Two New Orleans stonecutters exemplify this wide spectrum of experience. Edwin I. Kursheedt, part of an influential Jewish family, was successful not only professionally but personally. Committed to charity and military service, he inherited his business from his father and carried it into the twentieth century. Alternatively, the carved signature of H. Lowenstein is nearly all that remains of this stonecutter’s legacy. It is likely that his time in New Orleans was brief, cut short by disease, war, or the search for better opportunities.
H. Lowenstein: A Brief New Orleans Resident
Although H. Lowenstein’s name is found carved on ten tombs in Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, his first name was never recorded in any census, directory, or tax record. Furthermore, his last name, a traditionally Ashkenazic (German Jewish) surname, was documented with a number of variations: often Loewenstein, Lewenstein, or Löwenstein. These variations in records suggest that Lowenstein was likely not a native English speaker. He was active as a stonecutter between 1861 and 1869, a period when his contemporaries advertised regularly. Yet Lowenstein never advertised in English-language newspapers. A number of clues suggest, however, what his life and work in New Orleans were like.
Edwin I. Kursheedt: The Native Son
The ephemeral legacy of H. Lowenstein contrasts with the established prestige of another Jewish stonecutter, Edwin Israel Kursheedt. Born in 1838 in Kingston, Jamaica, his accomplishments in New Orleans followed those of other members of his family: Israel Baer Kursheedt, the New York rabbi who funded early Jewish business ventures in New Orleans, and Rabbi Kursheedt’s son, Gershom, who helped establish the city’s second synagogue, Dispersed of Judah. Edwin I. Kursheedt was raised in New Orleans and, upon the outbreak of the Civil War, joined the Confederate cause as a member of the Washington Artillery, where he rose to the rank of Colonel. His service lasted the length of the war, marked by distinguished promotions for heroism at the battles of First Manassas (Bull Run), Gettysburg, Sharpsburg, and others.
Shortly after his return to New Orleans, Kursheedt entered into business with his father, who had been a merchant of stonework since at least 1857. The business was operated jointly with their partner, J.G. Bienvenu, who also worked as a notary public in New Orleans.
When the historic capitol building at Baton Rouge was restored in 1880, Kursheedt & Bienvenu won the contract for all stonework performed. This contract was won despite the protests of James Hagan, then a Louisiana state senator, who owned a competing marble company. Around this same time, Kursheedt also relocated the monument of Governor Henry Watkins Allen to the Old State Capitol – a monument that Hagan originally erected in 1872. While no evidence directly suggests this, both events surely stuck in Hagan’s craw. 1887, Kursheedt’s business was the first of its industry in New Orleans to advertise a telephone number.
J.G. Bienvenu left the business after 1888, and Edwin Kursheedt operated Kursheedt’s Marble Works until 1901. Throughout these years, he served on various boards for Jewish Charities, including Touro Infirmary, the Hebrew Benevolent Association, and the Jewish Widows and Orphans Home. He died in on February 21, 1906, at the age of sixty-seven, a veteran, merchant, benefactor, husband and father. He is buried in Dispersed of Judah Cemetery on Canal Street.
It is unclear where or when H. Lowenstein died. The only tenuous hint points to an obituary published in the New Orleans Daily Picayune November 3, 1896, reporting the death of Henry Lowenstein, who died at the age of fifty-six in Cincinnati, Ohio. That a New Orleans newspaper reported his death suggests he once lived in the city, and may have been a young stonecarver on Washington Street in 1861, but no definitive documentation can support this possibility. So these two artisans whose work is marked in New Orleans cemeteries died as they lived: one documented and memorialized, one lost in historic thin air, as were many immigrants who came and went from the Crescent City in the nineteenth century.
 The signature “Löwenstein” can be found on the Fridolin Hottinger tomb, Quadrant 2, Lafayette Cemetery No. 1; Gardner’s New Orleans Directory for 1861 (New Orleans: Charles Gardner, 1861), 282; Gardner’s New Orleans Directory for 1866 (New Orleans: True Delta Book and Job Office, 1866), 279; Gardner’s New Orleans Directory for 1869 (New Orleans: Southern Publishing Company, 1868), 399.
 Bertram Wallace Korn, The Early Jews of New Orleans (American Jewish Historical Society: 1969), 247-249; “Mr. Israel Baer Kursheedt,” The Occident and American Jewish Advocate, Vol. X, No. 3, June 1852, 1.
 Robert N. Rosen, The Jewish Confederates (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2000), 111-116.
 Andrew Morrison, The industries of New Orleans: her rank, resources, advantages, trade, commerce and manufactures, conditions of the past, present and future, representative industrial institutions, etc. (New Orleans: J.M. Elstner & Co., 1885), 144.
 Louisiana Capitolian (Baton Rouge, LA), August 21, 1880, 5; “The Other Side: The Report Adopted by the State-House Commission Respecting the Work Done,” Louisiana Capitolian (Baton Rouge, LA), August 28, 1880.
 Soards’ New Orleans City Directory for 1887 (New Orleans: L. Soards & Co. Publishers, 1887), 513.
 Soards’ New Orleans City Directory for 1889 (New Orleans: L. Soards, Publisher, 1889), 532; Soards’ New Orleans City Directory, for 1901, Vol XXVIII (New Orleans: Soards Directory Co., Ltd., Publishers, 1901), 501.
 W.E. Myers, The Israelites of Louisiana: Their Religious, Civic, Charitable and Patriotic Life (New Orleans: W.E. Myers, 1904), 103.
 Daily Picayune, November 3, 1896, 4. See also, Emily Ford and Barry Stiefel, The Jews of New Orleans and the Mississippi Delta: A History of Life and Community Along the Bayou (History Press, 2012).