Louisiana Division
New Orleans Public Library

Yellow Fever Deaths in New Orleans, 1817-1905

More than 41,000 people died from the scourge of yellow fever in New Orleans between the years 1817 (the first year that reliable statistics are available; surely there were deaths in earlier times) and 1905 (the Crescent City's last epidemic). The number of fatalities ranged from none in years that the plague spared New Orleans to more than a thousand in nine of the eighty-eight years of the fever's activity.

We often hear from genealogical researchers that their ancestor(s) died in the epidemic of 18__, and that they would like to search the records of that year's fever season. We know from experience, however, that family tradition or other sources sometimes err in identifying a given year as one of epidemic significance. Our first step is usually to consult George Augustin's History of Yellow Fever (New Orleans, 1909), a thick volume that chronicles the year-by-year yellow fever numbers for the Crescent City--and for the rest of the world as well.

With the assistance of volunteer Lea Gaines we have extracted the New Orleans numbers from Augustin's listings. We offer them here as a quick reference for researchers interested in identifying the fever's impact on the city in a given year.

For researchers, both genealogists and historians, interested in identifying fever victims, the Louisiana Division and City Archives offers a number of records, though not online. Death certificates, cemetery interments, Charity Hospital, Hotel Dieu, & Touro Infirmary registers, and records of the Orleans Parish Coroner are all available. For more information on these materials see Genealogical Materials in the Louisiana Division and New Orleans City Archives. For historical accounts of the fever see NOPLINE, the Library's online catalog (do a subject word search for "yellow fever"), accessible from our home page.


Year Number of
Deaths
1817 80
1818 115
1819 2190
1822 237
1823 239
1824 108
1825 49
1826 5
1827 109
1828 150
1829 215
1830 117
1831 2
1832 18
1833 210
1834 95
1835 284
1836 5
1837 412
1838 17
1839 452
1840 3
1841 594
1842 211
1843 487
1844 83
1845 2
1846 146
1847 2306
1848 808
1849 769
1850 107
1851 17
1852 456
1853 7849
1854 2425
1855 2670
1856 74
1857 200
1858 4845
1859 91
1860 15
1862 2
1863 2
1864 6
1865 1
1866 185
1867 3107
1868 5
1869 3
1870 588
1871 54
1872 39
1873 226
1874 17
1878 4046
1879 19
1880 2
1883 1
1889 1
1897 298
1898 57
1899 23
1905 437 (Augustin does not give a figure for 1905; the total given here is from the
Biennial Report of the Board of Health of the City of New Orleans, 1904-1905).

Back to Fact Finder

rev., 1/31/2003--we