An Immigrant’s Tale

August Dupuy

January 1853
New Orleans

There was no other choice. It would have to be the Orphan Boys’ Home.

The boys’ home, officially known as the Asylum for the Relief of Destitute Orphan Boys (although often called the simply the Orphan Boys’ Home or the Male Orphan Asylum), was located at Jackson and Josephine at Chippewa not far from the riverfront1E.A. Michel & Jules Molaison, New Orleans annual and commercial register of 1846.. (New Orleans: E.A. Michel & Co, 1845), p. 389; Digital Image, HathiTrust Digital Library. (http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/009605140 : Accessed 5 Sept 2015).. The asylum was not particularly close to Bouligny, but the three mile distance was near enough that Auguste could get there on his own with no money and no help.

It may as well have been called the Asylum for the Relief of Desperate Orphan Boys, for that is what he was. With no parents and now no home, he had nowhere to turn except the place from whence he had come. Anything would be better than staying with the painter.

On that March day almost two years earlier when he had left the asylum to be delivered to Joseph Carron, the painter from Faubourg Bouligny2Log Book, 1851 January – 1865 August; Log, Volume 48; Waldo Burton Memorial Boys’ Home records, Manuscripts Collection 202, Louisiana Research Collection; Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118. Daily log entry for 31 March 1851., the morning clouds gave the appearance that it might rain. The river was in danger of overflowing the levees in spots and the state of the levees was a constant concern in this city where the brutal force of water was held back only by the embankments.3“Local Matters: State of the Levee,” The Daily Crescent (New Orleans, Louisiana), 29 March 1851, P. 2, Col. 3; Digital Images, Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82015378/1851-03-29/ed-1/seq-2/ : Accessed 23 August 2015). More rain was the last thing the river needed, since just two days before an inch and a quarter of rain had fallen on the city.4“Local Matters: Meteorological Journal,” The Daily Crescent (New Orleans, Louisiana), 29 March 1851, P. 2, Col. 3; Digital Images, Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82015378/1851-03-29/ed-1/seq-2/ : Accessed 23 August 2015). It did rain – about a third of an inch – driving more concern about the condition of the levees throughout the city.5“Levee Reports,” The Daily Crescent (New Orleans, Louisiana), 31 March 1851, P. 3, Col. 1; Digital Images, Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82015378/1851-03-31/ed-1/seq-3/ : Accessed 23 August 2015).

As he had made the trip north to the painter’s home in Jefferson City, Auguste’s concern had been not so much about the rain or the levees. He was being sent out “on trial” to learn the painter’s trade, and if Mr. Carron found him satisfactory, Auguste would become his apprentice.6Admission Record Book, 1824 July -1850 January; Admit book “A”, Volume 33; Waldo Burton Memorial Boys’ Home records, Manuscripts Collection 202, Louisiana Research Collection; Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118. Admission log for Auguste Dupuy. The agreement may have been “on trial” for Mr. Carron, but Auguste had been in no position to reject an offer of learning a trade. There had been little choice on his part.

As an orphan whose father he could barely remember7New Orleans, New Orleans Health Department Death Certificates, as Kept by the Recorder of Births, Marriages and Deaths, v. 9 1841-1846; Jean de Dieu Dupuis Death Certificate; New Orleans Public Library, New Orleans, LA; FF650 1841-1846., whose mother had been dead for three and a half years8New Orleans, New Orleans Health Department Death Certificates, as Kept by the Recorder of Births, Marriages and Deaths, v. 11 1846-1849; Jeanne Gentilhomme Death Ceritficate; New Orleans Public Library, New Orleans, LA; FF650 1846-1849., and whose step-father had died only a year after his mother’s death9Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Death Certificates, Pierre Michel Dubocq Death Certificate; <12 October 1848>, Vital Records; Louisiana Secretary of State, Baton Rouge, Louisiana., he needed a way to support himself when he was no longer eligible for the support of the asylum. There were his younger sisters to think about as well — Eliza was only eleven10Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Birth Certificates, Eliza Dupuis Birth Certificate; <2 February 1842>, Vital Records; Louisiana Secretary of State, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. and Victorine11Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Birth Certificates, Victorine Dubocq Birth Certificate; <6 November 1846>, Vital Records; Louisiana Secretary of State, Baton Rouge, Louisiana., the daughter of his mother and her late second husband Pierre Michel Dubocq, was but five. Perhaps it was meant to be; after all, his own father had been a housepainter12New Orleans, New Orleans Health Department Death Certificates, as Kept by the Recorder of Births, Marriages and Deaths, v. 9 1841-1846; Jean de Dieu Dupuis Death Ceritficate; New Orleans Public Library, New Orleans, LA; FF650 1841-1846. before he died when Auguste was six years old.13New Orleans, New Orleans Health Department Death Certificates, as Kept by the Recorder of Births, Marriages and Deaths, v. 9 1841-1846; Jean de Dieu Dupuis Death Certificate; New Orleans Public Library, New Orleans, LA; FF650 1841-1846.

As it turned out, it was not meant to be after all. Joseph Carron was not a kind man, but Auguste had stayed. He had spent his days learning and working for 21 months before he could take no more ill treatment from the painter. On the 10th of January, 1853, he arrived for the second time at the Asylum for Destitute Orphan Boys, this time on his own accord. Requesting temporary shelter, he relayed tales of very poor treatment at the hands of his master. George C. Brower, Esq., a member of the asylum’s Board of Directors and of the Committee on Apprentices, promised that the situation would be investigated, and permission was granted for Auguste to stay at the orphanage.14Admission Record Book, 1824 July -1850 January; Admit book “A”, Volume 33; Waldo Burton Memorial Boys’ Home records, Manuscripts Collection 202, Louisiana Research Collection; Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118. Admission log for Auguste Dupuy.

Auguste enjoyed the comparatively relaxed atmosphere at the orphanage for the next four months while the Committee on Apprentices continued to make arrangements for boys to apprentice, learning a trade with which they could support themselves. Days passed as always with lessons and chores, and the boys were allowed visits and special outings when there was time off from school.15Log Book, 1851 January – 1865 August; Log, Volume 48; Waldo Burton Memorial Boys’ Home records, Manuscripts Collection 202, Louisiana Research Collection; Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118. Daily log entries for 1853. The boys, along with the rest of New Orleans, were blissfully unaware of the coming Yellow Fever epidemic that would take the lives of thousands of New Orleans residents before the year was out.16Lafayette Cemetery Research Project (New Orleans), “The Yellow Fever Epidemic in New Orleans – 1853,” Undated, Lafayette Cemetery Research Project, New Orleans (http://www.lafayettecemetery.org/yellowfever1853_page1 : Accessed 23 Aug 2015), The Yellow Fever Epidemic in New Orleans – 1853 (Page 2).

As Auguste himself would do after leaving the boys’ home, some of the former residents of the asylum returned to visit on occasion.17Admission Record Book, 1824 July -1850 January; Admit book “A”, Volume 33; Waldo Burton Memorial Boys’ Home records, Manuscripts Collection 202, Louisiana Research Collection; Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118. Admission log for Auguste Dupuy. 18Log Book, 1851 January – 1865 August; Log, Volume 48; Waldo Burton Memorial Boys’ Home records, Manuscripts Collection 202, Louisiana Research Collection; Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118. Daily log entries. Despite the pull that brought former residents to return, not all of the boys appreciated their residency at the asylum. Shortly after Auguste’s return from Carron’s employ, eleven year old William Doyle was admitted, which was apparently not at all to Doyle’s liking. He immediately announced to his sister who was dropping him off that he would not stay; true to his word, he promptly went out the first gate he could find and was off. He was back the next day and in much better spirits, but over the next few months made it a habit to leave without permission.19Log Book, 1851 January – 1865 August; Log, Volume 48; Waldo Burton Memorial Boys’ Home records, Manuscripts Collection 202, Louisiana Research Collection; Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118. Daily log entries for 14 Jan – 22 Jan 1853. 20Log Book, 1851 January – 1865 August; Log, Volume 48; Waldo Burton Memorial Boys’ Home records, Manuscripts Collection 202, Louisiana Research Collection; Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118. Daily log entry for 13 May 1853.

May 1853

Auguste, of course, could not stay at the asylum indefinitely. Resources were limited at the orphanage and Auguste needed to learn a trade and free up space at the asylum for a younger boy. Knowing this, the Committee on Apprentices made arrangements for him to apprentice under a planter in St. Landry Parish, up the Mississippi River and a few miles west. In May, just as the first isolated cases of Yellow Fever began to appear21Lafayette Cemetery Research Project (New Orleans), “The Yellow Fever Epidemic in New Orleans – 1853,” Undated, Lafayette Cemetery Research Project, New Orleans (http://www.lafayettecemetery.org/yellowfever1853_page1 : Accessed 23 Aug 2015), The Yellow Fever Epidemic in New Orleans – 1853 (Page 2)., it was arranged that he should be sent to Opelousas to live with Francois A. Pitre, a cotton planter.22Log Book, 1851 January – 1865 August; Log, Volume 48; Waldo Burton Memorial Boys’ Home records, Manuscripts Collection 202, Louisiana Research Collection; Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118. Daily log entry for 14 May – 19 May 1853. Life in Louisiana meant regular appearances of Yellow Fever, and despite his move to St. Landry Parish, the plague would find Dupuy again.

Citations   [ + ]

Places in Auguste Dupuy's life

Paris, France

1835 - Born in Paris, France

New Orleans, LA, United States

1838 - Immigrated to New Orleans, LA

Opelousas, LA, United States

1853 - Sent on trial to Opelousas to apprentice to a cotton planter

Port Hudson, LA, United States

1863 - Captured at the fall of Port Hudson

New Orleans, LA, United States

1862 - Present at the fall of New Orleans

Washington, St. Landry Parish, LA, United States

1865 - Paroled at the end of the war at Washington in St. Landry Parish

9143 LA-182, Opelousas, LA 70570, USA

Auguste Dupuy leased the Ave Maria Plantation in St. Landry Parish for several years in the early 1900's

Comments

  1. Chuck Hinton says:

    Full disclosure requires me to make known that the editor is my daughter. I am so proud of her talent and perseverance in finding all of this information about our ancestors while I am still able to enjoy it. Knowing from whence we came is part of who we are, and let us not forget that we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. Thank you Mary Ann for making this possible.
    Love, Dad

  2. Kathy Walling says:

    August Dupuy is my great, great, great grandfather. I started researching this line of our family tree in 2009. I have to say I didn’t make much progress until “meeting” Mary Ann. And I am so blessed to know her! While I had some pieces of the puzzle, it took great effort and considerable time to put it all together, as Mary Ann has done. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Great job on the story of August Dupuy! kw

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