SLAVERY AT BK HOUSE, 1826-1864
The property at 1113 Chartres Street, now known as the Beauregard-Keyes House, was built in New Orleans in 1826. Slavery was legal in Louisiana until 1864 and much of the state's wealth to that point was entirely dependent upon an economy that employed human bondage.* The first three families who owned this property--LeCarpentier, Merle and Andry/Garidel--did own enslaved people. The enslaved at BK House lived in the second floor of the quarters in the rear of the courtyard, a four-room dwelling which still stands today. Because enslaved people in the American south were rarely taught to read or write, we have no record in their own words of what the experience was like for those living at 1113 Chartres Street. We do, however, have a number of documents that record their existence and give at least a hint of insight into the experiences of the many people who lived on our property as a result of their oppression.
In 2018, we completed the first stage of an ongoing research project to find out more about the lives of the enslaved people who lived at our site in the 19th century.
Continue below to learn more about our findings so far:
LeCarpentier Merle Andry/Garidel
*While the vast majority of enslaved people in Louisiana were of African (or African/Native American) descent, as they were at the BK House, New Orleans also had a prosperous community of antebellum free people of color, or, gens de couleur libres. This is mentioned here because there were likely a number of free people of color associated with the BK House and research is being conducted to explore these connections.
A very special thank you to Dr. Annie Doucet, instructor of French at Tulane University & Chiara Azzaretti and Jaclyn Maraldo, current Ph.D. candidates in Tulane University's Ph.D. Program in French Studies. The many hours they spent providing us with high-quality translation work was indelible to this project. Special thanks, also, to Jayme Songy, our summer intern in 2018, who provided valuable help with transcriptions and organizing of our research findings.
Early plans for the house at 1113 Chartres Street, now the Beauregard-Keyes House. The big house is front right, with the slave quarters, carriage house, and garden area (now the courtyard) located just behind. The side garden (which today can be seen from the street) is front left.
Source: Orleans Parish Notarial Archives. Plan by C.A. Armas dated October 7, 1865.
The former slave quarters at BK House, circa 2015. Living quarters were on the second floor and the original kitchen was on the first floor. The side buildings were additions added much later in the 19th century. The courtyard would not have been a manicured leisure space in 1826, but rather a garden and work area with a dirt floor where the daily operations of the house--cooking, gardening, laundry, and many other demanding tasks--would have been conducted by the enslaved.