The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 16, July 1912 - April, 1913 Page: 433

Book Reviews and Notices

Social Life in Old New Orleans: Being Recollections of my
Girlhood, by Eliza Ripley. (New York: D. Appleton and
Company, 1912. Pp. 332.)
In a brief biographical sketch, appended to these memoirs, we
are informed that the author died shortly after making the last
arrangements for their publication. Thus this account of old New
Orleans, of seventy years ago, becomes the more impressive, now
that another is gone of the few who could supply it.
Novelists in search of local color will find a rich store here.
'The setting and the activities of every-day life are described with
rare accuracy and minuteness. Receptions, balls, and weddings;
the fashion in dress for both sexes, young and old; the topography
of New Orleans, and its architecture; furniture, tapestries, and
pictures, the preparing and serving of meals; the opera, old
music, old songs; schools and old-fashioned ideas of bringing up
children; the plantation-life of masters and slaves; these and
many other topics are discussed at length. There are also fre-
quent references to her contemporaries. Of the celebrities of her
day she was acquainted with many; some famed in the annals of
New Orleans, some of wider reputation. Their names are often
linked with interesting biographical details and descriptions of
their persons and characters.
A praiser of her times, though she has only kind words for the
present, one fancies that with her strong memory she must have
preferred to dwell in the past even more than is the wont of old
age. And none will refuse to tarry with her in the glorified past
who feels the charms of invariable good humor and of a youthful
Not the least interesting of the hors-d'oeuvres which lend va-
riety to the narrative is the account of how Lexington won the
great race in 1854, and of the swarming of the Kentucky belles
and their escorts into New Orleans to be present at his triumph:
"The race, the only one I had ever witnessed, was tremendously
exciting, and as the gallant horses swept round the last lap, Lex-
ington, ever so little, in the lead, the uproar became quite deafen-
ing. One of the Johnson women, beautiful and enthusiastic,
sprang upon the bench and said to her equally excited escort,
'Hold me while I holler.' He threw his strong arms about her


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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 16, July 1912 - April, 1913, periodical, 1913; Austin, Texas. ( accessed January 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.