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New Orleans Public Library [Orleans Parish. Parish Court. Slave Emancipations. Item 31E]

A Petition from Marie Couvent

Born in West Africa, Marie Cirnaire married a freed carpenter, Bernard Couvent, and they accumulated property. In 1831 she petitioned the parish court to free her slaves, Seraphine, age forty, and Fillette, age forty-five, who had "faithfully served her for a great number of years past, nursed her in grievous sickness at various times." Unable to sign, she put her mark X on the document. The Court granted her request. Upon her death at eighty, in 1837, Couvent asked that her property be used to create a school for African-American children. Whites were opposed to the project and the construction was delayed for ten years. The Institution Catholique des Orphelins Indigents (Catholic Society for the Instruction of Indigent Orphans) finally opened in 1847. It later became the St. Louis School of the Holy Redeemer, still in operation today.

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Image ID: 05_050
Title: Orleans Parish. Parish Court. Slave Emancipations. Item 31E.
Location: New Orleans Public Library [Orleans Parish. Parish Court. Slave Emancipations. Item 31E]
Subjects: African Americans -- Louisiana -- New Orleans
Africans
Louisiana. -- Superior Criminal Court (Orleans Parish)
Slaves -- Emancipation

Keywords: Catholicism
Couvent, Bernard
Couvent, Marie Cirnaire
Slavery - Louisiana
St. Louis School of the Holy Redeemer, New Orleans
Women - United States
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