The Boston Club was a social club founded in 1841 through which rich, white men could enjoy the popular card game called “Boston.” [1] Members of The Boston Club organized and rented rooms in their clubhouse to play “Boston” as well as other card games and for gambling. [2] In addition, according to its 1867 charter, the purpose and objects of the corporation were: “the cultivation of literature and science by the establishment and gradual increase of a library of well assorted and standard books for the free use of all members and guests with no charge.” [3] Like many social clubs of the time, the actual function of the club and the stated purpose of the organization seems to have diverged significantly. The Boston Club is the third oldest social club in the United States. [2]

Colonel Stafford of the Union forces closed the Boston Club on August 15, 1862. It closed for 3 years during the Civil War, but federal forces used the building as naval headquarters. The Boston Club then reorganized after the Civil War. [2]


The Boston Club has been housed in six different structures since opening in 1841. Since 1884 the club has operated out of 824 Canal Street (then called 148 Canal Street), previously the mansion of Dr. William Newton Mercer, designed by J. Gallier. [2] According to a history of the club written by Stuart O. Landry in 1938, the clubhouse featured
a parlor, aside yard paved with granite slabs, leather chairs, rockers, lace curtains, a billiard room, a pool room, a cafe, a fountain, a wine closet, a filtration system with water pumps, a winding staircase, and a Louis XV chandelier. [2]

Membership in The Boston Club “perpetuated the finer traditions of the social charm of New Orleans and the spirit of the fraternal privileges of a convivial gentlemen’s club.” Membership was very exclusive, with a long waiting list after only ten years of operation. Members could reject potential new members with a "black ball" voting system, vetoing applicants with a certain number of black balls placed in a box. [2]


The club has entertained many notable guests over the years. inclding Lord Roseberry, General U.S. Grant, General O. M. Schofield, commander in chief of the United States army, President Taft; Wu Tang Fan, Chinese prime minister to the U.S., General Pershing, Henry Clay, and Jefferson Davis. [4] It was also customary for Rex and his queen to lunch at club after the Rex parade. [5]

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