A small but mighty presence. Jewish immigration has been a part of local history since Sephardic traders plied their wares in colonial Louisiana. Although Jews never represented more than about two percent of New Orleans’ population, they have been a major force in the city – dominating Canal Street commerce and shaping the city’s social and artistic institutions.
Early chapters in the story of local Judaism include a wave of French and German speaking Jews who established several Uptown Reform congregations in the 1800′s and a group of Eastern European Orthodox Jews who settled the Dryades Street area some fifty years later. Running through the 250 year history of New Orleans’ Jewish community are themes of assimilation, social exclusion, philanthropy and political activism that transcend synagogue affiliation.
From its pre-Louisiana Purchase beginning to its post-Katrina effort to repopulate and rebuild, JEWISH NEW ORLEANS tracks the exuberant undercurrent of Jewish life in the multi-cultural history of the Crescent City.