Pirate’s Alley in New Orleans has only the flimsiest historical connection to pirates. What was called Orleans Alley when William Faulkner lived there in the 1920s apparently deserved a more fetching name and was awarded one in the 1960s.
It runs between the St. Louis Cathedral and the Cabildo, linking Royal Street and Jackson Square. At its halfway point another alley cuts over to St. Peter Street.
Pirate’s Alley is where William Faulkner wrote his first novel, Soldier’s Pay, published in 1926. None of the flavors of Pirate’s Alley seep into the novel. The disturbing story of WWI veteran Lieutenant Donald Mahon is set in mythical Charlestown, Georgia.
Faulkner moved to New Orleans from Oxford, Mississippi in January, 1925. In the French Quarter he befriended Sherwood Anderson. Anderson lived nearby in the Pontalba Apartments. Carl Sandburg and Edmund Wilson were also in New Orleans at the time.
William Faulkner’s time on Pirate’s Alley was brief. By August he was in Europe, sailing from New Orleans to Italy.