Master of Arts (MA)
Geography and Anthropology
This research documents the spread of yellow fever across the rural Louisiana parishes of East Feliciana and West Feliciana in 1878 and examines the reactions and responses of the residents to medical, social and economic stresses produced by that epidemic. Descriptive details highlight the variability of individual ideas and mindsets at play against the backdrop of accepted paradigms, belief systems and current technology. In 1878 the Aëdes aegypti mosquito had not yet been identified as the vector of the arbovirus (arthropod borne virus) that causes yellow fever. A short history of yellow fever in the United States and a discussion of the vector and the arbovirus are included to clarify the advance of the disease. Quarantines of the towns and villages of the Felicianas prohibited burial of yellow fever victims in community cemeteries and official records for these two rural parishes were rarely available at the parish, state, or federal level. Information was drawn primarily from texts, journals and newspapers of the time. Notations from the 1878 journal of Henry Marston, a resident of Clinton, Louisiana, were invaluable. The advance of yellow fever into East and West Feliciana is outlined from the first reported cases in New Orleans in May of 1878. The records of each parish are examined separately and the information gathered is combined and analyzed.
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Russell, Mary Jane Duke, "Yellow fever in the Felicianas: the epidemic of 1878 and its effects upon the residents of these rural parishes" (2005). LSU Master's Theses. 1232.