affliction and persecution caused by anti-Mormon mobs. In February 1846, the Latter-day Saints were driven from their homes in Nauvoo and forced to cross the icy Mississippi River. Saints who arrived in America later would have to cross the Great Plains in wagons or by foot, pulling handcarts. When the road to the West seemed especially rocky or the mud appeared extra deep, perhaps those who had traveled through New Orleans would reflect upon the first time they set foot in this new land. One Latter-day Saint, remembering the great port city, mused, “I wish I had the language to describe all that was beautiful that met our eyes. . . . It was a beautiful panorama, from the Bayous of the Mississippi and the swamps of Louisiana, to the splendid plantations and magnificent residences skirting the shore.”[62] Reminiscences such as this may have brought a smile to the faces of those who pressed forward, determined to travel any distance necessary to prove their faith to God.


The original spelling and punctuation has been preserved in all quotations.

[1] Benjamin Henry Boneval Latrobe, “Book One, Journal of a Voyage from Baltimore to New Orleans—January 1819,” in Impressions Respecting New Orleans (New York: Columbia University Press, 1951), 17. Benjamin Henry Boneval Latrobe (1764–1820) was born in England and is considered to be the first professional architect in the United States. From 1815 to 1817, he helped reconstruct the United States Capitol Building in Washington DC after it was destroyed by fire. He then went to New Orleans to complete the city’s waterworks project but died of yellow fever in 1820.

[2] Robert Crookston, Autobiography of Robert Crookston, ca. 1900, Ms 8023, 5–6; Acc. 22113, Church Archives, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah; as cited by the Family History Resource File, Mormon Immigration Index, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2002. Robert Crookston (1821–1916) was a native of Scotland. He resided for a time in Nauvoo, Illinois, then married Ann Welch on June 20, 1847, at Winter Quarters, Douglas County, Nebraska, and traveled to Utah in 1852. He was a miner by trade and helped procure stone for building the Salt Lake Temple, the Logan Tabernacle, and the Logan Temple (see Susan Easton Black, Membership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: 1830–1848, 50 vols. (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1989), 12:475.

[3] See Stephen E. Ambrose and Douglas G. Brinkley, The Mississippi and the Making of a Nation (Washington DC: National Geographic, 2003), 39. To put this number in context, in the year 1850, St. Louis had a population of 77,860; New York City had a population of 515,547; Boston had a population of 136,881; and Washington DC had a population of 40,001 (United States Federal Census, 1850).

[4] Joseph Smith (1805–44) was the first prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was martyred by a mob at a jail in Carthage, Illinois, on June 27, 1844.

[5] See Susan Easton Black, “How Large Was the Population of Nauvoo?” BYU Studies 35, no. 2 (1995): 91.

[6] See Susan Easton Black, “New Insights Replace Old Traditions: Membership of the Church in Nauvoo, 1839–1846” (paper presented at the Brigham Young University symposium “Nauvoo, the City of Joseph,” Provo, Utah, September 21, 1989), 1–2, as cited in Fred E. Woods, “Gathering to Nauvoo: Mormon Immigration, 1840–46,” Nauvoo Journal 11, no. 2 (Fall 1999): 45.

[7] Thomas S. Monson, Improvement Era, June 1967, 55.

[8] Journal of Priscilla Stains, in Edward W. Tullidge, The Women of Mormondom (New York: Edward W. Tullidge, 1877), 288. Priscilla Staines (1824–?) was born in Wiltshire, England, and joined the Church in 1843 at the age of nineteen (see Bonnie D. Parkin, “With Holiness of Heart,” Ensign, November 2002, 103).

[9] Joseph Fielding, Journal of Joseph Fielding, 1837–1859, Ms 1567, vol. 4, 80–86; Acc. 17371, Church Archives, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, UT; as cited by the Mormon Immigration Index. Joseph Fielding (1797–1863) was a native of England. He served as a missionary to England, then as president of the British Mission in 1838. He died in Salt Lake City, Utah (see Black, Membership of the Church, 16:228).

[10] There was only one ocean shipwreck from which the Latter-day Saints suffered casualties: the Julia Ann was lost in the Pacific Ocean, taking the lives of five Mormons (see Conway B. Sonne, Saints on the Seas: A Maritime History of Mormon Migration, 1830–1890 [Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1983], 139). River steamers, which transported the Saints from New Orleans to other ports along the Mississippi River, “provided cheap transportation but not safety. In 1852 the Saluda blew up at Lexington, Missouri, killing about two dozen Saints out of 90 going upriver to join wagon trains headed for Utah” (Arnold K. Garr, Donald Q. Cannon, and Richard O. Cowan, eds., Encyclopedia of Latter-day Saint History [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2000], 1034).

[11] Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, November 15, 1841, 3, as cited in Fred E. Woods, Gathering to Nauvoo (American Fork, UT: Covenant Communications, 2002), 72.

[12] See Fred E. Woods, “Seagoing Saints,” Ensign, September 2001, 60.

[13] Malaria is defined as “a human disease that is caused by sporozoan parasites . . . in the red blood cells, is transmitted by the bite of anopheline mosquitoes, and is characterized by periodic attacks of chills and fever” (Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary [Springfield, Massachusetts: G. & C. Merriam, 1973], 695). Yellow fever is defined as “an acute destructive infectious disease of warm regions marked by sudden onset, prostration, fever, albuminuria, jaundice, and often hemorrhage and caused by a virus transmitted by a mosquito” (Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, 1359). The yellowing of the skin caused by kidney failure and jaundice gives the disease its name.

[14] Cholera Morbus is “a gastrinomical disturbance characterized by griping diarrhea, and sometimes vomiting” (Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, 196).

[15] Harold Sinclair, The Port of New Orleans (New York: Doubleday, Doran and Company, 1942), 184.

[16] Marilyn Wood, New Orleans (London: Dorling Kindersley, 2004), 18.

[17] Brigham Young to Franklin D. Richards, Millennial Star, October 28, 1854, 684, quoted in Woods, “Seagoing Saints,” 60. Brigham Young (1807–77) was born in Whittingham, Vermont. He was a glazier, carpenter, and joiner by trade, and in 1846 he led the Latter-day Saint exiles from Nauvoo to the Salt Lake Valley—a journey of over 1,400 miles. He died in Salt Lake City. Franklin Dewey Richards (1821–99) was born in Richmond, Massachusetts. He was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles from 1848 until 1898 and served as Church historian from 1889 until 1899. He died in Ogden, Utah (see Black, Membership of the Church, 48:38; 36:609).

[18] Woods, Gathering to Nauvoo, 72.

[19] “The Mormons,” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine 6, no. 35 (April 1853): 619.

[20] Philippe, duc d’Orléans (1674–1723) became Duke of Orléans in 1701 and ruled as regent of France for King Louis XV until the young heir to the throne came of age.

[21] Pierre-François Xavier de Charlevoix, A Voyage to North-America, 1722 (France: Pierre-Francois Xavier de Charlevoix, 1766). Pierre-François Xavier de Charlevoix (1682–1761) was a French Jesuit explorer who visited America in 1722.

[22] Latrobe, Impressions Respecting New Orleans, 18.

[23] Cable Satellite Public Affairs Network, Traveling Tocqueville’s America (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1998), 145. Alexis de Tocqueville (1805–59) was an aristocratic Frenchman who came to America in 1831, after which he wrote his famous Democracy in America, a study of the people and politics of the United States. Gustave de Beaumont (1802–66) was a French magistrate who traveled with Tocqueville to America to study the manners of the people.

[24] Mark Twain, quoted in Bethany Ewald Bultman, New Orleans (n.p.: Fodor’s Travel Publications, 1994), 24. Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835–1910), better known by his pen name, Mark Twain, was a famous American author, humorist, and lecturer.

[25] William Faulkner, quoted in Bultman, New Orleans, 26. William Cuthbert Faulkner (1897–1962) was a Nobel Prize–winning novelist from Mississippi. He was living in New Orleans in 1925 when he wrote his first novel, Soldier’s Pay.

[26] Tennessee Williams, quoted in Bultman, New Orleans, 27. Thomas Lanier Williams (1911–83), better known by his pen name, Tennessee Williams, was a noted American playwright. He wrote A Streetcar Named Desire while living in New Orleans in 1947.

[27] Anne Rice, quoted in Bultman, New Orleans, 28. Anne Rice (1941–) is an American horror-fantasy author. She uses her birthplace, New Orleans, as the background for most of her stories.

[28] Ann Pitchforth, “To the Saints in the Isle of Man,” Millennial Star, July 15, 1846, 12–13, quoted in Mormon Immigration Index. Anne Pitchforth (1801–?) was a Welsh convert to the Church (see Black, Membership of the Church, 35:27).

[29] George Whitaker, Autobiography of George Whitaker, Church Archives, 7, as cited by the Mormon Immigration Index. George Whitaker (1820–1907) was born in England and immigrated to Winter Quarters, Nebraska in 1846. He drove an ox team west for Apostle Parley P. Pratt and was called to return to assist Elder Pratt after enlisting with the Mormon Battalion. He died in Salt Lake City (see Black, Membership of the Church, 45:33).

[30] Henry Jones, Correspondence Letter, March 8, 1844, Ms 7188 #1, 1–2, Church Archives, as cited by the Mormon Immigration Index. Henry Jones (1821–?) was born in Breconshire, Wales. He left the LDS Church and was baptized a member of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (RLDS), now known as the Community of Christ, in 1865 (see Black, Early Members of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 6 vols. (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1993, vol. 3, s.v. “Jones, Henry.”

[31] Edward Tolton, Letter, Mss 409, 1–2, as cited by Mormon Immigration Index, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah), Edward Tolton (1822–?) was born in Newbold-on-Avon, Warwickshire, England, and immigrated to the United States in 1842. He was employed in St. Louis for ten years, during which time he met and married Mary Ann Tomlinson, before going to Utah (see Sheri Eardley Slaughter, “‘Meet Me in St. Louie’: An Index of Early Latter-day Saints Associated with St. Louis, Missouri,” Nauvoo Journal 10, no. 2 (Fall 1998): 102.

[32] Matthias Cowley, Reminiscences, typescript Ms 1584, 1, Church Archives, as cited by the Mormon Immigration Index. Matthias Cowley (1829–64) was born in England. He was baptized a member of the Church in 1845, and later assisted Orson Hyde in publishing the Frontier Guardian newspaper in Kanesville, Iowa. As a resident of Salt Lake City, he took up the profession of bookbinding. He died in Utah (see Black, Membership of the Church, 12:159).

[33] Lorenzo Snow, Journal and Letterbook, 1836–1845, Ms 1330 1, 90–91, Church Archives, as cited by the Mormon Immigration Index. Lorenzo Snow (1814–1901) was born in Ohio. He served missions to Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, England, Italy, and Hawaii, then later became the fifth President of the Church, a position he held from 1898 until his death in 1901 (see Black, Membership of the Church, 40:580).

[34] Louisiana Advertiser, June 10, 1820, 1.

[35] Alexander Neibaur, Journal, March 30, 1841, typescript, MSS 438 folder #2, 1–12, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, as cited by the Mormon Immigration Index. Alexander Neibaur (1808–76) was born in Germany. After joining the Church and coming to the United States, he served as Joseph Smith’s language tutor, teaching the Prophet both German and Hebrew. Neibaur was fluent in seven languages (see Black, Membership of the Church, 32:383).

[36] Fred E. Woods, “New Orleans, Louisiana,” in Garr, Encyclopedia of Latter-day Saint History, 844.

[37] Jean Rio Griffiths Baker, Diary of Jean Rio Griffiths Baker, transcript, March 20, 1851, Church Archives, as cited in Woods, Gathering to Nauvoo, 77. Jean Rio Griffiths Baker (1807–80) sailed to the United States aboard the ship George W. Bourne. Her journal provides a valuable resource to developing an understanding of the voyage and the times (Leonard J. Arrington and Davis Bitton, Saints without Halos: The Human Side of Mormon History (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1981), 39, 48.

[38] Neibaur, Journal, March 31, 1841, as cited by the Mormon Immigration Index.

[39] Alfred Cordon, Reminiscences and Journal, November 19, 1842, Ms 1831, vol. 3, 165, Church Archives, as cited by the Mormon Immigration Index. Alfred Cordon (Cardon) (1817–71) was born in England. He served missions to England and Vermont, later being called as the presiding bishop in Willard, Utah.

[40] Baker, Diary, March 20, 1851, as cited in William G. Hartley and Fred E. Woods, Explosion of the Steamboat Saluda (Salt Lake City: Millennial Press, 2002), 10.

[41] Richard Rushton, Journal, April 12, 1842, Ms 1793, 12, Church Archives, as cited by the Mormon Immigration Index. Richard Rushton (Ruston) (1780–1842) was born in Leek, Staffordshire, England. He was baptized into the LDS Church in 1840, after which he made his way from England to Nauvoo. On his journey, from January 30, to April 13, 1842, he assisted Thomas Bullock in leading the group of Latter-day Saints on his ship. He was identified as a silk manufacturer and died in Nauvoo, Illinois (see Black, Membership of the Church, 37:974).

[42] Woods, “New Orleans,” 843.

[43] See Woods, “New Orleans,” 843.

[44] See Deseret Morning News 2005 Church Almanac, (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 2004), 194. William Henry Harrison Sagers (1815–86) was born in LeRoy, New York, and died in Blackfoot, Idaho. He was a painter by trade and worked with Don Carlos Smith, George A. Smith, and Lorenzo D. Barnes in Kentucky, and was later called to open up the New Orleans mission. In a meeting of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on August 31, 1841, he was called on a mission to Jamaica and the West Indies (see Black, Membership of the Church, 38:110).

[45] James Burgess, Journal, Ms 1858, 63, Church Archives, as cited in Mormon Immigration Index. James Burgess (1818–1904) was born in Barton, Lincolnshire, England. He served as a clerk to Joseph Smith during the presidential campaign of 1844. He was a carpenter and joiner by trade and died in Smithfield, Utah.

[46] Peter Applebome, “Where Living at Nature’s Mercy Had Always Seemed Worth the Risk,” New York Times, August 31, 2005, A11. Rachel Jackson (1767–1828) was the wife of Andrew Jackson. She died just weeks before Andrew Jackson was to be inaugurated as president of the United States. Andrew Jackson (1767–1845) served as the seventh president of the United States, from 1829 to 1837. He was also a noted general in the War of 1812, defeating the British at the Battle of New Orleans. He is buried next to his wife at their home, the Hermitage, in Nashville, Tennessee.

[47] Lafcadio Hearn, 1879, letter to Cincinnati, quoted in “Flaws and All, New Orleans Is Best,” Times-Picayune, October 26, 2005. Lafcadio Hearn (1850–1904) was born in Greece and later gained Japanese citizenship. He was a writer, critic, and journalist and traveled to America during the 1870s.

[48] Letter from Lafcadio Hearn, 1877, quoted in Elizabeth Bisland, The Life and Letters of Lafcadio Hearn, 2 vols. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1906) [author: p. #?].

[49] Charles Dudley Warner, “New Orleans,” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, January 1887, 186. Charles Dudley Warner (1829–1900) was an American editor and author who wrote for the Courant in Hartford, Connecticut, as well as Harper’s Magazine in New York. Though he described some of the negative aspects of New Orleans, he also wrote of enjoying the city, though he was “unable to say then or ever since wherein its charm lies.” He mused, “Why is it that while the most thrifty and neat and orderly city only wins our approval, and perhaps gratifies us intellectually, such a thriftless, battered and stained, and lazy old place as the French quarter of New Orleans takes our hearts?” (Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, January 1887, 186).

[50] Lucius N. Scovil, “Letters to the Editor,” Millennial Star, March 1, 1849, 72, quoted in Woods, Gathering to Nauvoo, 76. Lucius Nelson Scovil (1806–89) was born in Connecticut and joined the Church in 1836. He was later ordained a member of the Quorum of the Seventy. He owned a bakery in Nauvoo, Illinois, and died in Springville, Utah.

[51] Orson Spencer, “Letter,” Millennial Star, June 15, 1849, 183, quoted in Mormon Immigration Index. Orson Spencer (1802–55) was born in West Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and died in St. Louis, Missouri. He was elected mayor of Nauvoo in 1845 and later led a company of Saints across the plains in 1849. After reaching Utah, he was called as the president of the St. Louis Stake of Zion (see Black, Membership of the Church, 40:919).

[52] Nicholas Thomas Silcock, Journal Excerpts, In Our Family Circle, comp. Julian L. Dansie (Salt Lake City: Family History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1977), 23, 225–27, quoted in Mormon Immigration Index. Nicholas Thomas Silcox (1819–1906) was born in Hanley, Staffordshire, England and died in Wellington, Utah. He was a farmer and carpenter by trade and came to Utah on October 4, 1850, with the Edward Hunter Company (see Black, Membership of the Church, 39:359).

[53] Sinclair, Port of New Orleans, 186.

[54] Sinclair, Port of New Orleans, 187.

[55] Conclin’s New River Guide; or a Gazeteer of All the Towns on the Western Waters (Cincinnati: J. A. & U. P. James, 1852), 116–17, quoted in Hartley and Woods, Saluda, 10–11.

[56] Cable Satellite Public Affairs Network, Traveling Tocqueville’s America, 145.

[57] Burgess, Journal, 63.

[58] Cordon, Reminiscences and Journal, 165.

[59] Burgess, Journal, 65, quoted in Woods, Gathering to Nauvoo, 86.

[60] Robert Crookston, Autobiography of Robert Crookston, 6, quoted in Woods, Gathering to Nauvoo, 86.

[61] “New Orleans Honors Mormon Immigrants,” Ensign, October 1997, 72. Gordon B. Hinckley is the fifteenth President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a position he has held since 1995.

[62] Phillip Margetts, “One Man in His Time Plays Many Parts—His Acts Being Seven Ages,” Juvenile Instructor, August 1, 1903), 470, quoted in Mormon Immigration Index. Phillip Margetts (1829–1914) was born in Kineton, Warwickshire, England, and died in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was an engineer and an actor by trade. He was one of the first locomotive engineers in the world. He and his family arrived in New Orleans in 1850, then made the trip to Utah with handcarts, arriving on September 1, 1850. He was known throughout the state as “Utah’s famed actor” (see Black, Membership of the Church, 29:331).