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NOPSI 830 on Bourbon at St. Peter, 1947. (Courtesy the Thelma Hecht Coleman Memorial Collection, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries)
This weekend is the annual Tennessee Williams Festival, and tomorrow will be the festival’s “Stella” yelling contest, conjuring the spirit of “Streetcar Named Desire” in the streets of New Orleans. “Desire” was a metaphor to Williams, but the Desire streetcar line was real, and an important route, tying the Upper Ninth Ward to the rest of the city.
Signbox for a 900-series arch roof streetcar. “DESIRE” sign made for the box by Earl Hampton.
Tennessee Williams (courtesy of Hotel Monteleone)
Tennessee Williams, relaxing at the Hotel Monteleone, 1950s.
River – Lake – Uptown – Downtown by Dirty Coast
Buy this t-shirt from Dirty Coast and you’ll get oriented quickly.
Route of the Desire line, 1920-1923
Desire Line route, 1920-1923. Dark = outbound, Light = inbound
Route of the Desire line, 1923-1948
Desire Line route, 1920-1923. Dark = outbound, Light = inbound
“Why, they told me to take a streetcar named Desire and then transfer to one called Cemetery and ride six blocks and get off at Elysian Fields.”
722 Toulouse Street
When Tennessee Williams arrived in New Orleans in 1938, he took a room here, at 722 Toulouse Street. Now it’s the offices of the Historic New Orleans Collection. WGNO “News with a Twist” did a great spot on the house this week.
Royal Street in Faubourg Marigny, 1951 (Franck photo courtesy HNOC)
The streetcar tracks are gone in this 1951 photo of Royal Street in the Marigny, but it’s a good idea of what riders of the Desire line saw on their way into town.
Looking down N. Tonti at Pauline Street, 1947 (Franck photo courtesy HNOC)
Looking up N. Tonti at Pauline Street, 1946 (Franck photo courtesy HNOC)
Two views of the Upper Ninth Ward from 1946 and 1947. These shots of N. Tonti Street at Pauline are a good illustration of the houses and buildings in the neighborhood serviced by the Desire line.
NORTA 29, the last Ford, Bacon, and Davis streetcar. (Edward Branley photo)
The first streetcars to run on the Desire line were single-truck Ford, Bacon, and Davis cars. NORTA 29 (ex-NOPSI 29) is the last FB&D streetcar.
NOPSI 888, running on the Desire Line, 1947 (Franck photo courtesy HNOC)
The 800- and 900-series arch roof streetcars operated on the Desire line from 1923, until its discontinuance in 1948.
NOPSI Bus on Dauphine, 1954 (Franck photo courtesy HNOC)
The streetcar tracks were ripped up in 1948, and “A Bus Named Desire” took over bringing commuters to and from the Ninth Ward to Canal Street.
The Streetcars of New Orleans, by Hennick and Charlton, 1964 (amazon link)
The Streetcars of New Orleans by Hennick and Charlton – the authoritative reference on New Orleans streetcars to 1964
The Streetcars of New Orleans, 1964 – Present by Earl Hampton (amazon link)
Earl Hampton’s book, The Streetcars of New Orleans, 1964-Present, picks up where Hennick and Charlton leave off.
My book, New Orleans, The Canal Streetcar Line. Amazon Link | Signed Copies here.
Wakin’ Bakin’ on Banks Street in Mid City
The Historic New Orleans Collection
Easter Sunday morning in St. Roch Cemetery, by Frank B. Moore (courtesy UNO Earl K. Long Library)
St. Roch Cemetery at Sunrise
The sun rising over St. Roch Cemetery in the 9th Ward, in this lovely photograph from Frank B. Moore. The cemetery, located on St. Roch Avenue in the Upper 9th Ward, was constructed in 1874. It is, along with Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church, the anchor of this particular section of the “Upper Nine”.
Here is the bio on Moore from the University of New Orleans Earl K. Long Library:
Frank B. Moore (1869-1957) was a commercial photographer in New Orleans from 1896 until his death on January 21, 1957. Born in Sauk Center, Minnesota, Moore learned his trade in Milwaukee working with the noted photographer Simon Leonard Stein. He had various studios during his sixty-seven year career in New Orleans, including 1008 Canal St. (1896-99), 147 Baronne St. (1900-02), 1001 St. Charles Ave. (1903-06), 1700 St. Charles Ave. (1907-14); 114 ½ Baronne (1915-20); and 1317 Tulane Ae. (1923-58). For a brief time in the mid-920s he also managed a film studio called “Crescent Comedies.” Moore married Elizabeth (Bessie) Meade, sister of British artist Sir Arthur Meade, and they had two children: Frank B. (Sonny) Moore, Jr., and Gladys Renya Moore. At various times the whole family was involved in the business. Bessie worked before their marriage as a “retoucher”, as president and secretary of the business after they married, and photographer after her husband retired. Frank, Jr., worked as a photographer for a time in the 1930s, while Gladys served as a frequent model for her father, winning many beauty contests in the 1920s, including “Miss New Orleans” in 1926. After Bessie retired, Gladys Moore continued the business until 1972.
If you’re roaming the Bywater, perhaps stopped for lunch at St. Roch Market, St. Roch Campo Santo is just a short walk up the street. It’s worth exploring, to learn more about the neighborhood and the German community who founded it.
MiLB New Orleans – Baseball on Tulane Avenue!
Pelican Stadium, 1921 (Mendes photo via HNOC, in the public domain)
Opening Day for MiLB New Orleans is almost here! The Pelicans are now our NBA basketball team, but we still have MiLB, with our Zephyrs.
Baseball is a Big Deal in New Orleans, and has been since the sport’s early days. We were a Spring Training spot for several teams in the early years of the 20th Century. Baseball is played at all levels here. Itty-bittys start with T-ball, moving up to the kids a bit older, using pitching machines. I’ve even seen some playgrounds where the teenage umpires pitch for both sides! As the kids get older, they move to pitching for themselves. Then they hit middle school, and the playground leagues get more organized and serious.
High school baseball is a big deal in New Orleans, with the Catholic League usually generating the most interest. At the college level, LSU Baseball is huge, given how often the Tigers and Lady Tigers make their respective NCAA tournaments. The University of New Orleans Privateers an Tulane Green Wave also have loyal fan bases. Over the years, the three-way rivalry between the these colleges has been promoted extensively, with challenge tournaments against schools from other states, even. The politics of NCAA baseball, particularly with three schools who are all in different conferences can be challenging, but when the fans want good baseball, it’s hard to say no.
Pelican Stadium, located on the corner of S. Carrollton and Tulane Avenues, in Mid City, was a great home to MiLB, and many were sad to see it torn down. By the time AAA ball returned to New Orleans, it made more sense to build a ballpark in the ‘burbs, and Zephyr Field, the “Shrine on Airline”, has worked out nicely.
Still, of all of these baseball games going on in and around town, it’s the AAA ballclub I like best. Major League Baseball teams play in “cathedrals”, but sometimes worshipping in a minor league “parish church” is more fun. Not to mention less expensive.
Band! Two unidentified photos from Holy Cross.
This Franck photo, undated and unidentified, is captioned “Holy Cross College Orchestra”. The makeup of the group looks like a large jazz combo. The fashions here look like late 1920s/early 1930s.
This photo, also from Franck Studios, looks like a classic brass band.
I’ll leave it to you Holy Cross folks to narrow down/identify these musicians.
NORwy&L 605, on Esplanade Avenue, October 8, 1921. New Orleans Railway and Light was testing the clearance of trees on the neutral ground on Esplanade, as part of a lawsuit or threat of a lawsuit. This is one of a sequence of Franck Studios photos (Franck was the photo studio used by NORwy&L and NOPSI lawyers).
The streetcar is an American Car Company “Palace” streetcar. These streetcars were first introduced in St. Louis, to provide transportation for the 1904 World’s Fair in that city. New Orleans Railway and Light Company ordered Palace cars for use in New Orleans, putting them into service in 1915. NORwy&L was created that year to consolidate street railway operations under a single entity.
The Palace cars were luxorious, wider than the Perley A. Thomas streetcars we’ve seen on the St. Charles line for decades. That width, however, is what created the problem on Esplanade Avenue. Palaces were used on the Canal and Esplanade Belts, as well as on the “Royal Blue Line” on Napoleon Avenue.
The Palaces were retired by the mid-1930s. By that time, NOPSI had standardized on the arch-roof cars we know today.