Erin Greenwald (Historic New Orleans Collection) and Joshua Rothman (University of Alabama) on commemorating New Orleans role in the domestic slave trade:
Other cities that were centers of the slave trade have begun to acknowledge and come to terms with their past. Natchez, Miss., the second busiest domestic slave-trade hub, has a memorial and a series of placards detailing that history. Richmond, Va., which became the largest domestic exporter of enslaved people by the 1830s, has created a Slave Trail Commission, and that commission has created a walking trail tracing the city’s history of slavery and the slave trade.
New Orleans, by contrast, has done next to nothing to commemorate the critical and sorrowful role it played in the domestic slave trade.
Concerned that overcrowded, squalid, and disease-ridden slave pens and prisons were a public health threat, the New Orleans City Council in 1829 banned the lodging and public exposure of slaves for sale or hire within what were then city limits, now the French Quarter. That regulation effectively pushed slave pens out into the Faubourg Marigny and what is now the Central Business District. A second regulation forced those pens out even farther on the Uptown side, making them stay above Girod Street.
But those regulations had no impact on the trade’s size and scope.