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Document of the Month Page

Begun in April of 2012, Document of the Month highlights interesting documents, photographs, and other images from the holdings of the Louisiana State Archives. This page features documents for the current year. To see documents for prior years, click on the links below.

Algiers Tricentennial

(6/1/19) Algiers is celebrating its Tricentennial this year. Established in 1719 across the river from New Orleans, it was annexed to the city in 1870. This month's document is a letter dated from Algiers a little over two weeks after Confederate forces had fired on Fort Sumter in South Carolina. Lieutenant A.W. Morrison of the Continental Guards, a detachment of the Washington Artillery, writes to Brigadier General G.L. Tracy, Commander of the 1st Brigade of Louisiana Volunteer State Troops, that his detachment of 18 men took a ferry across the river to Algiers, where they captured the steamship Wm G. Hews. The newspaper reported the next day that, on orders of Governor Moore, three vessels were taken possession of–W.G. Hewes, Texas, and Tennessee of Morgan's Texas Line and registered as belonging to New York. Morrison reports that the officers are gentlemen and do everything in their power to make them comfortable. There is no cooking on board and they get their rations from the Hotel. The original document is found at the Louisiana State Archives in the Rebel Archives Collection (Accession P2003-25), Box 4, Folder 59. A detailed finding aid for this collection is available on the Members' Page of the website.

partial document

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D.B. Napier Death Certificate, 1934

(5/1/19) Few people will recognize the name Daniel Bryan Napier, known as the "Butterfly Man." In 1934, he murdered a 15-year-old girl named Maggie Mae Giffen in Shreveport, and was suspected of another killing in Georgia. He was quickly tried and hanged, and has the distinction of being the last person legally executed in Caddo Parish. His death certificate featured here notes his alias of Fred Lockhart, which is how he was referred to in newspaper articles of the time. He was buried in an unmarked grave in Greenwood Cemetery. The document is on file at the Louisiana State Archives (Statewide Deaths, 1934, vol.13, #5097). His victim's death certificate (not featured) indicates that she was the daughter of Charles Giffin of Lake Girardeau, Missouri, and Maggie Mae Burnett of Texas (Statewide Deaths, 1934, vol. 10, #3919).

death certificate

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Albert Estopinal Death Certificate, 1919

(4/1/19) Albert Estopinal was a sugar cane planter from St. Bernard Parish who served in both houses of the Louisiana State Legislature and in the U.S. House of Representatives. He also served as Lieutenant Governor from 1900 to 1904. He was born on the 30th of January 1845, and died one hundred years ago this month in his home parish of St. Bernard. His death certificate shown here identifies his parents as Joseph Estopinal and Felicie Gonzales, both of Canary Island heritage. It can be found on file at the Louisiana State Archives (Statewide Deaths, 1919, vol.10, #4941).

death certificate

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Emile Zatarain Death Certificate, 1959

(3/1/19) Zatarain's is a well-known Louisiana spice brand. The company was founded in 1886 as a grocery by Emile Antoine Zatarain, a New Orleans native with Basque roots. After leaving the grocery business, he founded the Zatarain Food Products Company and formulated Papoose Root Beer. He then expanded into other New Orleans and Cajun style flavorings and spices. His five sons followed him in the business, which was sold in 1963. Zatarain died 60 years ago this month at the age of 93. He is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in New Orleans. His death certificate can be found on file at the Louisiana State Archives (Orleans Deaths, 1959, vol. 0, #2135). It identifies his parents as Jules P. Zatarain and Elmire M. Lafrance.

death certificate

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Ada Bonner LeBoeuf Death Certificate, 1929

(2/1/19) Ninety years ago, Ada Bonner LeBoeuf and her purported lover, Dr. Thomas Dreher, were executed in Franklin, Louisiana, for the contract killing of Ada's abusive husband, James LeBoeuf, in July of 1927. The pair, along with shooter, James Beadle, were arrested and tried in St. Mary Parish. The trial was a sensation and made national headlines. "Ada and the Doc" were sentenced to death by hanging and Beadle received life in prison, though was released years later. The case has been the subject of two books and several articles. Controversy still lingers today. The author of the second book reportedly had difficulty finding local venues to give presentations and was told prominent people whose lineage related to the case would be angered. This month's document is Ada's death certificate. It states she was born 14 September 1889 in Jeanerette, the daughter of Charles E. Bonner of Ohio and Virginia Bossuet of Louisiana. It can be found on file at the Louisiana State Archives (Statewide Deaths, 1929, vol. 8, #3216).

death certificate

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Grace King Death Certificate, 1932

(1/1/19) Grace King was a New Orleans novelist and historian. Her writings included short fiction, novels, memoirs, biographies, and history. Louisiana genealogists will recognize her 1921 work, Creole Families of New Orleans, as a chronicle of the histories of numerous prominent New Orleans families. She was born in the city in 1852 to an aristocratic family and received an impressive education. She died in New Orleans on the 14th of January 1932 at the age of 78. Her death certificate, featured here, indicates she was single, a writer, and the daughter of William W. King and Sarah A. Miller. It can be found at the Louisiana State Archives (Orleans Deaths, 1932, vol. 203, p. 320).

death certificate

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