Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Mizell-Nelson, Michael

Second Advisor

Hirsch, Arnold R.

Third Advisor

Mitchell, Mary N.


This thesis is a biography of Henry Louis Rey (1831-1894), a member of one of New Orleans' most prominent Creole of Color families. During the Civil War, Rey was a captain in both the Confederate and Union Native Guards. In postbellum years, he served as a member of the Louisiana House of Representative and in appointed city offices. Rey became heavily involved with spiritualism in the 1850s and established séance circles in New Orleans during the early 1870s. The voluminous transcripts of these séance circles have survived into the twenty-first century; however, scholarly use of these sources has been limited because most of the transcripts and all marginal annotations later written by René Grandjean are in French. The author's translations of the spirit communications through their entire run reveal insight into the spiritual and material realms negotiated by New Orleans Black Creoles as they weathered declining political and economic fortunes.


The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.