On this day: the Great New Orleans Fire

On the 21st of March, 1788, a fire broke out in a home in New Orleans, present-day Louisiana.

856 of the 1100 buildings in the town were destroyed.

Because the fire happened on Good Friday, priests wouldn’t allow church bells to be rung as a warning to residents.

Below is a map of the destroyed area, published in 1886. X

New Orleans Map of 1788 fire, published in 1886.

On this day: the Ku Klux Klan’s views on St Patrick’s Day

There were three movements of North America’s most infamous racist group, the Ku Klux Klan.

The second wave ran from around 1915 to 1944, and one of their aims was to “preserve American culture” by stopping European immigration (which was happening at a higher rate because of the two World Wars) into both the United States and Canada.

695px-KKK_-_St_Patricks_Day.In this 1927 cartoon the Ku Klux Klan chases the Roman Catholic Church, personified by St. Patrick, from the shores of America.

In this period, the US version of the KKK was supremely anti-Irish and anti-Italian (amongst other nationalities), and anti-Catholic. The Canadian version was concerned with trying to stop immigration from Eastern Europe, in an attempt to preserve Canada’s “British culture”.

800pxTheendkkkThe End Referring to the end of Catholic influence in the US. Klansmen Guardians of Liberty 1926.


Because of these racist views, St Patrick’s Day was a target.


On this day: the premiere of Thaïs

1895 poster for Jules Massenet's opera Thaïs. This dates it to the original run.

1895 poster advertising the opera’s original run. X

Thaïs, a opera by Jules Massenet, had its premiere at the Opéra Garnier in Paris on the 16th of March, 1894.

ELSON(1891) p279 Sybil SANDERSON

Sibyl Sanderson in 1891

Massenet wrote the title role for American soprano Sibyl Sanderson, who performed in the premiere.

Jules_Massenet_by_Eugène_PirouJules Massenet, photographed by Eugène Pirou 1895

Jules Massenet in 1895

A famously difficult opera to perform, a revised version was presented at the same theatre four years after the first performance, though the production remains reserved for only the most talented singers.


Celebration of a Capital City

Canberra Day takes place on or around the 12th of March every year, and in 2016 falls on the 14th. It is the holiday for Australia’s capital city.

The date is used because on the 12th of March, 1913 Lady Denman announced the name “Canberra” for a brand new city to serve as the nation’s capital.

Below, Lady Denman is photographed making the announcement.

800px-Naming_of_city_of_canberra_capital_hill_1913The ceremony for the naming of Canberra, 12 March 1913. Prime Minister Andrew Fisher centre. To his right is the Governor-General, Lord Denman, and to his left, Lady Denman.

Lady_Denman_1913-03-12_Canberra-nameLady Denman scans the slip of paper on which is written the name of Australia's capital, at a ceremony on 12 March 1913.

On this day: the Great Sheffield Flood

Great_Sheffield_FloodPhotograph of the Old Dale Dyke reservoir embankment, shortly following its collapse in March 1864.

The dam in 1864, shortly after the disaster. X

On the 11th of March, 1864 a dam near Sheffield, England burst its reservoir and caused a flood that killed 244 people. Additionally, more than 600 houses sustained damage or were destroyed.

The Dale Dyke Dam, where the disaster occurred, was rebuilt in 1875.

On this day: the bombing of Tokyo

780px-Tokyo_1945-3-10-1The Bombing of Tokyo (東京大空襲 Tōkyōdaikūshū), often referred to as a series of firebombing raids, was conducted by the United States Army Air Forces during the Pacific campaigns of World War II.


The most destructive bombing raid in history was conducted by the United States on Tokyo from the 9th to 10th of March, 1945.

Known as Operation Meetinghouse, many areas of Tokyo (including residential) were totally destroyed.

Aftermath of WWII US bombing of Tokyo, 9-10th March 1945.


This was part of a wider bombing campaign which ran from 1944 until the end of the war.

People conduct a funeral at a makeshift altar in central Tokyo on May 26, 1945, after a U.S. bombing.

A funeral is conducted in the middle of the rubble.

Between 75 000 and 200 000 people were killed, and some one million were left homeless.

645px-Firebombing_of_TokyoTokyo burns under B-29 firebomb assault. May 26, 1945.


Seen as retaliation for Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, while the bombing in Tokyo actually did very little to stop Japan in World War Two, it worked wonders for pro-war propaganda in the United States.