Dr. Louis Charles Roudanez (June 12, 1823-March 11, 1890) was a visionary free man of color, doctor, and journalist. Greatly influenced by revolutions in Saint Domingue and France, and angered by slavery and racial injustice, he took up the cause of equality during the Civil War and Reconstruction eras. In 1862, Dr. Roudanez, Paul Trévigne, and Jean Baptiste Roudanez founded L’Union, the South’s first Black newspaper. In 1864, Dr. Roudanez launched La Tribune de la Nouvelle Orléans (the New Orleans Tribune), the first Black daily newspaper in the United States.
With his Tribune colleagues and a dynamic community of free and freed persons of African descent, Roudanez courageously attacked racism in the face of some of the nation’s worst violence. He was the guiding force behind one of the most radical and influential journals of its time. The Tribune’s crusade led to Black enfranchisement, the creation of a groundbreaking State constitution with strong equal rights provisions, and the election of many Black representatives. The vision of Roudanez, articulated in print and manifested in social protest, forged one of the most important civil rights campaigns in U.S. history.
Visit the website to explore the history of the New Orleans Tribune which features an in-depth history of the Tribune, a virtual tour of historic sites, articles about the importance of the paper, extracts, a timeline of significant events in the Tribune’s past, and a video and photo gallery. [Website description.]
This website was developed and is maintained by Mark Charles Roudané, retired elementary school teacher and great-great-grandson of Charles Roudanez. We highly recommend Roudane’s October, 2015 article in The Atlantic, “Grappling With the Memory of New Orleans: A family’s story traces the roots of the eclectic city, the country’s first black daily newspaper, and the evolution of racial injustice.”