The Big Easy
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They say every city has a spirit. An insubstantial collective of every heart, mind, and wretched soul that ever walked its rain-slicked asphalt and shadow-stained alleys. The city is a living thing. Its lifeblood flows with the rainwater through the gutters of its veins. Its breath can be smelled in the salt on the air and the stale, mossy mist in the graveyards. The city pulses with life, feeding on the blood, sweat, and shit of its inhabitants.

New Orleans is no exception. She’s both more alive and deader than most other cities. She’ll open her arms and legs to anyone and everyone, inviting them in with handshake promises of loud music, fountains of booze, loose women, and dreams made flesh. She will kiss you so deeply that you think you’ll never need to breathe your own breath again. She’ll touch you where you never thought you wanted to be touched, and you’ll thank her for it when she’s swallowing the last drops of your cooling blood, leaving you as useless as an icebox in an igloo.

She can rip out your skeleton and dance on your skin. But she can also sing a song so sweet you’ll forget that she ever made you hurt. She loves you. Some days you’ll believe it. Other days you’ll pray for mercy.

Welcome to the Big Easy.


With nearly half a million residents as of the last census, New Orleans is the largest city in the Confederacy. And that’s not counting the itinerant oil workers, ships’ crews in port, tourists, and the throngs of migrants and hobos living on the outskirts. It’s also the country’s largest seaport and one of the major centers of the new oil industry. Richmond might house the government and Atlanta the finances, but New Orleans might well be the soul of the South.

The Crescent City has run through more hands over the years than a worn-out sawbuck. Settled by the French in 1718, it was sold to the Spanish less than 50 years later in 1762. The Spanish turned around and gave it back to the French in 1800. Napoleon held onto it for all of three years before selling it to the United States in 1803 along with a big stretch of land called the Louisiana Purchase. As a result, French and Spanish cultures were firmly entrenched in New Orleans early on, giving it a distinctly different character from other American cities.

Factions in New Orleans

The Sicilian Mafia is known as the Black Hand.

Locations of Note

The city sits on the banks of the Mississippi, about 100 miles upriver from the Gulf of Mexico. On the city’s northern border lies Lake Pontchartrain, a roughly oval-shaped body of water about 40 miles across and 60 miles long. Almost half the city lies below sea level.

Both the Mississippi and Lake Pontchartrain sit higher than the average elevation in New Orleans. This requires an extensive series of levees to keep the city from flooding. A network of canals and a powerful and elaborate pumping system operated by Hellstromme Industries is necessary to remove standing water during heavy rainstorms or occasional flooding.

New Orleans is divided up by # regions. These regions are listed below along with several key locations found within. Each region has a rough population and Fear Level.

City Center

This area encompasses the Central Business District, Mid-City, and the Warehouse District. Canal Street used to serve as an informal divider between the newcomer Americans Uptown and the old blood Creoles of Downtown. The median in the center of the broad avenue was known as neutral ground where residents of opposite neighborhoods could meet and trade. It’s the main artery for the financial heart of the city, running from the Mississippi to a somewhat foreboding end at a cluster of cemeteries. The street is now one of the best-lit and widest in the world. Sadly, all that light only seems to make the shadows on its edges that much deeper.

  • Fear Level: 2
  • Population: 30,000

Central Business District

This is the financial and economic center of the city. It’s one of the first expansions of New Orleans beyond the French Quarter and rose to prominence as its trade district early on. In addition to professional offices like the Hellstromme Industries Tower or the First Bank of the Confederacy, it also houses some of the finest hotels and glitziest nightclubs in town.

415 Baronne - Angel's Rest

Located near the downtown hotels, Angel’s Rest is a classy joint open from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. The club springs for its own orchestra, but most patrons come to hear Leigh “Angel” McCoy’s velvet pipes at the 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. shows. Her voice has been described as buttered honey and any Joe who spends an hour listening to her sing recovers a Fatigue level, regardless of the source.

Tulane at S. Rampart - Chinese Market

A small Chinatown has sprung up at this intersection and it’s the place to go if you’re looking for something—or someone—of Far Eastern origin. Many of the vendors are in tents in a nearby vacant lot, and there’s a surprisingly high rate of turnover among the merchants. Both the NOPD and Texas Rangers keep an eye on developments here, thanks to the Kanger Uprising in the Maze around the turn of the century.

543 St. Charles - City Hall

City Hall, like many important government buildings in New Orleans, is located on Lafayette Square. In addition to housing tax and licensing offices for nearly all New Orleans government agencies, City Hall also houses a complete file of all newspapers published in the city from 1804 until present. This makes it a veritable one-stop treasure trove from which to gather information.

1100 Poydras - German Consulate

The workplace and home of German Consulate General Wesley Marshall. It is known that Wesley is on the look-out for anyone or thing that could be of interest to his homeland.

812 Gravier - Hellstromme Industries Tower

23 stories, the Hellstromme Industries Tower is the tallest in New Orleans. The company’s offices occupy the upper 10 floors and its New Orleans operations are overseen by Andrew Leonhart, a sharp customer by anyone’s accounting. The lowest 12 floors are rented out to various other corporations and holdings. The thirteenth floor is neither acknowledged on the building’s directory nor accessible via one of the five elevators, but any careful study of the outside of the skyscraper reveals its presence. The missing floor is the subject of many conspiracy theories among residents of New Orleans and frequent tabloid fodder as well.

Lafayette Square in the CBD

Bounded by St. Charles, Camp, North, and South Streets, Lafayette Square is the center for most governmental business in New Orleans. In addition to City Hall and the NOPD headquarters, most major Confederate offices are also found around the square.

New Orleans Police Department (NOPD)

The new headquarters for the NOPD is located on Lafayette Square, near City Hall. While this is the main headquarters for the department, there are also many precinct houses spread throughout the city, and they’re usually responsible for immediate response in their respective areas. Archives of police reports and older case files are located here, but access to them is highly restricted. Connections (Police), some skilled fast-talking, or a considerable bribe is usually necessary for a private dick to get his hands on them.

1031 St. Charles - New Orleans Public Library

This is the main building for the city’s library system. The library contains six other branches scattered around the city and all told contains over a quarter of a million volumes, many thousands of which are in foreign languages. It is open until 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Mid-City

Mid-City grew up along the main route from New Orleans to Baton Rouge. It used to be known as “the back of town” because the low-lying ground was swampy and largely unsettled. Only after Hellstromme Industries’ expansion of the city’s pumping operations at the turn of the century did the neighborhood begin to see major development and expansion. Now it’s a mix of residential and professional businesses, marking the transition from the Central Business District to the suburbs to the north.

Warehouse District

South of Poydras Street, the business district gives over to several blocks of older warehouses, a few manufacturing sites, and a cotton mill or two. This aging industrial area continues right up to the docks, and thanks to its convenient location, many of the warehouses do a fairly steady business providing temporary storage for shipments passing through the city.

Downtown

In New Orleans, the terms Uptown and Downtown refer to their positions in relation to the Mississippi’s flow, with Canal Street as the divider. Originally, Downtown was where the Creole residents settled, and Uptown was where you’d find the English-speaking Johnny-come-latelies. Now, Downtown is home to some of the worst slums in New Orleans.

It’s hard to get an exact read on how many people reside in these neighborhoods due to a high number of transient residents combined with an ingrained distrust of authority figures. In addition to being home to the poverty-stricken population of the city, the lack of order attracts large numbers of homeless and migrant workers who flock to the abandoned tenements that pepper the neighborhoods.

Tremé

By far, this is the worst of the neighborhoods, with a higher concentration of run-down buildings than either of the others. President Davis freed the slaves back in the 1860s, but that was about it for giving the scores of largely uneducated former slaves any further help. Many ended up settling north of the French Quarter in poorly built and even more poorly maintained structures. The population has been ravaged repeatedly by yellow fever and suffered heavily during the flu pandemic.

Many buildings today are in a state of downfall or ruin. Congo Square and two of the three St. Louis cemeteries are also housed in this neighborhood, all focal points for voodoo practitioners in the city. Congo Square is home to many street vendors hawking supposedly potent talismans and charms if that’s your bag.

Deacon's Groceries

Marigny-Bywater

Near the French Quarter, Marigny-Bywater retains a European influence in architecture and culture. The area was heavily settled by German and other northern European immigrants toward the end of the last century. As one moves farther downriver, the buildings begin to show signs of urban decay. At the Industrial Canal itself there are the beginnings of a revival of industry, with an occasional factory or warehouse rising among the bones of the dying neighborhoods. The Confederacy maintains a holding facility in the area where the most dangerous prisoners are held until they can be transferred to a national prison.

The Lower Ninth

Virtually exiled from the rest of the city by the Industrial Canal, this neighborhood houses a large number of poor residents in homes that are often little more than shanties. Before the construction of the Canal, this area was largely rural and occupied by former sharecroppers and the descendants of freed slaves. Now some of its residents find employment in the nearby industrial developments along the canal, while others continue to live as they did for half a century, with small farming plots and by fishing.

Close to the Industrial Canal, the Confederate Army operates a supply depot and the Louisiana National Guard maintains the Jackson Barracks for use when operating in the city. Farther south along the riverfront, a few of the antebellum plantation houses still stand, and the money belonging to the owners of those mansions keeps something of a police presence.

Storyville

The city of New Orleans legalized prostitution within a 10-block area just north of the quarter. In 1917, the Confederate Secretary of War, Josephus Daniels, tried to exercise federal authority to force the closure of the area. He quickly learned how impressed New Orleans was by stiff-shirted politicians in Richmond when they ignored his demands. Daniels promptly closed a Confederate military base in Algiers, but the city’s leadership figured the taxes (and kickbacks) from Storyville more than made up for the lost revenue from the base.

Named in “honor” of the alderman responsible for its creation, Sidney Story, the area is infamous throughout the Confederacy as a bed of carnal iniquity. The presence of a rail station inside Storyville proves there’s no shortage of out-of-towners looking to spend a little money in the quest for release. The madams even publish so-called “blue books” advertising their wares and prices to new arrivals.

The French Quarter

Technically a part of Downtown, the Quarter is its own entity and what most people think of as “New Orleans.” It’s the oldest part of the city; in fact, the Creole name for it is Vieux Carré, which means “old quarter.” The architecture is decidedly European and at first may feel odd nestled into the southern swamps of the Confederacy.

Because nothing is as easy as it seems in New Orleans, the Quarter is the center of the Italian community in the city. (If you guessed that means the Black Hand has a big say in what goes down there as a result, you’re right.) Ironically—or maybe not, given this is Louisiana — the state Supreme Court sits near the middle of the French Quarter.

Unlike the more modern parts of the city, various businesses are scattered throughout the Quarter, with no more order than if they’d been fired out of a shotgun. You might find an elegant dress shop next door to a dusty pawn shop. Eclectic antique dealers sit beside corner grocers. There’s most anything you could want to buy available in the Quarter, but the trick is knowing how to find it.

The French Market, famous for its all-hours coffee shops, has stood in the southeast corner for over a century. Recently, the city has made strides toward modernizing the combined food market and bazaar, roofing large sections of previously open-air stalls. Fresh fish, meat, and produce are all available, often side-by-side with merchants selling all sorts of oddities from all corners of the globe.
Superstition is very strong in the French Quarter. There’s more than one alleged voodoo shop as well, but those are mostly tourist traps. For actual voodoo trinkets, a curious Joe is better off looking elsewhere. Still, the Quarter is shrouded in mysteries, many stretching back centuries. Nearly every block has its “haunted house” or at least a ghost story or two.

As far as residences, it’s far from the nicest place to live in New Orleans, but it’s also not the worst. For that, you have to walk a few blocks north to Tremé.

Northside

The northern neighborhoods of the city are among some of the newest, with the exception of the Upper Ninth Ward. Most of them have seen serious settlement only in the last few decades, as technology made it possible to raise the ground level high enough that it wasn’t constantly a mud pit.

Bayou St. John

This neighborhood derives its name from a finger of Lake Pontchartrain that runs deep into the northern part of the city. A portion of the original Bayou has been filled in recently to make room for a middle-income housing development though much of the bayou remains flooded. Houseboats which once clogged the waterway are becoming less common. This is thanks in no small part to the stench, as the waters are popular dumping grounds for trash — and occasionally bodies. The city sometimes dredges the bayou to keep it at least marginally navigable, but nobody breaks their backs doing it.

Gentilly

Gentilly originally grew along Gentilly Ridge, a stretch of high ground that bordered a bayou in this area. Early this century, the Orleans Levee Board filled in much of the swampy ground. Pumps run by Hellstromme Industries did the rest. Now, Gentilly is home to a growing suburban population. Unlike some neighborhoods in the city, Gentilly is fairly integrated racially. It also houses Dillard University and the Pontchartrain Beach Resort, both of which are segregated, so go figure.

Lakeview

A new seawall on the lakefront made another suburban area possible. As with Gentilly, it owes its existence largely to the efforts of the Orleans Levee Board, but Lakeview is considered a little more upscale than Gentilly. Several golf courses and City Park give the area more of a gentrified feel, attracting residents with a little more disposable income. It’s nowhere near the high-society types in the Garden District, but still not the kind of people who make note of where the soup kitchens are either. City Park, the largest urban park in the Confederacy, is also found in Lakeview.

The Upper Ninth Ward

Prior to the digging of the Industrial Canal in the early 1920s, there was just the Ninth Ward. Now residents refer to the part west of the Canal as the Upper Ninth and the area east as the Lower Ninth. The Upper Ninth, being adjacent to Downtown and Mid-City, is the more developed of the two. The fact that the Ninth was also on a stretch of ground higher than the areas closer to the lake gave it an edge as it was more suitable for building. That means the buildings here are older than in the other northern neighborhoods — which also means they’re more rundown than the newer homes and apartments nearby. Of course, that usually results in lower rents as long as you don’t mind sharing your room with a water stain shaped like Texas or a cockroach or two… thousand.

Riverfront

The Port of New Orleans consists of nearly eight miles of wharves and docks, more than five of which run contiguously from Marigny-Bywater well into Uptown. Hundreds of thousands of feet of warehouse space are available along the waterfront as well as in the inland Warehouse District adjacent to the Central Business District. New Orleans is by far the largest port in the Confederacy and sees dozens of ships dock daily.

The volume of business done by the port is so great that there are actually eight separate dockworkers’ unions required to service the vessels docked there. The Harbor Police are responsible for patrolling the waterfront and have full policing power. Given the vast quantities of materials that pass through the port, there’s little doubt the Harbor Police draw a fair amount of interest—and money—from the Black Hand.

Algiers

On the south side of the river sits the isolated neighborhood of Algiers. Originally this area served primarily as an industrial and rail base, but over the years it has become home to thousands of families. Currently, it can only be reached by one of several ferries departing the waterfront. Most of these run 24 hours a day. The new administration has plans in place to construct the James McKendrew Memorial Bridge to provide direct access in the very near future.

The Algiers Naval Air Station stands empty to this day, a testament to the combined stubbornness of the city aldermen and the CSA War Department in their clash over Storyville.

Uptown

When Americans first began moving into New Orleans in the early 19th century, by and large, they settled on the higher ground to the west of the existing Creole settlements. The residents call this area Uptown because it’s upriver from Canal Street, the traditional dividing line between the newcomers and the original inhabitants.

Garden District

This stretch of land was originally home to a few plantations, but those were sold off over the years to wealthy Americans who didn’t want to live too close to the Creoles in the French Quarter. The mansions they built were elaborate affairs, surrounded by wrought-iron fences and well-tended gardens. Originally, only a small number of houses were allowed per block to allow for the extravagant landscaping that gives this neighborhood its name, but as the city has grown, some of these have been broken up into smaller tracts. Money trumps everything, after all.

The Garden District retains its position as the seat of the old gentry of the city. If you’re looking for a wealthy patron—or a wealthy sucker, depending on your ethics—this is the most likely place to find one. Step lightly, though. These folks take their reputations almost as seriously as they take their bank accounts.

Irish Channel

In the 1830s, a large wave of Irish immigrants came to the city to work on digging the New Basin Canal. Most of them settled a short distance from the dock they disembarked onto, ironically right next to the highbrow Garden District. The Irish workers died in droves building the canal—from as few as 3,000 to as many as 20,000 depending on who you ask.

Poverty and hard times tend to make for hard people with little money. Street gangs were the kings of the block back then, and they have had a resurgence lately thanks to the Great Depression. The one place considered neutral ground is a bar named the Bucket of Blood, apparently proving its owner has the gift of prophecy.

The upside of this is that the Black Hand mostly keeps its mitts out of the Channel. Even they don’t want to mess with a bunch of riled-up Irishmen.

Carrolton

Until annexed by the city in 1874, Carrolton was a separate, incorporated town. It would still be a quaint little burg on the edge of the city if not for Hellstromme Industries’ main pumping station. Carrolton’s current claim to fame, it sticks out like a concrete and steel carbuncle. Smoke and steam belch constantly from the huge brick towers as the massive screw pumps draw water from the storm drains and sewers and push them into the lower-lying bayous to the east.

Access to the Hellstromme facility is restricted, with heavily armed private guards patrolling the property. The company claims—and the city backs it up—that this is necessary to protect against possible attacks by anarchists, Communists, Unionists, and/or Kangers, depending on the day of the week.

In spite of the virtual private army on site, Carrolton is now overrun with patent scientists and inventors of all sorts hoping to find employment with Hellstromme Industries. As a result, the once quiet neighborhood is now the toughest place to get a good night’s sleep thanks to all the racket. It’s also probably the most technologically advanced section of the city—and the one most likely to electrify its citizens, disintegrate a streetcar, or just plain explode.

Uptown

One of the largest neighborhoods, Uptown grew as New Orleans expanded and gobbled up smaller adjacent communities. It sits on a natural levee on the inside bank of a bend in the Mississippi, making it the prime real estate in a region whose main commodities were once mud and stagnant water.

A large number of residences can be found in Uptown, ranging from mansions and near-mansions where it borders the Garden District, to single-family bungalows as you travel farther from town to apartment buildings closer to the business districts. There are a few manufacturing firms and warehouses where Uptown meets the city center. For the bookworms, Tulane and Loyola Universities sit at the eastern end of the neighborhood, right above Audubon Park, which houses a zoo and more than one arboretum.

The Outskirts

What you find on the outskirts largely depends upon which direction you leave the city. Go far enough in any direction and you end up in the bayous that pretty much make up the foundation of southern Louisiana, but in between New Orleans proper and all that swampland, there’s still a little civilization.

To the west, there’s Jefferson Parish, where land developers have been building upscale houses for the last decade or so. Surrounded by large tracts of undeveloped land and the occasional old plantation house, these residences appeal to the nouveau riche more than the old money in town. People whose money has been around long enough to have Spanish moss growing on it tend to gravitate toward the Garden District. Still, there are a few legacies hunkered down on the old plantations here and there in Jefferson. Acres of swampy woodland do wonders for keeping folks from prying in your business.

South of the city, there’s Gretna, the parish seat for Jefferson County. It’s a spitball town compared to New Orleans, but word has it that its government is for sale the same as its larger sister on the other side of the river. The chief of police gets bristly when flatfoots from the big city get to nosing around his stomping ground, by the way.

East of the city you’ve got what folks call East New Orleans, for all the obvious reasons. Thanks to the Industrial Canal that links Lake Pontchartrain to the Mississippi, the area is seeing some growth in manufacturing and industry, particularly Hexaco’s refining stations. A little farther and you get to the shantytowns where migrants, hobos, and other people down on their luck shack up if they can’t find a roof in town. The residents there stick together and provide for each other as best they can, but the absence of hope is downright palpable.

To the north is Lake Pontchartrain, which isn’t of much interest unless you’re into swimming, oil wells, or refineries. Hexaco and Humble Oil both have more than a few of the latter situated around the lake.


Characters of Note

James McKendrew

James McKendrew

Mayor of New Orleans

Mayor McKendrew has proved a competent leader for the city and perhaps even a touch less shady than his predecessors. He made significant improvements to the city’s streets and public transportation system and has expanded the electrical grid and telephone network. Still, in a political environment as cutthroat as New Orleans, it’s, without doubt, he’s made more than his share of deals to secure his own power base.

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