New Orleans and adjacent Louisiana from before the first (1718) settlement on the present site to the acquisition of the Territory by the United States--scarcely a hundred years of political turbulence and domestic grace that will intrigue children whose local history is more mundane. Here, from contemporary accounts, are founding brothers Iberville and Bienville viewing the delta, visiting the Indians; here, in her own words, is the arrival of young novice Madeleine Hachard and her fellow Ursulines, she noting the vanity of the women, the variety of native food. The benign Bienville is succeeded by a martinet, Kerlerec, who punishes mutineers by ghastly dismemberment (typical of the eighteenth century, inserts the author); Louisiana is ceded to Spain, briefly rebels, then settles into prosperous growth under a succession of able governors (one of whom surreptitiously banishes the Inquisitor sent from Spain). Always there is the issue of free trade for Americans on the Mississippi, and it is this pressure which culminates in the Purchase. Concurrently, the aspect of the city changes; after the fire of 1788 it is rebuilt in Spanish style (and called ""the French Quarter""). Vivid personalities and particulars as familiar as pralines in a well-integrated, well-paced history.