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1840 Fish Market & Wild Game Market

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The French Market Fish Market has a long and convoluted history...

From the Cabildo Digest:

1794 Report from F. Arnaud, Gen. Syndic Attorney and the commissaries appointed by the Governor to examine the rules of the butchery and fish markets.

In 1797 Spanish Commissioners under Govornor Gayoso "considered at this time how useful it would be to establish a fish market to protect both the fish and the fisherman from the weather, also to provide a clean place for the sale of fish. As this matter had been previously discussed, a plan with the estimated cost was presented. The Commissioners decided that each one take the matter, individually under consideration and report at the next meeting."

At the next meeting, the Royal Ensign (Almonaster) presented a letter to the Cabildo in which he states that the Fish Market Building is costly and unnecessary. He mentions the indebtedness of the City Treasury to the Royal Treasury in the amount of eight thousand Pesos, and many public obligations that need attention. The Commissioners resolved to leave the Fish Market pending.

10/27/1797  In a letter to the Cabildo, protesting the building of the Fish Market, the Royal Ensign mentions the bad condition of the cemetery which should have their attention instead of a Fish Market. The Commissioners resolved to cooperate with the Pastor, Father Friar Antonio Sedella, to have the casks removed from the old cemetery and transferred to the new one.

11/3/1797  Don Fernando Alzar offers to build the fish market according to the plan submitted to this Cabildo, with the understanding that he be permitted to collect all the revenues for a period of two years, paid by the retailers of fish, game, pork, lamb, meat, etc. This proposition was forwarded to the Attorney General for an opinion.
10/13/1798  Don Francisco de Riano and Don Luis Darby Danycan, Commissioners appointed to supervise the repairing of the levees, recommend that the repairing extend from the Gate of St. Louis toward the meat market so that a shed could be build for the use of the fisherman, hunters and butchers, so that the city might benefit from taxes paid by these retailers. The Commissioners approved, and ordered that the work be done.

11/23/1798 At this time the Commissioners discussed the construction of a Fish Market. They resolved to approve the plan already presented, that the roof be constructed of tile and that specifications be published every three days asking for bids.

12/15/1798 At this time a document is presented by Don Bartholeme Lafond stating that he has obtained the bond required in connection with the construction of the Fish Market, which contract was granted to him for the sum of 2773 Pesos, with the understanding that one-third of this amount be advanced to him.

3/29/1799  It was agreed at this meeting that the pillars of the Fish Market be built with 12 inch stakes instead of 8 inch stakes.

5/31/1799  Don Bartholome Lafond requests an additional one-third payment on the Fish Market, which he states is now one-half finished.

6/14/1799 The Cabildo orders the Annual Commissioners to provide tables and other necessary fixtures to be placed in the Fish Market for use in the sale of calves, pigs, sheep, fish and the retailing of other products; also to have the building covered with tar and red lead to preserve the lumber. To make rules and regulations governing the collection of taxes which must be paid by the retailers.

8/3/1799 (now under Acting Governor Vidal)  At this time Don Jayme Jorda reports that the tile dealer would not deliver to Contractor Lafond the necessary tile for the roof of the Fish Market, unless he paid cash. The Contractor not having the cash, the Commissioners instructed Don Jayme to obtain the tile, drawing on the City Treasury for the amount, to be deducted from amount due Lafond.

9/20/1799  A bill is presented by Urbane Gaingier for construction of 16 tables for the sale of meat, and 7 tables for the sale of fish, also a large sun shade for the fish section.
11/29/1799  A bill is presented by Arnaldo Magnon for painting the Fish Market with tar and red lead.

2/21/1800  At this time a petition from Don Bartholome Lafond is read in which he states that he has finished the Fish Market, asks that it be inspected, and if found correct in accordance with contract, that he be paid its value. The last one-third payment of the contract is ordered paid to Lafond.

In 1840 The Fish Market and Wild Game Market were built in the French Market adjacent to the Vegetable Market. In the same year  Frenchman Antoine Alciatore opened a boarding house on St. Louis Street and was later credited with inventing souffléed potatoes and pompano en papillote. which he served at his restaurant Antoine's.

In 1936 with Gervais Favrot and Co. as the major contractor for an overhaul of the entire French Market, a new wholesale fish market shed was built along the levee near the Meat Market.  In 1937, the city passed an ordinace providing rules and regulations governing the wholesale and retail fish market and Fishermens' Platform at French Market Place.  

In 1973  the wholesale fish market was demolished and two new buildings took its place --the Halles des Cuisines and a new Red Stores complex.


French Market fish market (watercolors) by Alvyk Boyd Cruise.   These paintings were made in conjunction with the Historic American Buildings Survey.  Circa 1938.


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Unless otherwise noted, the photographs on this website are from the Louisiana Digital Library.

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