Front page of Frank Leslies   Illustrated   Newspaper
New York, February 26, 1881



A STORM Of unusual severity swept over the Northwest, and down the Mississippi Valley to the Gulf during the early days of last week. In Iowa and Illinois the snow was followed by rain which froze as it fell, and railroad travel was interrupted in all directions. At Omaha and westward the snow fall was the heaviest of the season. Telegraphic communication was almost entirely cut off, the lines being disabled by heavy winds. At New Orleans the storm was very severe, and parts of the city were overflowed owing to breaks in the levee. On the 7th in all that portion of the city west of Broad Street, between the two canals, and all that portion west of Johnson Street and north as far as Ursuline Street, embracing a hundred squares, the streets and sidewalks were entirely covered with water. The high wind blew down fences and damaged wharves, and the roof of the wing of the State House in which the offices or the State Superintendent of Education and the Commissioner of Immigration are located blew off in the storm and the records were damaged. Algiers suffered terribly nearly every fence in the town being blown down with several smokestacks and roofs.

The water along the line of the Mobile Railroad submerged the roadbed, and on the Louisville and Nashville road trains were unable to run for two days. On the former road several theatrical companies were embargoed by the break. On the 9th a terrific storm of wind and rain struck Pass Manchac, sweeping away every building in the place including the depot and telegraph-office. No lives were lost, but the citizens lost everything in the way of household effects, provisions, etc. The Jackson road was submerged for a considerable distance near North Pass. At New Orleans the water continued to rise until the 10th, Cypress Grove Cemetery and the Spanish Fort Railroad being then submerged. Skiffs and sail-boats were brought into very general use in the overflowed districts. A relief committee was organized to supply food to the needy, of whom there were hundreds. Our illustration shows the difficulties of railroad travel in the floods on the line of the Jackson Railroad.

A dispatch from New Orleans, dated February 10th, says of the situation: “The damage by Sundays storm along the coast of Mississippi Sound, from Pascagoula to Bay St. Louis, is estimated at $100,000. Steamers now run to Bay St. Louis making daily connections with trains on the New Orleans and Mobile Railroad, at which point mails and passengers are transferred. The settled portion of the city now inundated covers about five square miles, and contains probably 50,000 inhabitants. In many places the water is three or four feet deep, and in low one-story houses everything has been washed out.”

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