The "New Orleans Tribune"

The New Orleans Tribune, the first African American daily newspaper, began on July 21, 1864. It quickly rose to be one of the most significant and radical Black periodicals of its time. Bilingual from its conception, the Tribune published two pages in English and two in French to better serve the diverse population of New Orleans. The Tribune folded after six years after having published over a thousand issues. The newspaper tackled multiple issues concerning the Black community and engaged its readers with articles about racial progress, political matters, city accomodations for Blacks, education, and so forth.

On the front page of the issue shown here, the first Louisiana Convention, which took place just days before, is referenced. In this section, the Tribune boasts the fact that the Convention named it the organ of the leagues. The Tribune’s involvement with the Convention movement can be seen, too, in the minutes for the Mobile, Alabama, 1865 Convention, which comes from the newspaper.

 

The New Orleans Tribune, January 17 1865

The New Orleans Tribune, January 17 1865. Courtesy of African American Newspapers: 1827-1998.

In Roudanez: History and Legacy, Mark Charles Roudané writes: 

The Tribune was instrumental in the creation of the Freedmen’s Aid Association, the local branch of the National Equal Rights League, the Friends of Universal Suffrage, and ultimately, the Louisiana Republican Party. The newspaper actively participated in all the major political debates and played a key role in the creation of the 1868 Louisiana State Constitution, the most radical in Reconstruction history. Ultimately overpowered by conservative Republicans, the Tribune by and large suspended operation in the spring of 1868.

The Tribune was founded and financed by Dr. Louis Charles Roudanez. Like many free people of color in New Orleans, he was wealthy and grew up with the French language. And similarly, his parents were racially mixed refugees from the French colony of Saint-Domingue (Haiti), leaving after the island’s successful slave rebellion began in 1791. Returning to New Orleans after being a student in Paris, Roudanez married Célie Saulay, a free woman of color, in 1857. The doctor established a successful medical practice on Customhouse Street (now Iberville) in the French Quarter, serving clients without regard to race or ability to pay.

 

References

Roudané, Mark Charles. Roudanez: History and Legacy. Accessed on April 29, 2016. Link.

 Credits

Researched and written by Eileen Moscoso. Edited by Dr. P. Gabrielle Foreman.

Dr. L. Roudanez, patriote créole, fondateur propriétaire de la Tribune de la Nouvelle-Orléans; [Louis Charles Roudanez (1823 - 1890)].


Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division, The New York Public Library. "Dr. L. Roudanez, patriote créole, fondateur propriétaire de la Tribune de la Nouvelle-Orléans; [Louis Charles Roudanez (1823 - 1890)]." The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1911.