Historical Marker: The Birthplace of “Dixie”
Now a Walgreens store, at this location between 1835-1924 stood the Citizens State Bank, which issued a $10 bank note during its early years. Included on the note was the word "Dix," which is the French word for 'ten'. Some argue that, eventually, people began referring to Louisiana as "the land of the Dix." This gradually evolved to become "Dixieland," which can refer to Lousiana and the South in general.
Backstory and Context
Many banks issued paper money in the seventy years of America's existence leading up to the Civil War, but much of it was worthless unless used in a specific location. The Citizen Bank was considered so trustworthy that its tender was accepted all over the South and into the northern U.S. On the back was the French term, "Dix." Over time, banks throughout Antebellum South issued ten-dollar bills that included the Dix wording. As such, people of the South began to be referred to as "Dixies," who lived in Dixieland, or the land where one could obtain a Dixie.
The New York Times notes,
"“Dixie” became so connected so quickly with the South that many Americans attributed its very name to the region...Emmett’s tune made it part of the national vocabulary. During the Civil War, soldiers, civilians and slaves frequently referred to the South as Dixie and considered Emmett’s ditty the region’s anthem."
So, the plaque may not provide the full truth, but it reminds us all of a time when "Federal Dollar Bills," did not exist. It reminds us of a time when the nation was divided, and it provides a great tool to discuss history.
Other sources used:
"The Birthplace of “Dixie”." The Historical Marker Database. Accessed December 19, 2016. http://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?MarkerID=51354.
Cox, Karen L. "Dreaming of Dixie: How the South Was Created in American Popular Culture," University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC. 2013.