History of the Metairie Race Track
Special thanks to Jerry Freyder and Linda Howard for researching this topic
1757 – In Paris, Louis Cesaire LeBreton , Councillor of the Mint, received a grant extending from the back of what is now Carrollton, all the way to Lake Pontchartrain, probably abutting the Bienville grants. (METAIRIE CEMETERY, AN HISTORICAL MEMOIR p.11).
1764 – Councillor [Louis Cesaire] LeBreton applied for a confirmation of his concession that contained today’s Metairie Cemetery. (METAIRIE CEMETERY, AN HISTORICAL MEMOIR p.12).
1764, February 15 – Governor Jean Jacques Blaise d’Abbadie granted him land that once made up the “Ancien village of the Colapissis”. As a result, he owned around 45 to 50 arpents front on the Mississippi between Sieurs des Ruisseaux and Chabert.. Since d’Abbadie granted [Louis Cesaire] Le Breton’s petition some 15 months after the Secret Treaty of Fontainbleau, which transferredLouisiana to Spain on November 3, 1762, LeBreton’s title could be questioned (METAIRIE, A TONGUE OF LAND TO PASTURE, page 50). (an 1885 lawsuit resulted from this fact).
1764 – LeBreton transferred his interests (in the property that included Metaire Cemetery) to Gilbert Antoine de St. Maxent. (METAIRIE CEMETERY, AN HISTORICAL MEMOIR p.12).
1765 – Gilbert de St. Maxent effected an exchange of the entire tract (that he received from LeBreton in 1764) to the Capucian monks, who were in charge of the St. Louis Parish Church. They in turn sold it to Don Andres Almonaster y Roxas [who arrived in Louisiana with O’Reilly in 1769]. (METAIRIE CEMETERY, AN HISTORICAL MEMOIR p.12).
1792 – The section of land on which Metairie Cemetery lies was purchased from Don Andres Almonaster by Maurice Conway [Jr.]. Conway died shortly thereafter [in 1792] and his widow [Jeanne Louise “Francoise” de Macarty died in 1787?] sold the property. Then followed a succession of sales, transfers, exchanges and consolidations too numerous to mention, until a huge acreage was acquired by the New Orleans Canal and Banking Company in 1831, for the purpose of building the New Basin Canal from Lake Pontchatrain to docks where Julia and South Rampart streets now intersect. (METAIRIE CEMETERY, AN HISTORICAL MEMOIR p.12).
The above-mentioned Francoise de Macarty was a daughter of the Chevalier Barthelemy Daniel de Macarty and Marie “Francoise” Helene Pellerin. Francoise de Macarty’s first husband, Jean Baptiste Cesaire LeBreton des Chapelles, was the son of Louis Cesaire LeBreton des Chapelles, the original grantee, in 1757, of the land that became Metairie Cemetery.
The information I have says Francoise de Macarty died in 1787, so I don’t know who disposed of her second husband’s (Conway’s) assets. Francoise and Maurice Conway did not have any children. Maurice Conway, of County Limerick, Ireland, was a nephew of Alexandro O’Reilly. He came to Louisiana and started a tanning business. He purchased, in partnership with Alexander Latil, the land where “Houmas House” now stands on the Mississippi River. The original house built by them was incorporated into the existing one and can be seen from the rear of the house. 1838 – From the N. O. Canal and Banking Company the Metairie Course acquired its title, in 1838, to build a race track on Metairie Ridge. The course was organized in 1838 and quickly became the South’s leading racetrack. It’s growth paralled the growth of the city. New Orleans, in that period, was becoming a mercantile and shipping center, a focal point for sports and entertainment. (METAIRIE CEMETERY, AN HISTORICAL MEMOIR p.13).
1848 – The track was purchased by Richard Ten Broeck, an ambitious promoter from Albany, New York. He broadened the base of the track’s support by establishing a joint-stock company which purchased full control of the Metairie Course in 1851. Broeck refurbished the grandstand and built special stands for the ladies, complete with parlors where they could retire for rest between races. (METAIRIE CEMETERY, AN HISTORICAL MEMOIR p.13).