|Administrations of the Mayors of New Orleans|
Nicholas Girod (1747-1840)
Nicholas Girod was the fifth Mayor of New Orleans. He was of Protestant belief and the first regularly elected chief magistrate of the city of New Orleans under the Charter of Constitutional Rights, inaugurated in 1812 by virtue of admission to the Union.|
Mayor Girod was born during or about 1747. He was a member of a prominent French family, who owned considerable interests in shipping and mercantile enterprises, who settled in New Orleans during the Spanish regime. He was one of three brothers who for a number of years carried on commercial affairs with the planters in what was known as the commission or factorage business and personally became financially very successful. They kept a wholesale and retail store in the vicinity of the levee landing, which in later years was transferred to the building at the corner of St. Louis and Chartres Streets, which still remains. He owned immense properties above the city in the vicinity of Girod Street.
He was elected mayor on September 21, 1812, and served until September 4, 1814 at which date he was re-elected, resigning on September 4, 1815.
His administration witnessed one of the greatest events in American history, The Battle of New Orleans, January 8, 1815, which is considered the finale of the progress of American independence.
Girod welcomed General Jackson on his arrival and thoroughly co-operated with him in the vigorous resistance to the British. This he did however, more of a hatred for the British than of love for the Americans.
He was a stanch Frenchman and a great devotee to the first Napoleon. New Orleans was full of excitement in the spring of 1821 when Girod erected and furnished a house at 124 Chartres Street, near St. Louis Street, “The Napoleon House,” to be in readiness for Napoleon Bonaparte. The ship “Seraphine” was being completed for a secret voyage and Nicholas Girod was one of the sponsors for the plot to rescue the Emperor from St. Helena by Dominique You, one of Lafitte’s lieutenants, but the death of Napoleon frustrated this plan.
Mr Girod was a great philanthropist leaving a holographic will, dated December 23, 1837. Among other provisions in this will, he left a “bon” (or obligation) of $100,000 in favor of the Mayor of the City of New Orleans, for the city, to be applied to the construction of an edifice in the Parish of Orleans, bearing the name of N. Girod, to receive and afford relief to the French orphans inhabiting the State of Louisiana. Other Institutions and individuals were recipients under this will, as follows:
By wise investments it was increased by 1870 to $75,553.75. It was then that a number of buildings were erected on Matairie Ridge, in the rear of St. Patrick’s Cemetery. These structures have since been demolished. For a time they were occupied by the city as a boys’ home of refuge, up to the time when a new reformatory was erected on Nashville Ave. On May 24, 1894, these buildings and grounds were leased for a period of ninety-nine years, the lessee, Mr. S. Vidalot, vice-president of the French Orphan Asylum and the Girod Asylum, bound himself to care for a certain number of orphans of French parentage throughout that period. The Board of Health subsequently examined the premises, found that they were unhealthful and unsuited for the purpose, so the Council passed an ordinance, releasing the society from its agreement. A few years later, the buildings were turned over to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, which established there a home for destitute colored boys who had been committed to the care of the Society by the Juvenile Court. This arrangement having been terminated, the Commissioner of Public Buildings was instructed to erect the new buildings which, with all modern improvements, served the purpose of Boys’ House of Refuge for both white and colored. All that remains of the old buildings which were erected by the city with the Girod legacy, are the chapel and part of the main building. The material contained in these structures was utilized in the building of the present institution.
Mr. Nicholas Girod died on September 1, 1840 at 9 P.M., at the age of 90, at his home located on the corner of St. Louis and Chartres Streets.
|Members of the Girod Administration|
October 8, 1812-September 4, 1815
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