When I think of the Hood orphans, I think of this painting from Degas's New Orleans work. (This is likely one of his nieces.) I also think of Gillian Welch's song, "Orphan Girl."
Portrait of John Bell Hood
This portrait was made shortly before his marriage to Anna Marie, but after his discharge from the Confederate Army. He was a handsome man who cut an impressive figure in New Orleans, despite his withered arm and the loss of his leg.
Portrait of Anna Marie Hennen
This portrait was made before her marriage to John Bell Hood. Recognized as one of the great beauties of New Orleans after the war, she was educated in Paris and spoke proer French better than most Creoles. Her father was a prominent jurist, and her grandfather had been a member of the Louisiana Supreme Court.
The Hood Orphans
This photo of the Hood children who survived their parents was used to help raise funds for a charity established to support them. After the death of Anna Marie and John, they were separated and sent to different foster families around the country. Few of them ever saw each other again. The only two children not pictured are the two who died the same summer as their parents: the oldest, Lydia Marie (10), and the youngest, Anna Gertrude (four months.) Of the rest, most of the girls never married.
The Hood House
A recent photograph of the house the Hoods lived in after they were married on Third Street across from the Mussons. It didn't always look so nice.
The French Market, New Orleans
An incredible photograph and a perfect rendering of the French Market at the end of the 19th century, but not mch changed from Hood's time. The market figures in several important scenes in A SEPARATE COUNTRY. I imagine Rintrah spent a lot of time prowling the market.
Degas, Children on Doorstep
This was likely a scene at Degas's brother's house in New Orleans. When I think of the light of New Orleans, I think of this one. I imagine these children as Anna Marie and John's children, the oldest looking after the youngest as Lydia Hood did for her younger brothers and sisters. I think this painting is extraordinarily moving and, more than any other image, inspired a certain tone and mood for A SEPARATE COUNTRY, one that (I hope) contains both beauty and serenity and, in the background, menace.
Map of New Orleans
The very famous Currier and Ives print. Notice St. Louis Cathedral off to the right.