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Ship'scat The Irish Navvy In America. (13) RE: The Irish Navvy In America. 02 Apr 00


Navvy Folk's,

Sorry to come up "dry" on the tune side. But there's a bit of lore that I've just wiffed a fragment of here in New Orleans. Seems that many of the storm drainage (and navigation) canals here were dug by hand by Irish immigrants in the mid-19th century. New Orleans has more canal-miles than Venice and they are essential to its survival (drainage) and prosperity (navigation).

The Irish laborers in New Orleans lived (or squatted) in an area known to this day as the Irish Channel. They establish churches one of which is producing a Saint (in this lates round of beatifications). The grizzley part is that because of the yellow fever and malaria, plantation owners would let valuable slaves work on canals in New Orleans. If you lost a slave you were out real capital. If an Irishman died, there was little lost.

I'll try to dig up more specifics unless anyone can contribute. Again, I don't know of any specific navvy work songs, ditties or ballads that have survied. Regards, KC


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