New Orleans History -- Lake Pontchartrain
Thursday, April 27, 2017
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1863 - CLARIMONDE: A TALE OF NEW ORLEANS LIFE, AND OF THE PRESENT WAR BY A MEMBER OF THE N. O. WASHINGTON ARTILLERY.

It was a night during the season that the yellow fever was daily numbering its victims by hundreds. Death was abroad everywhere, but the evening was so soft as to tempt her and a party of congenial spirits to a ride over the shell road--that famous avenue, bordered with groves, and which terminated a few miles from New Orleans, at Lake Ponchartrain. Only the midnight vigil lamps shone through the streets, and along the road, and nought disturbed the silence of the hour, save the slow rumbling of the hearse's wheels, an occasional shriek from some departing soul in the last agonies of death, or the forced merriment of the revellers themselves.

One might have supposed that they were bent on some such mission as that of the Memphians, who, carried at midnight the bodies of their dead across the lake that bordered their city. On the contrary, it was only the ordinary search after pleasure, and an attempt to leave behind the gloomy atmosphere of death.

Arrived at the lake, a supper of wines and costly dishes was ordered, which it was thought would add to the hilarity of the party; but it did not. Then followed bachinal songs and others in which an attempt was made to set death at defiance, but which were more inexpressibly melancholy than any funeral dirge. But the gaiety of the party was too obviously assumed; and at length, wearied with what produced only sickening disgust, my mother, who was the ruling spirit, and who now realized, for the first time, that she was growing old, reluctantly gave her consent to return home.

It was none too soon--the seeds of disease began to betray themselves before the party separated; and ere the close of the succeeding day, my poor mother was borne a corpse, yellow and spotted, by the black horses, to her final resting place.

Source: CLARIMONDE: A TALE OF NEW ORLEANS LIFE, AND OF THE PRESENT WAR.
BY A MEMBER OF THE N. O. WASHINGTON ARTILLERY.
RICHMOND:
1863.
By Bartlett, Napier, 1836-1877
Electronic Edition.
http://docsouth.unc.edu/imls/bartlett/bartlett.html