New Orleans History -- Lake Pontchartrain
Monday, June 17, 2024
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What item was commonly used to scrub stoops in New Orleans?

Brick or brick dust.

Kristina Brooks, writing about Alice Dunbar-Nelson's "Local Colors of Ethnicity, Class, and Place" at said:

"Dunbar-Nelson's stories recording the practice of washing the doorstep include "The Goodness of St. Rocque" (Works 1) and "Cupid and the Phonograph" (Works 3). Dunbar-Nelson notes only that the custom stems from a superstition, but Robert Tallant explains that the most common protection from evil gris gris (hoodoo charms) in New Orleans was to scrub the front stoop with brick dust (199). "

Very informative article (above) for those interested in such things. There's a good bio of Dunbar-Nelson (1875 - 1935) at

For an except from "The Goodness of St. Rocque" see the pontchartrain history site at . An entire e-text of "The Goodness of St. Rocque and Other Stories by Alice Dunbar" can be found at