La Village Des Chapitoulas

New Orleans is an Indian town. When Frenchmen and Africans arrived in the bend of the Mississippi that would eventually be re-named New Orleans, they encountered a place that had been home to Native Americans for hundreds of years. We know from archaeology and historical accounts that just prior to colonization, there were settlements in the French Quarter near Conti and Chartres streets, in the Lower Garden District near Orange and Constance Streets, and at the mouth of Bayou Saint John. Although we are not certain what they called this place, Tchoupitoulas Street shares an origin with the ‘village of the Chapitoulas’, or ‘river people’ in Choctaw, as recorded in 1718. The Chapitoulas were one of the small groups that moved up and down the river according to trade routes and seasonal hunting in the 1600’s and early 1700’s. Native know-how and labor helped build the city. In the garden behind St. Louis Cathedral, archaeologists discovered the oldest known building from the colonial period – a palmetto thatch hut built in the Indian style. Hand-built pottery, smoking pipes, trade beads, and stone hide scrapers are found in underground layers scattered throughout modern-day New Orleans.

Paper Monuments is a public art and public history project designed to elevate the voices of the people of New Orleans, as a critical process towards creating new narratives and symbols of our city that represent our collective visions, and to honor the erased histories of the people, events, movements, and places that have made up the past 300 years as we look to the future.  Artist: Daniela Marx. Storyteller: Shannon Lee Dawdy.  Framed and matted.

Value: $50


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