38 mm (1-7/16”), 12 grams
HISTORY: On June 26, 1852, engraver and printer John Douglas presented his design for the New Orleans city seal. This design has been amended throughout the years but remains essentially the same.
REVERSE: A nude sculptural design of Calliope, the foremost of the nine muses, reclines with a scroll against the backdrop of an ancient harp. On the scroll is the text “CALLIOPE MUSE OF EPIC POETRY.” She represents the eloquence of epic poetry and beautiful harmony of voice, a lasting tradition of New Orleans. On a pillow below is inscribed the phrase “MARDI GRAS 1971.
OBVERSE: An indigenous Indian woman and man stand to the left and right of a shield, which features a naked Father Mississippi with a rising sun over the distant mountains. History is in dispute as to whether Father Mississippi represents Neptune, the Roman god of water and sea. Above the shield is an array of stars, 13 in both the outer and inner rings. A single, larger star appears in the center.
The New Orleans city seal dominates the face of this novelty coin. The exception is the wording around the rim, which reads “NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA” and “FOUNDED 1718.” An American alligator lurks below, representing the marshes and swamplands of Louisiana.