Maria Mitchell In Her Own Words

Maria MitchellMarch 31 {1857}. We are at length in New Orleans, and up three flights at the Saint Charles, in a dark room, at the pretty price of three dollars a day . . . .The peculiarities of the city dawn upon me very slowly. I first noticed the showy dress of the children, white waists and fancy skirts – then the turbaned heads of the black women in the streets, and next the bouquet-selling boys with their French phrases.

Maria and her charge, Prudence Smith, arrived in New Orleans after a seven day trip down the mighty Mississippi River; they had embarked at St. Louis. This was the American leg of their tour, Maria serving as Prudie’s chaperone in the Southern United States before they would journey to Europe several months later. I have posted Maria’s journal entries before concerning these trips. Having lived in New Orleans for a few years myself, it is fun to read her comments about the city – from the people, to the French market, to the streets themselves.