Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Mizell-Nelson, Michael

Second Advisor

Atkinson, Connie

Third Advisor

Mitchell, Mary N.


One seemingly lost aspect of working-class life in antebellum New Orleans stems from the effort of entrepreneurs to provide bathing and swimming facilities for the city's working poor. In exchange for a relatively inexpensive fee per use, working-class New Orleanians served as the customer base for “floating pools” moored along the Mississippi riverfront. Beginning in 1836, these pools represented a transitional phase between the long extant tradition of bathing and swimming for free in the river and the development of commercialized, waterfront pleasure resorts for the masses in the late 1800s. Close proximity of working class neighborhoods to the river allowed New Orleans entrepreneurs to capitalize on restrictions city official began to place on bathing in the river. The floating pools represented an early stage in the commercialization of recreation as well as public hygiene.


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