Genealogy Roadshow Starts Season Two Tonight. Episode Set in New Orleans

by , under Television

PBS kicks off the second season of Genealogy Roadshow ( tonight, Tuesday, 13 Jan 2015. In the Greater Cleveland (Ohio) area, it will be aired on Channel WVIZ ( at 8 pm. It also will be available at the same broadcast time on Channel WEAO (

The setting for this episode is the Cabildo, the present-day Louisiana State Museum, but over 200 years ago, a key government facility. In 1803, it was the site of the Louisiana Purchase transfer, the event that acquired the Louisiana Territory for the United States, doubling its land area.

The hour will include: a couple whose ancestors hail from the same small Italian town who explore the chance they may be related; a woman desperate to find out who committed a gruesome murder in her ancestors’ past; a home held by one family for more than a century that renders a fascinating story; and a woman who discovers the difficult journey her ancestor took on the path to freedom from slavery.

Located next to St. Louis Cathedral and facing Jackson Square, the Cabildo was built under Spanish rule in 1795-1799 and named after the municipal governing body that was located there. Before the transfer of the building to the state museum in 1908, the Cabildo served as a city hall, a courthouse and a prison. The building was designed by Gilberto Guillemard, who also designed St. Louis Cathedral and the Presbytere but the third story mansard roof with cupola was not added until 1847, replacing the original flat Spanish roof and balustrade. On the second floor is the Sala Capitular, or “Meeting Room”, in which much of the official business of the building took place.

The Cabildo served as New Orleans City Hall until 1853 when it became the headquarters of the Louisiana State Supreme Court and saw the landmark Slaughterhouse and Plessy vs. Ferguson decisions. When the Marquis de Lafayette visited the Crescent City in 1825, the city allowed him the use of the Sala Capitular as his residence. In the 1870’s, the building came under gunfire on three separate occasions, all the product of Reconstruction era politics and racial tension. The building was transferred over to the Louisiana State Museum in 1908 and has served to educate the public about Louisiana history since. Unfortunately, in 1988 the Cabildo was severely damaged by fire. Over the next five years, the landmark was authentically restored using 600-year-old French timber framing technology. It reopened to the public in 1994 with a comprehensive exhibit focusing on Louisiana’s early history.


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