S. Derby Gisclair

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Biography

A native of New Orleans, Derby Gisclair graduated from Loyola University New Orleans. He is a frequent contributor to New Orleans Magazine and 64 Parishes Magazine (formerly Louisiana Cultural Vistas). His two most recent books are The Olympic Club of New Orleans: The Epicenter of Boxing 1883 to 1899 and Early Baseball in New Orleans: A History of 19th Century Play, both published by McFarland.

 

 

 


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The Olympic Club of New Orleans: Epicenter of Professional Boxing, 1883-1897

Established in 1883, the Olympic Club catered to a variety of pursuits from target shooting to billiards to boxing—the most popular sport in New Orleans, despite legal prohibitions.

A revised city ordinance and a vague state statute permitting boxing sponsored by chartered athletic clubs were frequently tested at the Olympic, the epicenter of boxing in America. Between 1890 and 1894, the club’s 10,000–seat arena hosted six world championship and seven national or regional title bouts. The 1892 Fistic Carnival featured three world title fights on three consecutive days, culminating in the World Heavyweight Championship between John L. Sullivan and James J. Corbett.

 


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Early Baseball in New Orleans: A History of 19th Century Play

In the 1800s, New Orleans’ local economy evolved from rural-agrarian into urban-industrial. With this transformation came newfound leisure time, which birthed the concept of organized sport. Though first considered a game for children, baseball became New Orleans’ most popular pastime, and by 1859, numerous baseball clubs had been established in the city. This book traces the development of baseball in New Orleans from its earliest recorded games in 1859 through the end of the 19th century, with a particular focus on the New Orleans Pelicans.

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