More Times-Picayune gems for your perusal, culled from my Bayou St. John research on the Times-Picayune Historical database this past week.

Police notes, July 9, 1878: “Between 10 and 11 o’clock Monday morning, a dispute arose over a game of cards on board a fishing smack lying in Bayou St. John, near the lake, between a Manila man named Marian Lacroste, aged 25 years, and Louis Bancart, his partner. The dispute was ended by Bancart, who seized a hatchet, and inflicted a severe cut on Lacroste’s hip. The wounded man was conveyed to Charity Hospital, and an affidavit was made against Bancart.”

Losing at cards? Just grab your hatchet!!


September 8, 1880: “An Unfortunate Somnambulist: A Woman While Asleep Walks Into the Bayou St. John

Yesterday morning the body of a white woman clad in her night clothes was found floating in the Bayou St. John, between Dupre and White streets. The fact of only having her night gown on, led to the supposition that the woman had committed suicide, and an investigation was at once set on foot by the Coroner Board. It was ascertained that the deceased was named Mrs. Ruth A.G. Patterson, aged 57 years, and residing at [obscured] Canal street.

The unfortunate woman was afflicted with somnambulism and fell a victim to her disease. During the night she walked into the canal and was drowned. The jury returned a verdict in accordance with the circumstances, and the remains were taken in charge by friends.”

Poor, poor Ruth. What an eerie image: Ruth walking from Canal into the bayou in the middle of the night….I wonder what she was dreaming?


September 8, 1882:”On last Wednesday night an unknown thief entered the sexton’s office of the St. Louis Cemetery, on Esplanade street, near the Bayou St. John. The thief stole two cages, containing live singing birds, which were owned by Mr. H. Bienvenu.”

Wow, those birds must really have been worth something! But to poor Mr. Bienvenu, alone in his office amidst that sea of tombs day after day, their singing must have been pretty key….


July 10, 1883: “Garroters in a Streetcar: At half-past nine o’clock last Monday night as car No. 4, of the Dumaine street line, turned the corner of Dumaine and Bayou St. John, two unknown highway men jumped into the car and rushing at Paul Bertuchaux, the driver, demanded his money.

Paul was not going to be bulldozed, and refused to deliver up his cash, whereupon he was assaulted and beaten and cut over the face by the parties. He tried to defend himself by striking at them, when they ran off without accomplishing their purpose.

Their description as far as could be learned has been telegraphed to all the stations.”

Paul would NOT allow himself to be bulldozed!! I hope the city gave him a raise.


April 1, 1884: “The Performing Bear and Its Masters Find Their Way to the Lock-Up

For some days past a Frenchman named Costick, and a Turk named Yunovasch Turnovich, have been exhibiting a performing bear on Bayou St. John near Metairie Ridge. On last Monday evening the owners of the bear and the beast himself imbibed too freely of spiritous liquors, and as a consequence became drunk.

The bear was told to pounce upon one David Edmonds, which it did, and in a few moments Edmonds was lying on the broad of his back, as if Sullivan had hit him. Edmonds well knew he was no match for his grizzly opponent, and thereupon summoned Sergeant O’Rourke and Officer Hanley to his rescue. The bear was taken away; its masters were taken to jail for being drunk and maintaining a public nuisance in exhibiting the bear without a license, and for causing the animal to assault Edmonds.”

Wait, is this an April Fool’s joke? The bear got drunk too? Only in New Orleans, as they say….