Cheval-de-frise in the French Quarter 1


Cheval-de-frise in the French Quarter 1
Memorialization of Urban Slavery in Southern Coastal Cities


slavery; memorials


Although it is unclear when this cheval-de-frise was installed, it is still quite shocking to see while walking around the French Quarter. There is a tradition in New Orleans to line residential fences and walls with some kind of barricade (like this, sharp wire, broken glass, etc.), but it would not be surprising if the tradition grew out of events in New Orleans similar to the Vesey rebellion in Charleston, white property owners fearing their slaves may rebel.
This project was funded by Bernard and Anne Spitzer Travel Fellowship for research projects involving travel abroad and incorporating the study of architecture, landscape architecture, or urbanism.
My goal was to research, witness, and record how each of my chosen Southern port cities has dealt with its past in regards to urban slavery, and to begin making a record of this history. Although all of the locations I visited were major hubs of the American slave trade, these cities remain mostly lacking in admitting their full and complete history. The inaccurate and incomplete narratives, lack of memorials, and white-washed histories designed to appeal to the tourist industry do not tell the stories of the slaves in an unbiased and forthright way. So much of what I witnessed revolved around a very racially divided tourist industry, but I know that change is possible. The story of urban slavery is not just the story of African Americans in the United States, but the story of all of us, and the more we can understand this, the better off we all will be.


Whang, Maura


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Whang, Maura


Architecture and City Planning




New Orleans, LA




Whang, Maura, “Cheval-de-frise in the French Quarter 1,” Spitzer School of Architecture, accessed February 28, 2024,

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