Some Excerpts From The New Orleans City Insane Asylum - Record of Patients, 1882-1884:
- Rafael Fernandez – M – W – Entered Sep’t 15/66 aged 29 yrs – today 46 yrs – Mexican – 5 3 ½ feet high – Kind of Insanity on day of admittance Incoherency – Today inclined to Imbecility - Is quiet, obedient and industrious. Has the mania of gathering thrash [sic] about the premises. Is negligent about his person. Health generally good.
- Peter Claude – M – W- Entered Feb’y 14th/67 – 38 yrs old, to-day 53 yrs, native of France – 5.6 feet – Kind of Insanity when he entered Hallucination. To-day Hallucination. Is quiet and obedient, crippled in both wrists, the fingers of l[eft] hand are in a state of partial contractive (fluxion) the write [sic] hand is useless. Shuns society. Keeps away from the building except at meal hours and at bed-time.
- John McCormick – M – W – 63 yrs old – Entered March 18th/69 – Native of Ireland – Widower – Kind of Insanity on day of admission – Hallucination, today (blank). Answers and speaks very rationally to all questions asked – knows [sic] not however where he was born – Gives a correct version of his age, trade, age [sic], etc. Speaks very rationally, shows no sign of insanity, but insists that it is better to leave him here. He is a painter by trade.
- Jane Bird – F – Blk – over 48 – Entered August 7th/69 – Native U.S. Washer-woman – Insanity on day of Admittance – Hallucination, to-day the same – Imagines that snakes are after her, with obscene intentions.
- Pete Beverly – M – White? [sic] – 42 yrs – Entered Jan’y 29st/70. Insanity on day of admittance Homicidal Mania – to-day (blank). Has never attempted to kill anyone here. Is kept in a separate cell at night. Speaks of two men whom he (is said to have) killed in the parish prison. Considers his deed as the most natural, and finest ever performed by any one – Says that he killed them by striking them on the back with a piece of wood and “so nicely was it done [sic] that not a drop of blood was spilled. I only laid them to sleep.” Is unable to keep up a conversation for five minutes. Jumps from one subject to another. Is to all appearances quiet and in-offensive – Always night & day, has a nail, bent in a special manner, in his mouth.
In killing these men, he undoubtedly did so through an irresistible instinctive impulse. He is of a jovial, kind, well disposed, serviceable and amiable disposition.
Died at Jackson, December 9th, 1883.
- Frank Arthur – M – W. - 21 yrs – Native of Cincinnati O – Committed to the Insane Asylum June 28th, 1882* – This young man stutters badly. Imagines himself very rich possessing thousands of dollars, when he has not a cent. Says he owns a saw mill, and has the means of making hundreds of dollars a day. If any one contraries him, teases him or denies his imaginary wealth, he becomes furious, abusive & aggressive. He has on this account been arrested several times for disturbing the peace. The last time he was arrested, he resisted, and being incarcerated, he twice attempted to commit suicide by hanging himself to the bars of his cell. He suffers from the Delirium of Grandeur. On all other subjects he is perfectly sane and rational. March 11, 1884 – Made his commitment out this day, for Jackson, La.
- John Donovan – Male – White – 34 yrs old – native of Ireland – Committed to the asylum
This man is Paralytic. Has been so for 3 years. A few days ago he entered a man’s house, stripped himself naked, took the man’s pipe, commenced smoking, and when asked what he was doing, answered to get out of the way, he was the boss of the place. He was unknown to the man in whose house he was. He was then arrested for Insanity. I advise his commitment - to the asylum on the charge of Paralytic Insanity. His speech, walk, movements, in fact, all about him shows the commencing stage of General Paralysis. Of course, his Intellectual & Moral Faculties are proportionally affected. At times he becomes taken with fits of raving and unmanageable, strips himself of his clothes, says “the spirits have got hold of me”, etc. and has to be placed in a cell. These fits of Raving Mania will last 3 – 4 – 5 days, and then he again becomes quiet & manageable.
- Minnie Jung, white, 22 years, single, native of N. O., La., committed to the Insane Asylum, at Jackson, La. on October 16th/1882, suffering from Delirium of Persecution, the result of unrequited love.
This young girl was engaged to be married. The match was broken & made up again, but before their union could be accomplished, the young man died. Since then – 3 years – her mind has been affected, getting worst & worst [sic] daily. She imagines that she sees the young man, that he is tormenting her, at times attempts to kill her. Her movements are quick & nervous. Her look inquisitive & fugitive. She will speak rationally, and all at once, she will stop, turn her eyes in an opposite direction, and speak by signs to some imaginary being. If you call her attention to you & ask her what is the meaning of this, she seems not to understand you, she will resume her rational conversation with you, then again suddenly interrupt it to again speak by signs with her imaginary object or person. Her general health is good. Her nights often sleepless. She will cry, implore or laugh. In her rational conversations she is gay, jovial & pleasant, & yet says that “some one is tormenting me & preying on my mind”.
- Eugenie Cessac, female, white, 46 years old, widow, native of Fraignac, Dept de la Correze, France, recommended her commitment to the State Insane Asylum, at Jackson La. on November 4th 1882, finding her suffering from a Monomania.
This woman has been at the Home of the Aged and Infirm for several months. She has become very troublesome from the belief that she had very fine clothes & in large quantity which have been robbed from her. At times she becomes a raving maniac, insults those about her, and getting up at night will go to her neighbor’s bed & threaten to kill her, if she does not return her clothes to her. She is also persecuted with the belief that her husband, now dead, infected her, prior to his death, with syphilis & that his relatives are mortal enemies to her.