From Jim Mc Loughlin
August 8, 1996
Blessed serendipity! Discovered your great page strictly by accident. My grandmother was Agnes Loftys, daughter of Thomas H. Loftys of New Orleans. Thomas was born in County Sligo in 1829 and arrived in New Orleans in 1847.
It is not known if he was accompanied by other family members though there were a number of Irish newcomers named Loftus in town at about that time. In fact there were many Irish in New Orleans, the city's Catholic heritage and anti-English sentiments having attracted Hibernian immigrants since the late 18th century. It was in New Orleans that the probable first (and today the oldest) St. Patrick's Day Parade was held in America in 1809.
Not long after in 1815, Augustine Macarty, a Creole of Irish descent was elected mayor of the city. The Irish population soared in the 1830's when Irish laborers flooded into town to hand-dig the New Basin canal from the heart of the city to Lake Ponchartrain. It is said that tens of thousands fell victim to malaria, cholera and yellow fever and lie buried along the banks of the old canal. By 1850 with the addition of the famine immigrants the Irish comprised 20% of the city's population and would make their own special contribution to the Irish-Italian-French-German-African cultural gumbo out of which would arise “America's Most Interesting City.”
Thomas H. Loftys prospered in the city and eventually owned a mattress factory in the French Quarter. He married Bridget Mc Nulty who was born in County Mayo in 1831 and had six children: Agnes, Grace, Walter, Thomas, Teresa and Mary Jane. He died in May 1894. That's all I know about him. If anyone can provide additional information about his Irish roots I would greatly appreciate it.
I could not help but noticing how often the name Loftus is connected with art. My brother, now retired, made his living in commercial art and taught at the Chicago Art Institute. It must be in the family genes.
Jim Mc Loughlin,
The Woodlands, Tx., USA