Selected Criticism

New Orleans Picayune
Harris, Maverick Marvin
Print source:
J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings, eds., Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998), reproduced by permission.

Founded in 1836, the New Orleans Picayune was established during a period of the expansion of newspapers on the rapidly developing American frontier. After the war with Mexico was concluded in early 1848, New Orleans was an ideal locale for a newspaper, for the city flourished with trade going up and down the Mississippi River, bustled with soldiers returning from the war, quartered the best news and war correspondents, and had the ear of a young nation eager for news. Along with the New Orleans Delta, the Picayune faithfully provided that information.

In response to the Picayune's invitation in 1887 to write about his possible work on its staff (he never did) during his brief tenure as editor of the New Orleans Crescent in 1848 or about journalism of that era, Walt Whitman responded with an article printed in the Picayune on 25 January 1887 and subsequently published as "New Orleans in 1848" in November Boughs (1888).


Allen, Gay Wilson. The Solitary Singer: A Critical Biography of Walt Whitman. 1955. Rev. ed. 1967. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1985.

Whitman, Walt. "New Orleans in 1848." Prose Works 1892. Ed. Floyd Stovall. Vol. 2. New York: New York UP, 1964. 604–610.


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