The French Market Fish Market has a long and convoluted history...
From the Cabildo Digest:
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."
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.
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
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.
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.