Two views of Canal and Carondelet, fifty years apart!

canal and carondelet

Canal and Carondelet Streets

Two views of a busy part of Canal Street, the corner at Carondelet. The older image dates to the 1870s, the later one dates to the 1920s. While many things changed, there are a few constants between the views.

Canal Street, West from Clay statue

Photographer Clarence John Laughlin created this copy print of a photo from the 1870s around 1955. Here’s THNOC’s record entry:

Print of a 18th century photograph showing Canal Street with streetcars in neutral ground and businesses and houses of worship lining the street.

The original photographer (Blessing Studios, perhaps?) stands at the Clay Statue at St. Charles Street and Canal, looking towards the lake.The Canal Streetcar line opened in 1861. So, the mule-drawn streetcars dominated Canal Street by the time of this photo. The 700 block contains Moreau’s Restaurant, a book store, and a “Wig Manufactory.” The building with the corner turret and cupola is the Pickwick Hotel. It housed the Pickwick Club, a private businessman’s club with close ties to the Mystick Krewe. The hotel provided meeting and dining space to the club, and adopted their name.

The neutral ground contains a number of Stephenson “bobtail” streetcars. These mule-drawn cars operated on most lines in New Orleans, most notably the Carrollton, Canal, and Esplanade routes. To the right, the 801 block includes the D. H. Holmes dry goods store, mid-block.

The third incarnation of Christ Episcopal Church stands a block up, at 901 Canal. The church put their beautiful gothic building up for auction in 1884. The Mercier family purchased it. They demolished the church (which moved uptown to St. Charles and Sixth Streets), building a retail/office building. Mule-driven hack cabs stand in the foreground on the right, waiting for customers.

Carondelet in the 1920s

canal and carondelet

John Tibule Mendes shot a photo of the Louisiana Club in the 700 block of Canal in 1920. Here’s the second photo’s record entry at THNOC:

 View made from downriver side of Canal Street looking into Carondelet Street and the Central Business District. Buildings, mostly along the 700 and the corner at the 800 block, are visible, as are facades along the 100 block of Carondelet. The Louisiana Club, started around 1879, located at the corner of Canal and Carondelet for many years, is seen in mid-view. This club sponsors the High Priests of Mithras carnival ball. Pedestrians, a streetcar, and various business signs are also seen.

The record notes that the Louisiana Club started in the late 1870s, just after the date of the first photograph. While much at the corner has changed, the Pickwick Hotel building remains. In the interim, the Pickwick Club moved across the street to the 1000 block, then to its current location at St. Charles and Canal. Like the Pickwick Club, the Louisiana Club (now most closely associated with the Knights of Momus Carnival organization) is still around.

The right-hand side of Mendes’ photo shows the transition of streetcars from the earlier shot. The streetcar is a “single-truck,” Ford, Bacon & Davis model, operated by New Orleans Railway and Light Company. (NOPSI doesn’t form for another three years.) The turret of the Pickwick Hotel is visible, but the building is no longer a hotel. Local merchant Leon Fellman acquired the building in 1897. He moved his store from the Mercier Building in the 901 block to 800 Canal that year. By the time of the photo, 1920, Fellman passed away. His family returned to the German spelling of their last name, and the store changed its name to Feibleman’s.

We’ll unpack these photos in individual posts in the future. The compare/contrast here fascinated me, so we’re starting with that .

Later changes

Changes to buildings on Canal continued to change. While Feibleman’s moved to Baronne and Common streets in 1931, the building remained until 1947. Gus Mayer demolished it, building a larger location for their store. That building remains as the CVS Drugstore.

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