Turf History Times is a publication dedicated to the early history of America’s first national pastime, Thoroughbred racing. The articles featured in the New Orleans Eclipse Course series are research excerpts toward a book-in-progress chronicling nineteenth-century racing in New Orleans, written by Times Editor Annie Johnson. She holds a Master’s degree in professional writing from the University of Southern California, and additional published pieces related to the sport can be found in the Clips Portfolio section of the website.
The Times’ masthead image is Life on the Metairie, an 1867 oil painting depicting a Reconstruction Era reunion race meeting at the Metairie Race Course in New Orleans. The original painting, which measured 56” x 72” and was created by artists Theodore S. Moise and Victor Pierson, was in the possession of the Fair Grounds Race Course until it was destroyed by the devastating grandstand fire of 1993.
According to The Race Horses of America 1832-1872 by Alexander Mackay-Smith, three turfmen of distinction captured in the painting include Duncan F. Kenner, who stands sixth from the left, wearing a yellow waistcoat. Standing to the right of the chestnut in the middle of the painting are Colonel Adam L.Bingaman [grey suit and hat] and William J. Minor [pale suit, to the right of Bingaman] of Natchez, Mississippi.
Confederate General P.T.G. Beauregard is reportedly “recognizable” in the painting, and information confirming his location is welcomed; in the painting’s right corner, Beauregard may be the man seated on the left side of the carriage. Most of the crowd appears to be looking in his direction, including Moise himself, who is the second man [with gray hair, holding a cane] standing to the left of the carriage and the horse next to it [the rider of which faces Beauregard].
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