Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Ylce Irizarry, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kristin Allukian, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Gurleen Grewal, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kersuze Simeon-Jones, Ph.D.


Francophone fiction, Geocriticism, New Orleans writers, place studies, Romanticism


Although New Orleans joined the United States following the Louisiana Purchase, the city’s French colonial period continued to influence New Orleanians. The lives and writing of nineteenth century New Orleans gens de couleur libres, free people of color, document continued exchanges with France and the Caribbean despite the city’s increasing Americanization. Drawing from Westphal’s theoretical work on geocriticism, Intersections of Race and Place in Short Fiction by New Orleans Gens de Couleur Libres locates sites of transgressivity and their representations in writers Michel Séligny, Adolphe Duhart, and Victor Séjour’s French language short stories. Chapter One examines New Orleans’s historical and literary connections with France. After describing nineteenth century New Orleans’s historical French influences, particularly a tripartite racial system, French language use and education, and continued movement between France and New Orleans, the chapter presents models of French Romantic fiction through analysis of two French novels set in the Americas: Victor Hugo’s Bug-Jargal and Gustave de Beaumont’s Marie, ou L’esclavage aux États-Unis: Tableau de mœurs américaines. This chapter then identifies representations of France and French Romanticism in Séligny’s “Marie” and Duhart’s “Trois Amours.” New Orleans’s gens de couleur libres population was also linked to Haiti through French colonial experience and immigration. The second chapter traces Haiti’s colonial past and the shifts in population that followed the Haitian Revolution. Analysis of nineteenth century Haitian writers Ignace Nau’s short stories and Émeric Bergeaud’s novel Stella reveals a focus on Haiti’s revolutionary past and the Haitian people. This dissertation then considers the role of Saint Domingue/Haiti and Haitian literary traits in Séjour’s “Le Mulâtre” and Duhart’s “Simple Histoire.” Nineteenth century New Orleans short fiction by gens de couleur libres writers demonstrates transnational literary connections with France and Haiti that resist the newly American city’s changing culture, racial binary and English language.