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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

C. T. Howard, Metaire Cemetery and Metarie Jockey Club

The New York Times, "A Noted Lottery Man Dead: Career of Charles T. Howard, of the Louisiana Company", June 1, 1885

On March 19th, 1861, a call was made by Confederate Secretary of War, Leroy Walker for 1,700 volunteers to garrison forts inside the Confederacy. The Louisiana Legislature allowed Governor Moore to transfer State troops to Confederate service and permitted Louisiana citizens to volunteer for Confederate service. On April 8th, 1861, President Jefferson Davis asked Louisiana for 3,000 additional troops and after the bombardment of Fort Sumter, asked for 5,000 more.

New Orleans was the place designated to receive the volunteers. The Metairie Race Course (located where Metairie Cemetery now stands) was used as the military camp and by early May, 1861, some 3,000 troops had trained there. The training camp, called Camp Walker, was deficient in many ways. The lack of easy access to clean drinking water, the swarms of mosquitoes from surrounding swamps and the soft, marshy soil in the camp made the place intolerable to men." Camp Moore, No. 1223 - accessed April 22, 2009

" Metairie Cemetery is located on a high section of ground known as the Metairie Ridge. The Ridge followed the course of Bayou Metairie, which is roughly the path of modern-day Metairie Road. Because Metairie Ridge was high ground (a rare commodity in the below-sea level metro area), in 1838 investors decided that along Bayou Metairie would make a good track for horse racing, and the Metairie Race Course was formed. As New Orleans grew in stature as a port city, the status of the race track grew as well, attracting better horses, gamblers with more money, even US Presidents. The Civil War put a damper on horse racing in the south, and the race track became a Confederate army camp. After the war, an attempt was made to revive the race track, but the sour economy of the Reconstruction help make this attempt a failure. The land was purchased in 1872 by a group of investors who formed the Metairie Cemetery Association, who decided to convert it into its current use." VNO: Metairie Cemetery

The New York Times, "Funeral of Charles T. Howard" , June 6, 1885

See also The Race...

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