Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Geography & Anthropology

Document Type



The following study is first a demonstration that even incomplete health data from 1878 New Orleans’ yellow fever outbreak can be used with modern epidemiological methods and achieve useful and revealing results. Accordingly, this research examines three possible associations between New Orleans’ population exposed to yellow fever and the environment they lived in, using 4,755 yellow fever cases, derived from the New Orleans Board of Health report, Cemetery Burial records, Hospital, Asylum, and prison registers, and New Orleans obituaries. The first relationship addresses the vulnerability to yellow fever for people born in Italy, France, Great Britain, and the German Empire, and for the entire Black population, using the 1880 Census statistic and its handwritten enumeration to distinguish between foreign-born and Black people. Results from a retrospective cohort study show that the relative risk (RR) of dying from yellow fever among the foreign-born population exposed to the disease is higher compared to Blacks. The figures are RR 6.28 (Italy), RR 2.55 (France), RR 1.47 (Great Britain), and RR 1.26 (German Empire), and Blacks (RR 0.25). Partial resistance or susceptibility to yellow fever could reflect the length of time people had resided in New Orleans during frequent yellow fever outbreaks or perhaps their births in areas where yellow fever is endemic and they had previously survived a prior yellow fever infection. The second research project is on climate data (barometric pressure, air temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and direction, and precipitation, data collected from the U.S. Army Signal Service meteorological observations), as a contributing factors in the deadly 1878 outbreak. The time-series and regression models produced predicted a mean time lag of 16 days, with a significance of pR2 = 0.22) for air temperature and daily wind velocity as predictors. The third study examined yellow fever transmission in different standard New Orleans house types (Single and Double Shotgun, Creole Cottage, Camelback, Townhouse, and the Storehouse). The results provided using a standardized case-control study showed that Storehouses and Double Shotguns were significantly associated [OR 1.42 (1.21); 95%CI 1.27-1.59 (1.07-1.36); χ² 37.76 (9.66); p



Committee Chair

Wang, Fahui



Available for download on Wednesday, March 19, 2025