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The Consequences of the Haitian Migration
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Louisiana Office of Tourism [2286IMG0096]

New Orleans Iron Work

The massive influx of people from Saint Domingue contributed to the survival of numerous West and Central African cultural traditions. The decorative iron balconies that distinguish French Quarter architecture originated in an early New Orleans industry that flourished with the training of enslaved blacksmiths. Many adapted readily to European metal-forging techniques since ironworking was an ancient West African technology. Slave artisans crafted the altar rails and doors of St. Louis Cathedral, as well as the gate of the Cabildo. By 1831 Afro-Creole New Orleans ironworkers, both enslaved and free, held a virtual monopoly on the trade. According to folk historians, highly skilled slave ironworkers who had been brought from Saint Domingue crafted wrought-iron railings in a French Quarter blacksmith shop on St. Louis Street.

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Image ID: 05_063
Title: Iron work balconies in the French Quarter, New Orleans.
Location: Louisiana Office of Tourism [2286IMG0096]
Subjects: Architectural ironwork
Balconies -- Louisiana -- New Orleans
New Orleans (La.)
Vieux Carré (New Orleans, La.)

Keywords: Blacksmiths
Haitian Migration
Iron Work
New Orleans
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