One of my greatest pleasures as a researcher/genealogist is to probe through old issues of The Louisiana Weekly . Those of you who know me can often find me on the 3rd floor of the Main Library in New Orleans sitting before a microfilm reader tediously going from page to page of issues that go back as far as 1925. All issues of this fascinating newspaper are on microfilm which can be copied since the only original issues of “The Weekly” (as we’re so accustomed to saying) are housed at the Amistad Research Center on the campus of Tulane University.
So what am I looking for, you might ask. Anything, I would answer, especially photos and articles (preferably during the 1920’s-30’s and 40’s) depicting the strong community and family ties that held us as a people together during the most crucial times of our lives….segregation and the Jim Crow Era.
It was this era wherein our daily city newspapers: The Times-Picayune and States-Item completely ignored us as a people and the rich community from whence we came. You couldn’t find our family photos nor engagement and wedding pictures featured within their pages. Our schools nor beauty pageants, dance schools, sororities, graduations, successful businesses, nor great local educators and religious institutions were there either. It was only through our local Louisiana Weekly, published once a week, could we find ourselves and not images of who we should be.
Of course The Weekly’s emphasis was placed on local, national, and international events that had tremendous effects on us in our struggle as a people, but my main interest was to capture some of those images from the past that portrayed us as a close knit and enriched society here in New Orleans. As you go through our blog you will come across images from The Louisiana Weekly which may not be as clear as you nor I would like, but it must be remembered that these are images taken from reels that are images itself of the original pages of the newspaper. So bear with me and appreciate them for the people portrayed and the stories they tell. This is the story of our people, our culture, and our families; most who are no longer with us but those who have impacted us and have made us who we are today.
Lolita V. Cherrie