Portrait of Betsy by Franz “François” Fleischbein, 1837 New Orleans
American portraits of black and mixed race men and women were more often than not made in New Orleans, if what I’ve noticed is correct. This is probably because in 1804, while slavery was still allowed even in the north, the Creoles of New Orleans were welcoming (or at least allowing) refugees of the Haitian Revolution. City and state officials thought that Louisiana had more than enough “free persons of color”, but the Creoles wanted a bigger population of French-speakers so that they could remain the majority. Soon, New Orleans had the largest number of free blacks in the South. I don’t know anything about how relations were between the races, but I’m assuming that there had to have been some respect for each other, especially because they were united in their fight against the invasion of the terrible German and Irish immigrants who didn’t speak French.
This is one of the lovliest portraits I have ever seen, and not just because of that slammin’ turban! She is so lovely and captivating!