A City Embatled
In the 1790s, as planters sold off land for faubourgs, or neighborhoods, New Orleans branched out. One such neighborhood was founded by Claude Tremé. Antonio de Sedella clashed with the vicar Rev. Patrick Walsh and his replacement Rev. John Olivier. Sedella became the elected pastor of St. Louis Cathedral, leading the one institution where people voluntarily gathered across the color line. Governor William C.C. Claiborne, a lawyer-turned-politician, governed a divided city. Conflicts arose between the French and American cultures, the black militia and white elite, and between Claiborne himself and his opponents. Faced with an influx of Haitian refugees, including whites, free people of color, and slaves, Claiborne faced the challenge of providing for the refugees deemed free while establishing the status of those the refugees considered as slaves. Many refugees who were legally free in Haiti became slaves in New Orleans. A slave revolt, with an estimated 500 rebels, broke out in 1811. Claiborne sent the local militia to put down the insurrection. Close to 100 of the rebels were killed. Advocates for statehood argued that Louisiana should join the U.S., and by admitting Louisiana in 1812, the U.S. cemented itself to a slave economy.
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