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Etheline Ross Cochran memoir


Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

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Etheline Ross Cochran memoir, 1994 | Amistad Research Center

By Andrew Salinas

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Collection Overview

Title: Etheline Ross Cochran memoir, 1994Add to your cart.

Predominant Dates:1994

Primary Creator: Cochran, Etheline Ross

Extent: 1.0 Folders

Date Acquired: 07/31/1996

Subjects: African American household employees, Desire Housing Project (New Orleans, La.)

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

This collection contains a 44-page typescript and hand script draft memoir, with some annotations and corrections. Entitled "Brown Eyes," Etheline Ross Cochran describes her life in New Orleans as a mother of fourteen children. Working a variety of jobs throughout her life, Cochran describes life as part of the working poor in New Orleans, including glimpses of life as a domestic worker and life in the Desire Projects. Also included are handwritten testimonies from three persons close to Cochran, including two of her children.

In her memoir, Etheline Ross Cochran, a life-long resident of New Orleans, describes her upbringing with an abusive father and her mother who died young. Cochran moved around the city and lived in various neighborhoods. She mentions her inspiring and devoted school principals, Fannie C. Williams and O. C. W. Taylor. She also reflects on nightlife throughout the city. She describes the city's "freejacks," the "almost white" residents of New Orleans who live primarily in the Seventh Ward neighborhood.

Cochran devotes much of her memoir to reflecting on her varied careers and odd jobs. She describes working as a domestic worker since the age of twelve, including several years spent working in the house of an Italian American family, which includes mention of the expected subservience of African American domestic workers to their White employers of all ages. She also describes being around drug runners and illicit gambling operations. Cochran moved into the Desire Projects in the early 1960s, where she describes a placid and beautiful neighborhood that quickly fell into disrepair and violence. After receiving federal support for job training and family services counseling, she moved her family out of the Desire Projects to another, more remote, neighborhood to provide a more positive environment for her and her children. She then worked as a lab technician at Charity Hospital.

Cochran describes the successes and struggles in her two difficult marriages and large family of fourteen children, many of whom joined the military. Cochran also mentions her membership in various Catholic churches throughout New Orleans, including a church where her father worked as a sexton. She also mentions several helpful favors of Congressmen Hale and Lindy Boggs, with whom her father was an acquaintance. A self-described member of the city's working poor, Cochran provides advice for other poor mothers and families on welfare.

Biographical Note

Etheline Ross Cochran is a lifelong New Orleans resident and mother of fourteen, who has worked as a domestic worker, lab technician, and bar waitress.

Subject/Index Terms

African American household employees
Desire Housing Project (New Orleans, La.)

Administrative Information

Repository: Amistad Research Center

Access Restrictions: This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions: Copyright to these papers has not been assigned to the Amistad Research Center. It is the responsibility of an author to secure permission for publication from the holder of the copyright to any material contained in this collection.

Acquisition Source: Etheline Ross Cochran

Acquisition Method: Gift

Appraisal Information: The draft memoir of Etheline Ross Cochran describes the experiences of this lifelong New Orleans resident. A mother of fourteen and member of the working poor, Cochran describes her life as a mother, domestic worker, and New Orleans citizen.

Related Materials: The Yes Ma'am collection contains interviews of domestic workers in New Orleans, conducted for a film by the same name.

Preferred Citation: Etheline Ross Cochran memoir, Amistad Research Center at Tulane University, New Orleans, LA

Processing Information: Processed in April 2012

Box and Folder Listing

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Item 1: Memoir draft: Brown Eyes / by Etheline Ross Cochran, 1994Add to your cart.
Item 2: Testimonial letters, undatedAdd to your cart.

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