[Charles Lyell, the noted English geologist, who arrived in New Orleans just before Lent in 1846, included in his A Second Visit to the United States of North America (2 volumes, New York, 1849), II, 90-97, pictures of the Carnival, the theater, and other aspects of life of perennial attraction to the curious tourist on a visit to this ever-fascinating river-sea port.]
Next morning at daylight we found ourselves in Louisiana. We had already entered the large lagoon, called Lake Pontchartrain, by a narrow passage, and, having skirted its southern shore, had reached a point six miles north of New Orleans. Here we disembarked, and entered the cars of a railway built on piles, which conveyed us in less than an hour to the great city, passing over swamps in which the tall cypress, hung with Spanish moss, was flourishing, and below it numerous shrubs just bursting into leaf. In many gardens of the suburbs, the almond and peach trees were in full blossom. In some places the blue-leaved palmetto, and the leaves of a species of iris (Iris cuprea), were very abundant. We saw a tavern called the "Elysian Fields Coffee House," and some others with French inscriptions. There were also many houses with porte-cocheres, high roofs, and volets, and many lamps suspended from ropes attached to tall posts on each side of the road, as in the French capital. We might indeed have fancied that we were approaching Paris, but for the negroes and mulattoes, and the large verandahs reminding us that the windows required protection from the sun's heat.
It was a pleasure to hear the French language spoken, and to have our thoughts recalled to the most civilized parts of Europe by the aspect of a city, forming so great a contrast to the innumerable new towns we had lately beheld. The foreign appear