A lifelong resident of the city of New Orleans, State of Louisiana (except for the three years of active military duty), I wish to assert that we never did celebrate “Juneteenth” in New Orleans. The reason is quite simple. “The Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 did not apply to the slaves in New Orleans, nor the slaves in Washington, D.C., for that matter.”

My parents of 12 children and the segregated public-school system that we attended in the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s, were consistent in teaching and reminding us that President Lincoln was not directing his proclamation at those territories or states where federal troops were in control. The proclamation clearly reads and demonstrates that Lincoln was asserting that “… in accordance with my purpose so to do publicly proclaimed for the full period of one hundred days, from the day first above mentioned, order and designate as the States and parts of States wherein the people thereof respectively, are this day in rebellion against the United States,…”

Lincoln goes on to say in the proclamation that “…I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free.” Thus, there was no need to apply the proclamation to the city of New Orleans.

At all times during this period, federal troops occupied the city of New Orleans. Thus, slaves in New Orleans, my ancestors, since we trace our paternal and maternal ancestry back into slavery, our forefathers and mothers remained in slavery until the adoption of the 13th Amendment in 1865.


retired judge

New Orleans