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City of a Million DreamsNew Orleans at Year 300$
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Jason Berry

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781469647142

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469647142.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 21 September 2021

Mother Catherine and the Lower Ninth Ward

Mother Catherine and the Lower Ninth Ward

(p.205) 11 Mother Catherine and the Lower Ninth Ward
City of a Million Dreams

Jason Berry

University of North Carolina Press

In the 1920s, as Prohibition took hold in the U.S., New Orleans became a key port for liquor smuggled out of Cuba, the Bahamas, and British Honduras. Crime and police corruption were major problems. As the city developed North, the Ninth Ward grew downriver as blacks, Sicilians, and other ethnic whites found housing near St. Claude Avenue. 19th-century Spiritualism mixed with New Orleans culture to form unique Spiritual churches. Leafy Anderson, a charismatic woman of African and native heritage, drew crowds by invoking the spirit of Black Hawk, a famous Native American warrior. Nanny Cowans Jenkins, later known as Mother Catherine Seals, founded the Manger, a chapel and community harbouring pregnant girls, homeless youth, and abused women and their children. Catherine’s religion was matriarchal, akin to the Great Mother cults. She also performed faith healings. Author and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston documented the churches of both women. Two families, the Cagnolattis and Johnsons, revolved around the Manger through the 1930s. Mother Catherine died in 1930. Her wake ran four days and was heavily covered in the press. Hundreds of people, both black and white, attended.

Keywords:   Prohibition, Smuggling, Corruption, Ninth Ward, Spiritualism, Mother Catherine, Spiritual churches, Nanny Cowans Jenkins, Leafy Anderson, Zora Neale Hurston

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