This study of Jewish settlement in Louisiana goes beyond institutional history to concentrate on commercial and social matters. The author's findings imply that Jewish immigrants to the South in the first half of the 19th century came from particular locales with similar social, economic, and religious backgrounds, and they chose to live in the South because of those traditions. The experience of Jews with commercial capitalism, rather than landowning, in agricultural societies, gave the Jews of Louisiana a comparable niche in America, and they participated in the commercial aspects of a regional economy based on agricultural production. Commercial and family connections with other Jewish groups facilitated their development into a settled community. In growth and decline, Jewish communities in Louisiana and elsewhere became permanent features of the landscape and influenced, and were influenced, by the areas in which they lived.