The Louisiana Purchase  & The Cabildo
1803 LA Purchase ~ 1903 Centennial ~ & Beyond
From "Memoirs of My Life" by Pierre Clement de Laussat, France's representative at the
transference of power of the Louisiana Territory from France to the United States on
December 20, 1803:
  "The memory of that event will never leave me.  Above all, what a spectacle it was, both
solemn and touching, to see French citizens brought together there.  By diverse paths
and hazards and of their own accord, they rallied there, some 2,500 leagues from their
native land, to pay homage to the flag of their country!  This standard, brought over to
those regions for a long duration, was voluntarily withdrawing and retreating back upon
 The company improvised there that day had borne arms in defense of its mother country
since the beginning of the Revolution.  Its soldiers had bearing and a military clip; they
marched with precision, order, dignity and a touching calm that left a striking impression
on the spectators.  More than one tear was shed at the moment when the flag
disappeared from that shore.  We withdrew, passing before the entire line of
Anglo-American troops, who presented arms, and the flags and the officers, who saluted
 The celebration that night closed with a dinner and a soiree in which all society took part
without distinction of Spaniards, Americans or Frenchmen.  We raised a solemn toast to
the three nations and saluted them to the deafening noise of the cannons."
The American flag is raised, as the French flag comes down.  The Cabildo, where
the official transfer ceremony took place, can be seen in the background.
A modern-day painting depicting the signing of the transfer of power from France to the United
States - The Cabildo, New Orleans - December 20, 1803.  Painting by Mike Wimmer, 2003.
The Sala Capitular (council room) in the Cabildo, where the signing
ceremony was held, as it looks today.  The Cabildo was constructed in 1795.
Each of these flags once flew over the city - The Cabildo, New Orleans.
A room in the Cabildo with furniture replicating the original pieces which were
there at the time of the signing of the LA Purchase transfer.  I'm not sure if this
photo was taken during the Cotton Centennial Fair in 1884 or during the LA
Purchase Centennial celebration in 1903.
A service at St. Louis Cathedral during the 1903 LA Purchase Centennial
celebration.  This is an excellent photo, a good representation of both the
Cathedral and the event.
New Orleanians gather outside of the Cabildo and the
Cathedral during the 1903 Centennial festivities.
There were several balls, given by the French, the Spanish and the American
representatives at the time of the signing of the Purchase agreement.  The ball
pictured above was part of the 1903 Centennial celebration; the guests were
dressed as the guests of the original 1803 balls were thought to have been dressed.
Parade passes a reviewing stand in front of Jackson Square during the Sequicentennial
celebration of the La Purchase, 1953.  St. Louis Cathedral is in the background.
A current view of Jackson Square - known as the Place d'Armes in 1803 - with
the Cabildo on the left, Cathedral in the center and the Presbytere on the right.
The Cabildo today.
Above and right, three postcards with
views of the Cabildo, ca. 1920's/1930's.
The interior image of the staircase is
courtesy of
Infrogmation and Wikimedia.
Room where the Louisiana Supreme Court met, in Cabildo, from 1868-1910; photo ca. 1903.