New Orleans did not rush headlong into secession in the Charleston manner. The doctrine, that if Mr. Lincoln was elected the nation must be broken up, was not popular there during the canvass of 1860; it was, on the contrary, scouted by the ablest newspapers, and the influential men. In 1856, the city had given a majority of its votes to Mr. Fillmore; in 1860, Bell and Everett were the favorite candidates. Bell, 5,215; Douglas, 2,996; Breckenridge, 2,646; Lincoln, 0. The fact was manifest to all reflecting men, that the two states which derived from the Union the greatest sum-total of direct pecuniary benefit were Massachusetts and Louisiana.
The great sugar interest, the Creole sugar-planters, who held the best of the cultivated parts of the state, stood by the Union last of all. Thomas J. Durant, an eminent lawyer of New Orleans, one of the half dozen men of position who have never deserted the cause of their country, says, in a letter to General Butler:
"The protection and favor which were enjoyed by these men under the government of the United States, and the benefit they derived from their possession of the home market for their product, to the utter exclusion of all foreign competition, was thoroughly understood by them. They are men retaining all the peculiarities of a French ancestry: not apt in what is called business, yet fond of gain; generous, high-spirited, and averse to the active strife of commerce as well as of politics. They never concerned themselves too eagerly in the contests of party, and no equal body of men in the South looked upon secession with so much reluctance, or were so unwilling to be dragged into it, as the sugar-planters of Louisiana. It is true, they at last yielded to the moral epidemic which overspread the South; and when the young men, under the excitement of martial enthusiasm and a mistaken view of the interests of their section, went to the war, their feelings became, to a certain extent, enlisted on the side of the Confederacy. But no prominent officer in the Confederate army has come from the ranks of the sugar-planters of Louisiana of French descent, and indeed, only one from the sugar-planters at all - Brigadier-General Richard Taylor, son of the late president of the United States."
General Butler in New Orleans by James Parton, pages 253-254
Mason Brothers, New York, 1864