During the month of October, the Hermann-Grima House offers specialized tours interpreting mourning habits of the 19th century. The house is dressed to reflect the period of mourning in honor of Marie Anne Filiosa Grima, mother of Felix Grima, who died on the property October 15, 1850. During your visit you will explore the religious and cultural significance of death in New Orleans and see how this part of life permeated every aspect of the southern Victorian experience. An exhibit in the Gallier House Shop will further examine 19th century mourning practices and feature black onyx mourning jewelry and hair jewelry.

 

In the nineteenth century New Orleans was known as “The Necropolis of the South” because of its exceedingly high incidence of mortality. Yellow fever and cholera were the main scourges of the population. The first well-recorded visit of yellow fever to the city occurred in 1796. Sporadic prior to 1830, both yellow fever and cholera struck almost yearly thereafter. The worst of the cholera epidemics claimed ten percent of the population in 1832, while the yellow fever epidemic of 1853 was a major disaster for New Orleans. Within four months, a tenth of the population (approximately 10,000 people) died. More than forty percent were taken ill. The burial count in the city’s cemeteries ranged from 150 to 250 per day.