City Archives
New Orleans Public Library

Digest of the Acts and Deliberations of the Cabildo
Theatre

Introduction to the Digest

Subject Book Volume Page Date Description
Theatre 4 III 48 7/27/1799 Acting Governor: Vidal; Royal Ensign: De La Ronde - The Acting Governor and President of the Cabildo stated that he is aware of certain doubts regarding the partition made by former Governors in the box at the theatre; which box should be used by the Ordinary Judges and the Commissioners; that said box should be left for the use of the Army Commander only in the absence of the Civil and Military Governor. Therefore, after the death of Gayoso, he had instructed the manager of the theatre to take off the said partition, as the box for the use of the members of the Cabildo should not be to the side, but in front of the stage and constructed with plenty of space. He stated that the management and operation of the theatre is unquestionably under the direction of the Civil Government as per Royal Order, and the Military Commanders must not mix themselves in these matters, nor have any fixed place. (On page 51 the Royal Order governing this matter is shown.)
Theatre 4 III 130 2/7/1800 Acting Governor: Vidal; Royal Ensign: De La Ronde - At this time the Attorney General presented a memorial calling attention to the public gambling place owned by Boniquet operated under the pretext of a license for a lottery to procure funds to cover the expense of the play house; to the freedom of slaves of both sexes in going to dances given in Coquet’s house. (The Attorney General’s memorial was recorded at the foot of the act, and the Commissioners cited to appear in extraordinary session the next day to discuss the same.)
Theatre 4 III 137 2/8/1800 Acting Governor: Vidal; Royal Ensign: De La Ronde - At this extraordinary session the Governor and President, in accord with the Commissioners, ordered Jose Antonio Boniquet and Bernardo Coquet to present themselves in these chambers in order to reprimand and admonish them. The Governor stated that Boniquet and Coquet are partners and had obtained a permit for a dancing hall - one for white and one for colored - from the late Governor Gayoso; also a permit in favor of Boniquet for the lottery. He mentions the restrictions imposed and the abuses which had crept in, but resolved not to prohibit the dancing hall nor the lottery so that the people could not say it was a pretext to obstruct the operation of the play house, as without this income the performances could not continue.
Theatre 4 III 142 2/21/1800 Acting Governor: Vidal; Royal Ensign: De La Ronde - At this time an official letter from the Governor is read in which he states that he has approved the prohibition of the public dance hall for colored people; also states that as soon as Boniquet and Coquet were notified of the prohibition, they informed him of the privilege granted to them by the late Governor Gayoso, which permit was granted at the request of the shareholders of the playhouse “El Coliseo” in order to obtain revenue for the upkeep of same, etc.
Theatre 4 IV 128 8/14/1801 Governor: Salcedo; Royal Ensign: De La Ronde - At this time the Attorney General calls attention to the public dances for colored people, given by Bernardo Coquet. He asked that they be prohibited. The Governor and President asked for copies of previous documents concerning this matter in order to study them and decide what is best.
Theatre 4 IV 137 9/18/1801 Governor: Salcedo; Royal Ensign: De La Ronde - At this time an official letter from the Governor is read from which the Commissioners have noticed that His Lordship is determined that the dances for colored people at the house of Coquet shall continue.
Theatre 4 IV 154 1/15/1802 Governor: Salcedo; Royal Ensign: De La Ronde - At this time the Commissioners recall that when the Theatre was established, there were only four Commissioners out of the original six to represent this Cabildo at the performances. El Baron de Carondelet, Governor at that time, ordered that the box in front of the stage be divided into two parts - the one to the right, larger and more prominent for the use of the members of the Cabildo, and the smaller one to the left for the use of His Lordship and family. This arrangement continued until the administration of Gayoso, notwithstanding the fact that the number of Commissioners had increased to twelve; after the death of Gayoso, Acting Governor Vidal immediately gave orders to the manager of the theatre that the partition be removed for the reason that the box for the members of the Cabildo should not be alongside but in the center of the stage, with sufficient space. The Commissioners had been in possession of this larger box until the threatre was recently opened when it was noted that the box was again divided into two boxes and the smaller on the left set aside for the use of the members of the Judiciary and City Administration. Considering themselves insulted, neither the Judges nor the Commissioners have attended, etc. They address an official letter to the Governor enclosing copy of the act of July 27th, 1799, also, a copy of the Royal Order requesting His Lordship to issue the proper orders to the manager of the theatre so that he may place at the disposal of this Cabildo a box large enough for its members, and located in the center facing the stage. (See also page 156, 160, 162, and 170 covering the controversy with this Governor.)

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