Roster of Historic Characters

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C. C. ANTOINE

1836-1921

Lt. Governor of Louisiana (1872-80)
Born a free man in New Orleans, son of a mulatto veteran of the War of 1812, C.C. Antoine was educated in both French and English.  He was an editor, businessman (partnered with P.B.S. Pinchback in a cotton factorage, president of the Cosmopolitan Life Ins. Co.) and soldier (he organized a black New Orleans unit for the Union Army).  In 1890, C.C. Antoine served as vice president of New Orleans Comite des Citoyens, formed by Free People of Color to fight legal battles against discrimination, famously challenging Jim Crow laws in the Plessy vs. Ferguson case of 1896. Portrayed by Ed Bishop.

JOSIE ARLINGTON

1864-1914

Storyville Madame
One of Storyville's pre-eminent demimondaines, Josie Arlington was the owner and proprietress of The Arlington, "absolutely and unquestionably the most decorative and costly fitted-out Sporting Palace ever placed before the American Public."  Her 20-year partnership with state legislator Tom Anderson cemented her position as one of the wealthiest and most successful business owners in New Orleans, one of the most financially and politically powerful women of her time, as well as one of the most colorful figures in the notorious red-light district. Portrayed by Veronica Russell.

JOHN JAMES AUDUBON

1785- 1851

Painter, Ornithologist                                  
Born in Saint Domingue (now Haiti), the illegitimate son by a Spanish mistress of a French sea captain turned plantation owner, Audubon was sent to Nantes, France to escape the Haitian Revolution. In 1803, at the age of 18, Audubon was sent to Philadelphia, again to elude consciption in Napoleon's army. Now settled in America, Audubon set off on an epic quest to depict all the birds of America. With nothing but his gun, artist materials and a young assistant, Audubon rafted down the Mississippi, living a rugged hand-to-mouth existence in the South. He painted 435 indigenous American birds on his journey. His life-size, highly dramatic bird portraits, along with detailed descriptions of wilderness life, inspired the Audubon Society to honor his name. Portrayed by Frederick Mead.

ELIZABETH BEGUE

1831-1906

Restauranteur
Breakfast at Begue's was the pinacle of the New Orleans culinary experience in the second half of the 1800s.  In a small upstairs dining room overlooking the French Market, Elizabeth Begue served the finest food in the South and began the tradition we now call "brunch".  Madame Begue did all the cooking while her husband, who ran the butcher shop below, was sole waiter.  They served New Orleans Creole families in charming style. Portrayed by Rebecca Rae Reschert.

BASILE CROQUERE

circa 1820-1870

Fencing Master
A quadroon educated in Paris, Croquere gained a reputation for his well mannered, charming personality and skill as a dance master. Considered the handsomest man in New Orleans, Croquere was a man of many talents: a noted mathematician, teacher, carpenter known as the cleverest constructor of stairways in New Orleans, and the finest fencing master in the city.  He taught fencing to the cream of Creole society but never fought a duel due to his race. Portrayed by Donald Lewis.

MOTHER HENRIETTE  DELILLE

1812-1862

Founder, Sisters of the Holy Family
Born a Free Woman of Color,  Henriette Delille turned her back on her personal wealth and devoted her life to God's children. She founded Sisters of the Holy Family, the first African-American order of nuns in the United States. The Sisters have maintained their original ministries of educating youth and caring for the aged, the poor, and the most abject of society. They operate the oldest, continuous Catholic home for the aged in the United States, 2 pre-school child development centers, 1 free primary school for the poor, 2 high schools, and 17 elementary schools in the United States. They Sisters have an on-going involvement in Benin City, Nigeria, and Belize. Mother Delille is the first U.S. native-born Creole of African and White descent, whose cause for canonization has been officially opened by the Catholic Church. Portrayed by Carol Sutton.

GEORGE DEVOL

1829-1903

Riverboat Gambler
The greatest riverboat gambler in the history of the Mississippi River. He was also a con artist, a fighter, and a master at manipulating men and their money. Born on August 1, 1829 in Marietta, OhioAt the age of ten, Devol ran away, serving as a cabin boy on a river boat steamer called the Wacousta.  By the time the Mexican War broke out he was on a boat called the Tiago. Soon, Devol thought it a good idea to go to war and got a job as a barkeeper on the Corvette, bound for the Rio Grande and Mexico.  While aboard the Corvette he met a man who taught him how to "stock a deck.”  Upon reaching the Rio Grande and joining the forces, he quickly set about utilizing his newly learned skills to swindle the other soldiers.  Soon, he grew bored with soldiering and with his pockets filled with his ill-earned gains, he took returned to New Orleans. Portrayed by Dane Rhodes.

MARGARET HAUGHERY

1813-1882

Margaret the Bread Woman, Mother of the Orphans
An illiterate Irish immigrant, Margaret the Bread Woman arrived in New Orleans during one of our worst yellow fever epidemics. She quickly lost both her husband and newborn.  Despite her inability to read or write, Margaret possessed an extraordinary business sense.  She built a thriving steam bakery business from which she provided for orphans, fed the poor, and cared for prisoners.  Margaret the Bread Woman saved the Female Orphan Asylum of New Orleans from closure. Her generosity touched so many lives that a monument to her, possibly the first in the country dedicated to a woman, was erected at Margaret Place, 1100 block of Prytania Street. Portrayed by Claudia Baumgarten.

GENERAL  ANDREW  JACKSON 1767-1845

Seventh U.S. President (1829 - 37)
During the War of 1812, General Jackson won the decisive American victory in the Battle of New Orleans (January 6) and became known as The Hero of New Orleans.  Jackson was assisted in that battle by Jean Lafitte, a famous local privateer, and 600 free blacks of New Orleans. In the climactic moments, Jackson used 3,000 men to carefully dig fortifications that would hold off twice as many British troops. The fortifications stood, resulting in 2,000 British casualties, while the Americans sustained only 13 killed, 39 wounded, and 19 missing. Jackson visited New Orleans to personally lay the cornerstone of the monument that would rename the Place D’Arms to Jackson Square on January 13, 1840. Portrayed by Jeff Riddick.

JEAN LAFITTE 1780-1825

Gentleman Privateer                                                     
Also called Buccaneer, King of Barataria, Terror of the Gulf, and Hero of New Orleans, Jean Lafitte is known for his piracy in the Gulf of Mexico, and lauded for his heroism in the Battle of New Orleans. He hated being called "pirate," for, as he saw it, he was a "privateer" serving an economic purpose in a frugal time in a new country. Countless books have been written about his adventures, and even Lord Byron sketched a poem. There is a national park named after Lafitte, and downriver from New Orleans sits the City of Jean Lafitte. Portrayed by Mikko.

THOMY LAFON 1810-1893 Philanthropist
A Free Man of Color, Thomy Lafon made his fortune in real estate and savvy business investments, much of which he gave away to charities and the arts.  Lafon had nearly half a million dollars; funds which at his death went toward the founding of the Home for Aged Colored Men and Women and the Lafon Orphan Boy's Asylum. He bequeathed large sums to Charity Hospital, to the Society of the Holy Family, and to the Shakespeare Alms House. Lafon Nursing Home, but one of many gifts to the city of New Orleans, continues today. Portrayed by Harold X. Evans.
LOLA MONTEZ circa 1818-1861 Actress, Interpretive Dancer
The infamous Montez reigned over the New Orleans stage during annual appearances from 1849 to 1860.  Her notorious temper and propensity to exaggerate truth made her one of the most talked about ladies in the salon circle.   Scandal often followed on the heels of critical acclaim and many a suitor found himself in court defending his name and property against Lola's accusations.  Nevertheless, Montez remained a favorite of the gentry and a darling of the press until her final visit before the war of 1860. Portrayed byRaphaelle O'Neil.
BARONESS  PONTALBA 1795-1874 Urban Developer
Micaela Almonaster was a stubborn, fiercely determined woman who survived four bullets in the chest.  Only child of Don Andres Almonaster, who was the city's master builder and constructor of the Cathedral, Cabildo and Presbytere, the Baroness Pontalba built a monument to her beloved father, the Pontalba Apartments, on the Place d'Armes (Jackson Square.) Erected between 1845-1856, they are possibly the first apartment buildings in the U.S., a great accomplishment for a female entrepreneur. Portrayed by Diana Shortes.

BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Unlisted characters may also be possible by special arrangement. Email Gloria Powers: anewmuse@cox.net

PAPA NOEL

Timeless...

A blend of 18th and 19th century Creole, French and Cajun cultures, our fur trapper Papa Noel represents the traditional Louisiana bayou version of Santa Claus. Papa Noel is endowed with mystical and magical powers by which he transports our historical guests to present-day New Orleans to share Christmas, New Orleans Style with you and your family. Portrayed by Dane Rhodes.

ST. NICHOLAS

Timeless...

An early Christian Saint with a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in shoes of those who left them out for him, and thus became the model for Santa Claus, whose English name comes from the Dutch Sinterklaas. The historical Saint Nicholas is remembered and revered among Catholic and Orthodox Christians. He is also honoured by various Anglican and Lutheran churches. Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, thieves, and children, and students.  He was a popular holiday figure in the German immigrant community of New Orleans that predominated in the second half of the nineteenth century. Portrayed by Jeff Riddick.