The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 73, July 1969 - April, 1970

Book Reviews

however, there were virtually no sheep in the Rio Grande Plain, and
there are virtually none today. The extinction of sheep and cattle,
caused by over-population in 1885-1886, should serve as a "go slow"
signal to the present generation of stockmen who, with the help and
perhaps the false assurance of modern technology, would push the
land to the limit of its inherent livestock-supporting capabilities.
University of Texas, El Paso JAMES T. BRATCHER
New Orleans in the Gilded Age. By Joy J. Jackson. (Baton Rouge:
Louisiana State University Press, 1969. Pp. xi+355. Illustrations,
appendix, bibliography, index. $8.50.)
This book is offered to us as a social history of New Orleans during
the Gilded Age, which, in the author's view, extended from 188o to
about 1896. The early chapters dealing with an overview of the period,
local government, municipal services, political bosses, and the con-
trivances of the Louisiana State Lottery Company take the reader hur-
riedly over more familiar ground but add much that is new. The au-
thor makes her chief contribution in bringing together scattered detail
bearing upon vicissitudes of crime and vice, public health service,
charity, education, sports, jazz, and the lot of the Negro. A central
theme of the volume is that New Orleans was a truly cosmopolitan
urban center which had many cultural differences from the rest of the
South and indeed from any other city in the United States. Professor
Jackson's background of fine scholarship and power of analysis are at
their best when she describes the creation of the "image of romantic
old New Orleans" and the rise of the publicity-oriented carnival and
Mardi Gras traditions.
New Orleans was not in the vanguard of growth during this period,
declining from a rank of ninth in size in the nation in i88o to twelfth
in 19 goo, with a net population gain of only 71,000. Meanwhile Balti-
more increased by 174,ooo and St. Louis boomed with a growth of
more than 225,000. Implicit throughout is the fact that the city was
painfully groping its way out of the agonies of Reconstruction into
the mainstream of the New South. But with all its progress, the city
had a long way to go to catch up in a material way with the urban
giants to the north. The author suggests that perhaps this slow rate
of growth was in part a blessing, because the slower pace allowed New
Orleans to carry a nostalgic blend of French, Spanish, and American


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 73, July 1969 - April, 1970. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed April 19, 2014.