Girod Fund and Asylum Records

Manuscripts Collection
Louisiana Division
New Orleans Public Library

Date Range: 1841-1874
Size of Collection: 2 boxes (1 linear foot)
Terms of Access: Available to registered researchers by appointment

Historical Note:

Nicolas Girod (1747-1840) was a commission merchant and property owner in New Orleans. He served as the city's mayor from 1812 until his resignation in 1815. His home at the corner of Chartres and St. Louis Streets in the Vieux Carre is said to hav e been selected as the refuge for the Emperor Napoleon had he been successfully removed from his island exile.

By the terms of his will, Girod left $100,000 to the city of New Orleans for the construction and operation of an asylum for orphans of French ancestry. The will was challenged by his heirs, however, and after lengthy litigation the city received only $28,000. That sum formed the basis of the Girod Fund which, through investments, grew to over $70,000 by the late 1860s when the city commenced the erection of the asylum buildings.

Designed by J. N. P. DePouilly, architect of the St. Louis Hotel and for the 1850s renovation of the St. Louis Cathedral, the buildings were sited behind St. Patrick's Cemetery, near the present-day intersection of City Park Avenue and Canal Boulevard. They never did house the French orphanage envisioned by Girod, but were used instead as the Boys' House of Refuge and later as the "Colored Waifs' Home," where Louis Armstrong learned to play the trumpet.

Some of the original asylum buildings were condemned by the Board of Health and subsequently were demolished and replaced by new structures (DePouilly's chapel and part of the main building were retained). All of the Asylum buildings were demolished so metime in the 1930s and the site is now occupied by the Third District station of the New Orleans Police Department.

Description of the Records:

The records include financial documents, letters, and reports relating to the Girod Fund's investments and to contracts with and payments to Samuel Johnston, the contractor who built the Asylum, and his subcontractors. A calendar of the papers, prepared by Glenn McMullen in 1975, is available below.

Also available are two of DePouilly's original plans for the Girod Asylum. They are in very poor condition; please consult with an archivist about availability.


Note: The City Archives does not calendar records as a rule. The Girod Fund and Asylum records were processed some time ago more or less as an experiment. One of our volunteers recently transferred the original handwritten pages to an electronic format, thus making it possible for us to mount the calendar here.

Click on a category below for a full description of the items therein.

Category I -- Girod Fund, 1841 - 1859
Category IIA -- Girod Fund And Asylum, 1860 - 1866
Category IIB -- Girod Fund And Asylum, 1867
Category IIC -- Girod Fund And Asylum, 1868 - 1870
Category IID -- Girod Fund And Asylum, 1871 - 1874
Category IIE -- Bank Books, Checks, Funds
Category IIIA -- Samuel Johnston, 1867 - 1869
Category IIIB -- Samuel Johnston, 1870
Category IIIC -- Samuel Johnston, 1871 -1873
Category IVA -- Subcontractors: John Hamlin
Category IVB -- Subcontractors: George Merz
Category IVC -- Minor Subcontractors
Category IVD -- Minor Subcontractors
Category IVE -- Minor Subcontractors

Processed by: Glenn L. McMullen, 1975
HTML Coding by: Wayne Everard, September 15, 1998

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