Prints are hand-signed by the artist.
William Donaldson, a young merchant from New Orleans, and a member of the Louisiana Legislative Council, had a dream of building a town to be parish seat and the state capital. In 1806, he purchased the 1775 Spanish Land grant of Pierre Landry, bordered by the Mississippi River and Bayou Lafourche, and commissioned Barthelemy Lafon (1769-1820), Creole architect and city planner, to draw a plan for La Ville de Donaldson. Donaldson Town was formally dedicated on April 27th, 1806. La Ville de Donaldson was incorporated on March 25th, 1813. William Donaldson died in September 1813.
In 1825, Donaldsonville was selected to become the “Capital City of the Commonwealth of Louisiana.” The State House was completed, and the legislature meet there in 1830 and 1831, until they decided to move the seat of government to New Orleans.
Donaldsonville was bombarded by Union forces, during the Civil War, in the summer of 1862. After the Civil War, Donaldsonville became the largest black community in the state, and in 1868, elected Pierre Caliste Landry, a former slave, as the first African-American mayor in the United States.
BERNARD LEMANN & BRO.
Jacob Lemann (1809-1887), a peddler, who arrived from Germany, settled in Donaldsonville, and founded the business in 1836. His sons Bernard and Myer Lemann took over the mercantile business, becoming “Bernard Lemann & Bro.”.
On December 2nd, 1876, a destructive fire engulfed the block between Mississippi, Railroad, and Crescent Place. The five buildings were destroyed. The “Chief” of February 10th, 1877 reports: “Mr. Bernard Lemann has purchased the two lots…which the buildings were recently burned…Mr. Lemann is having the debris removed from the lots preparatory to putting up an extensive brick building…”
In June of 1877, large quantities of brick were hauled to the lots on Mississippi Street, and construction began on the new building designed by James Freret, architect. By October 1877, the workmen were constructing the roof. The new Italianate style building, “Bernard Lemann & Bros.”, opened on February __th, 1878. The store offered groceries, both retail and wholesale, men’s clothing, shoes, hats, and lingerie. At Christmas time, the second floor hosted a Toyland.
“Once the oldest family-operated department store in Louisiana”.
The Lemann Store finally closed it’s doors in 1940’s.
top of page
bottom of page