The article on hurricane Katrina and New Orleans brought an interesting comment from a fan of the site. He noted that historically, New Orleans is considered to have been founded in 1718, not 1805, the date of incorporation. Having done some research, I found there is no specific date recorded for the founding of New Orleans, just the year 1718.
This is one of the main problems in Political astrology: how to determine just when a place was “founded,” and how to take into account the governmental changes. As a rule we use the most recent date of incorporation, since that is the “birth” of the political entity. We understand that people usually inhabit a place before it is established as a city, leaving the question open: do we use the time of first inhabitation, or first charter, or first incorporation, or what?
Take the US itself. We were not born on July 4, 1776. That day was merely the point at which 13 colonial entities declared themselves free of England, NOT when the US began to function. Astrologers are extraordinarily divided on this, but statistical runs on significant event dates in US history seem to indicate our birthday should be either the ratification of the Articles of Confederation or the ratification of the Constitution, both of these occurring years after July 4, 1776. I will try to do an article on this in the near future in light of both recent events that have changed our nation forever, as well as with an eye to the future.
For Louisiana itself, do we take the date of first claim (April 9, 1682) or the date Jefferson agreed to buy it, or the day it was actually bought from whoever temporarily owned it, or when it was accepted into the Union the first time, or the second time, after the Civil War? These are issues debated by astrologers, but it is generally accepted that for the states, we take when they were accepted into the Union, and for cities, the date of incorporation, since that marks the inception of the governmental entity. Change the form of government, and you change the birthdate.
This can create problems, but until we find a better way, it’s all we have. The town of Ojai, CA, for example, has a birthday in 1920, even though we know it was inhabited and thriving as a village long before that. Malibu was inhabited as an unincorporated area for centuries, first by the Chumash then by the glitterati, and incorporated only recently. Philadelphia was known for centuries as a native village with the name of Shakamaxon (or something like that!) and only later became known as Philadelphia. Austin, TX, was known as Waterloo before it changed its name back in the mid-19th century, but it was a village inhabited by people for centuries before that. So is the birth of a town when people come together and inhabit a place, or when someone declares that it is an entity with a new name, or government, or whatever? What makes one declaration more relevant than another?
I’ll continue to search for best evidence of the founding of New Orleans, and may even be able to figure out something based on the time the hurricane hit, if we have an “exact” time. To me this would be landfall, but I’m open to suggestions. In any case, based on the ephemeris, New Orleans in 1718 would give it Jupiter in late Cancer or early Leo, Saturn in late Libra or maybe early Scorpio, Uranus in early Libra, Neptune in mid-Taurus, and Pluto in early mid-Virgo opposed to Chiron in early-mid Pisces. The Nodes are in mid-to-late Virgo-Pisces, putting the South Node in the sign of the ocean.
It was suggested by a reader that he felt NO would seem to be a Scorpio, and I reminded him that the sign of Aquarius does have Scorpio on the 10th house, which is why Aquarians often seem to have knowledge of deeper things, so to speak. And the 1805 chart shows Pluto in Pisces in the 10th, also an indicator of the murky, dark energies of the town. Personally, being familiar with history, I doubt the powers that be would have waited until November to declare that swamp a city.
Most likely it has Scorpio rising or Moon or ruler of the Ascendant in Scorpio. No planet was in Scorpio other than the Moon until late October that year, with the exception of Saturn. It was in early Scorpio through late March, spent the spring and summer in Libra, and re-entered Scorpio around the Autumnal equinox in late September. NO could very well have Capricorn rising with Saturn elevated in Scorpio if it was founded early in the year, or it could be Cancer rising with Moon in Scorpio in the fifth house of partying and affairs and so forth. Moon in Scorpio in the 5th opposed Neptune in Taurus would certainly show as "sin city."
Just for fun, I set a chart for March 12, 1718 1:10 pm, and got Moon conjunct Jupiter in Cancer with Cancer rising, Sun in Pisces, and Saturn in Scorpio in the 4th. March 19-20 at 1:10 pm puts the Sun and Mercury in Pisces, the Moon in Scorpio (conjunct Saturn in the fourth on the 19th!) ruling the Cancer Ascendant with Jupiter in Cancer rising. This Grand Water Trine could certainly express itself as a city surrounded by water. The Water Trines would still be strong even if Gemini were rising on the 20th, since the ruler Mercury is in Pisces. There are, of course, many other possible combinations, but I suspect they formally declared it a city in the early Spring.
At the present time, that would put Saturn square the NO Saturn if NO was founded early in 1718, or conjunct the NO Jupiter if it was toward mid-year. Neptune presently is square the NO Neptune and sesquisquare the NO Uranus, Uranus opposition the NO Pluto, and there is a chance that Pluto is now square the NO Nodes. Given these outer planet locations, I'll look at the hurricane landfall chart and see if I can prepare another report based on a likely 1718 chart. A hint: I did a horary chart on the NO birthday and got Scorpio rising, so we have a clue. I'll pursue it further in the future.
For history buffs, here are some relevant quotes and links to the history of New Orleans, and I welcome anyone who can give a more accurate “birthday” to this historic city.
1682 founding of city of New Orleans. (Univ. of Alaska link here) This was probably taken from this source which regarded the founding of Louisiana. The same source states "Sieur de Bienville, a French nobleman, had the city of New Orleans laid out in 1718 and settlement began. New Orleans was made capital of Louisiana in 1722 and became a busy and important port for the Mississippi and Ohio River valleys. The city changed hands many times—from France to Spain, to Britain, and in 1803, the United States—but it always maintained its essential French character."
Then I found "The early years of the French colonists were not prosperous. In an effort to make the colony a source of income rather than expense, the king in 1712 gave to Antoine Crozat an exclusive right to trade in that quarter. The failure of this plan resulted in its abandonment in 1717, and the Company of the West, better known as the Mississippi Company, was formed, which succeeded to Crozat's rights." (link here)
The 1718 date is also mentioned in this context, though the exact point of New Orleans’ conception seems a bit murky, like the city itself: "The high ground where the river made a large crescent-shaped curve about a hundred miles from its mouth into the Gulf of Mexico was chosen by Bienville as a suitable place to clear land and found the settlement Nouvelle Orleans, named in honor of the Duke of Orleans, a strong supporter of John Law. The site was already a well-established trading post for various indigenous peoples (Indian tribes) in the area, such as the Choctaws, Colapissa, Houmas and Tunicas, and Bienville doubtless envisioned a thriving French port city" (link here)
One definitive source is Blake Ponchartrain at Gambit Weekly. In answer to a question whether NO was founded on Mardi Gras, he comments: "What a lovely myth. But, sadly, it is not true. Historians dispute the exact date of the founding of New Orleans, but they agree that the year was 1718. Jean Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville chose this site 30 leagues from the mouth of the river because of easy access to the river through Lake Pontchartrain and Bayou St. John. And it was early in that year that he and about 50 men began clearing trees and undergrowth.
Intrepid men had begun exploring the mouth of the Mississippi and the immediate vicinity of present-day New Orleans shortly after Columbus arrived in the New World. However, it was much later when Sieur de la Salle and company sailed down the Mississippi and erected a cross at a point not far downstream from the present location of the city on April 9, 1682. A column was also erected bearing the arms of France and an inscription claiming the territory in the name of King Louis XIV of France."