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New Orleans Trivia

Is the "Frenchman Street" that crosses Gentilly Blvd. different than Frenchmen Street in the Marigny?

Blake Pontchartrain: The New Orleans N.O. It All


Hey Blake,

On Gentilly Boulevard near Norman Mayer Avenue is a sign for a cross street that says, "Frenchman Street." Is that different than Frenchmen Street in the Marigny?

Raymond the Speller

Dear Raymond,

  Frenchmen Street was named in honor of five French revolutionaries who died because of their fierce loyalty to their homeland. In 1764, the kings of France and Spain announced that Louisiana had been ceded from France to Spain. French leaders and other Louisianans were outraged and protested, with the demonstrations escalating over time. Spain sent Don Antonio de Ulloa to serve as governor of the colony, and there followed several plots to overthrow him. Ulloa could not quiet the unrest, so Spain sent military enforcer Alejandro O'Reilly to take over the colony.

  O'Reilly, an Irishman who served in Catholic armies, made a formidable impression as he arrived with more than 20 ships and about 3,000 soldiers. Once he quashed the rebellion, he turned to meting out punishment to the leaders. After a series of trials, O'Reilly imprisoned many, but Nicolas de La Freniere, Jean-Baptiste Noyan, Pierre Caresse, Pierre Marquis and Joseph Milhet were sentenced to death by hanging. O'Reilly, later called "Bloody O'Reilly," could not find a hangman to perform the task, so on Oct. 25, 1769, the five men were shot to death at the Place d'Armes (present-day Jackson Square).

  Frenchman, the singular form, is a misspelling on the street sign on Gentilly, just as Zimpel Street in the Carrollton area is sometimes misspelled Zimple. Frenchmen Street runs from the Faubourg Marigny to Filmore Avenue, at which point it becomes Vermillion Boulevard.

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