I read your article on the New Orleans Jockey Club and how it began and was first located at the City Park Race Track. I also know that there once was a racetrack near Race Street (hence its name). What was the greatest number of racetracks that New Orleans supported at one single time?
When the Mexican War broke out in 1847, New Orleans boasted of four racetracks: the Metairie, the Eclipse, the Louisiana and the Bingaman. And more than once there were three tracks where one could enjoy the Sport of Kings. From 1852 to 1855, we had the Union Race Course, which is the site of the Fair Grounds today; the Metairie Race Course; and the Louisiana Race Course. Also, before the Louisiana Legislature brought an end to racing in 1908, you could plunge at City Park, the Fair Grounds and Suburban Park on the West Bank.
As for Race Street, it was supposed to lead to a racecourse. There were grand plans to build a coliseum, a school, and have horse races held in the area, but they never developed.
Also known as Rue de la Course, the street was developed on property once owned by the Jesuits and then Jean Baptiste Marigny. After his death, his plantation was divided and sold. In April 1807, Pierre Robin Delogny bought half of the extensive property for $70,000, a purchase, which included a plantation house, gardens, and outbuildings. Right after the act of sale, he issued a "Prospectus of the Faubourg de la Course," or the Racetrack Suburb. Even while he was negotiating the purchase, he had a plan drawn up by surveyor Barthelemy Lafon, the man who named most of the streets when he subdivided the plantations.
Robin Delogny's prospectus announced that "There will be put up for sale, as for the present all the lands of the said frontage, from the road that will be established immediately behind the levee on the bank of the Mississippi River, as far as the Cours des Dryades in the rear, either by separate lots or by squares."
His prospectus also indicated that a site would be reserved for the building of a college, a Prytanium. However, the college never came into existence and is remembered today only in the name of Prytania Street.
You can see that on old maps there is a Rue de la Course, but there is also a Rue du Prytanee, a Rue du Collisee and a Cours du Collisee. Lafon's plan included a coliseum to be built on a site bounded by present-day Camp, Race, Coliseum and Euterpe streets. On old maps it is shown in the form of a capital E that faced the river. The coliseum that was never built is recalled when we drive down Coliseum Street. And the planned racetrack was supposed to be between the coliseum and the river.
Where was the French parish church of Notre Dame de Bon Secours located in New Orleans?
This church was on Jackson Avenue between Laurel and Constance streets. Redemptorist Father Gerard bought the property on Jackson Avenue on June 25, 1857, and a few days later the foundation was laid. But poor Father Gerard didn't live to see the church completed as he died of yellow fever before the first mass was offered in the new building.
In the Irish Channel where many French, Irish, and German immigrants lived, there were three Catholic churches. The French went to Notre Dame de Bon Secours, the Germans to St. Mary's, and the Irish to St. Alphonsus. The Redemptorists established St. Mary's Church for Germans in 1843, which was replaced by a splendid brick church in 1858. St. Alphonsus Church for the Irish and other English-speaking Catholics was built in 1855. When Notre Dame on Jackson Avenue was built in 1858, it was the first Roman Catholic Church for the French in this part of the city. In 1922, Archbishop John Shaw combined the parishes of St. Mary's Assumption, St. Alphonsus and Notre Dame. The church on Jackson Avenue was demolished.