The Mary Jane steam engine, onsite at the Orphan Train Museum, is a favorite for children.Between 1854 and 1929 two charity institutions, The Children’s Aid Society and The New York Foundling Hospital, gathered resources to help the more than 250,000 homeless or abandoned children living on the streets of New York City. The plan was to take as many children off the streets of New York and place them into rural homes across America.
The Orphan Train Movement is recognized as the beginning of the modern foster care system. It was responsible for bringing more than 2,000 children to Louisiana. Despite the hardship of leaving their only known life behind, those children rode the orphan trains for new and better lives.
The last orphan train ride to Louisiana was in 1929. It was in that year the program ceased in large part due to growing measures by state legislatures across the country to restrict or forbid the interstate placement of children.