UNO Spring Commencement 1977 @UofNO

UNO Spring Commencement 1977 @UofNO

Brother Martin High played a role in the UNO Spring Commencement in 1977.

uno spring commencement

UNO Spring Commencement in the old gym

Photo from the University of New Orleans in 1977. Caption on the rear:

 “Chancellor Homer L. Hitt, left, and Brother Donnan Berry, S.C., Principal of Brother Martin High School at the UNO Afternoon Spring Commencement program, May 20, 1977, with honor graduates Mrs. Sharon Ann Brown, second from left, who received her degree with magna cum laude honors; and Miss Janice A. Goodspeed, who graduated cum laude.”

uno spring commencement

Brother Martin High School had such a tight connection with the University of New Orleans in the 1970s. It’s no surprise that the university invited Brother Donnan to deliver a commencement address. UNO had only been “UNO” for three years at this time, having changed over from LSUNO in 1974.

Dr. Homer L. Hitt was the first Chancellor of the university. At the time, UNO was part of the Louisiana State University system of schools. The system had a President, and each individual university was administered by a Chancellor and their respective Vice-Chancellors. That changed when the university moved to the University of Louisiana system of schools, and the CEO assumed the title of President. The campus Alumni Center bears Chancellor Hitt’s name. Affectionally referred to as “The Smoke Stack,” the Alumni Center is the last remaining structure from the original NAS New Orleans that stood on the site during World War II. My dad’s first Electronics Shop for the College of Science was in a building just down from the incinerator building (the smokestack).

At this time, commencement ceremonies took place in the Health and Physical Education Center. The gym wasn’t large enough to accommodate a combined commencement, so there were two, morning and afternoon. The UNO Lakefront Arena resolved that issue in the 1980s. The “Old Gym” is still there more. UNO re-named the building the “Human Performance Center/The Athletic Center.”

Brother Donnan was the third principal of BMHS, after Brothers Mark Thornton and Brice Hendrick. He was succeeded by Brother Ivy Leblanc.

Brother Martin Band Summer Camp 1973

Brother Martin Band Summer Camp 1973

The BMHS band directors ran a summer camp back in the 1970s.

summer band camp

Band Summer Camp

Mr. Joseph Keller and Mr. Arthur Hardy, on opposite ends of the bottom row, offered a summer music program at Brother Martin High School in the 1970s. They opened this summer camp to both boys and girls. The students were quite diverse.The group stands at the doors to the “old band room.” At the time, you the band room stood separate from the rest of the school. To get to band class, musicians exited via the mall or the gym and walked around to the far side.

That meant there wasn’t a lot of activity behind the band room, once the class period started. Back in the 70s, when more students smoked, behind the band room became one of the spots to ease the nicotine fit. Band kids tell stories of one of the teachers randomly opening the doors to freak out visitors.

This was the summer before Mr. Keller’s last year at Brother Martin. Mr. Hardy took over as director in the 1974-75 school year. That’s when he brought in his friend, Mr. Marty Hurley. Mr. Hardy later moved on, becoming “Mister Mardi Gras,” as he produced “Arthur Hardy’s Mardi Gras Guide” full time.

The Joseph Taverna Band Hall

The school demolished the old band hall to make way for the Thomas F. and Elaine P. Ridgley Fine Arts and Athletic Center. This gorgeous facility includes the new band hall. It bears the name of Joseph “Prof” Taverna. Taverna directed the St. Aloysius Band from 1931 to 1961. Additionally, the Ridgley Center contains fine arts classrooms, the Chorus practice room, and the St. Aloysius Class of 1944 gym.

Archives update

The project moves along! We’ve got the scanner set up. So, documents and other ephemera assume a digital form. We’re also finding some great old photos and other documents that you’ll see here and on the book’s facebook page.

 

Pontchartrain Beach 1974

Pontchartrain Beach 1974

“At the Beach, at the beach, at the Pontchartrain Beach…”

ad for pontchartrain beach in the times-picayune, 4-June-1974.

Pontchartrain Beach in 1974

“Fresh family fun…
New ride sensation!
Shoot the rapids…
LOG RIDE”

Ad for Pontchartrain Beach in the Times-Picayune, 4-June-1974. Da Beach, Lakeshore Drive and Elysian Fields, in the old Milneburg neighborhood. By June, schools were closed across the metro area. So, Da Beach was open daily, 12 Noon on weekends, 5PM on weekdays. After all, just because the kids were off, parents still had to work.

Evolution

Harry Batt, Jr., opened his amusement park at Bayou St. John and the lake in 1929. When the WPA boosted the sand beach at Elysian Fields and the lake in 1940, they built a bath house facility. They leased the land and the bath house to Batt. So, Harry moved his park to Milneburg. He grew the park, adding rides, attractions, and concessions. Additionally, Batt added a public pool facility, for folks who didn’t want to venture into the lake.

To meet the requirements of Jim Crow, WPA built a bath house facility along the lake in New Orleans East. That facility became the Lincoln Beach amusement park. With the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Lincoln Beach closed, as Batt could no longer refuse entry to Black folks.

Pay One Price

The Haunted House at Pontchartrain Beach

The Haunted House, via Pontchartrain-Beach.com

Until the 1970s, admission to Da Beach was free. You parked and walked in. Attractions, rides, and the bath house required admission fees. Still, folks could just go out and walk the midway without paying anything. This was good for all the military personnel from NAS New Orleans and the Army facilities along the lakefront. By the 1970s, larger amusement parks in other cities charged a single admission. So, all the rides in those parks were included. Da Beach began “P.O.P. – Pay One Price.” You could ride the Zephyr, Wild Maus and the Haunted House as many times as you pleased.

Personal Memory

Going through today’s ads, this one brought back a particular memory for me. I was a rising junior at Brother Martin High School in 1974. One week, I got a call from a friend who said some of his cousins were coming into town from Lafayette that weekend. He needed to get dates from two of the girls, and I was tapped to take one of them out.

So, we pile into my friend’s car and off to Da Beach we go. This is P.O.P. time. I worked at Breaux Mart on Severn in Metairie that summer, so I had couple of dollars in my wallet. We get up to the ticket booth. I said, “two, please,” and slid across a ten-dollar bill. The lady behind the glass dropped back a dime.

A dime.

The P.O.P. admission at the time was $4,95, so the math was right. Still, it was a shock to my system. My hourly wage at the supermarket was $2. That ten bucks was, almost a day’s wages, and I got back a dime in change. We had a blast, though, riding the Zephyr all night. Now, it’s a fond memory and an economic milestone.

Hanes Once-a-year sale at NOLA stores

Hanes Once-a-year sale at NOLA stores

Hanes hosiery co-op ads at various NOLA stores.

nola stores

NOLA stores and Hanes

In the 1970s, Hanes, known for ladies hosiery and underwear, held a “once-a-year” sale. Various NOLA stores, Maison Blanche, D.H. Holmes, Labiche’s, and Gus Mayer, participated in the sale. They leveraged ad budgets by placing Hanes-specific ads for the sale. These “co-op” ads were paid for mostly by the manufacturer. So, the store promoted their brand and the product brand at the same time.

The sale in 1973 took place over the weekend of 13-January. NOLA stores enticed women to come in for the pantyhose and other items on sale. It’s fun to look at the styles from the advertising and art departments of the local stores.

Maison Blanche

westside shopping center

Sign for Maison Blanche in the parking lot of Westside, August, 1958. Sonny Randon Photography via the West Bank Beacon.

OK, yes, I’m a homer. I wrote a book on MB, so we start there. “Hanes sheer-madness annual sale of fashion hosiery in popular shades.” Note the mail-order form as part of the ad. Stores in 1973 were 901 Canal Street, Airline Village, Clearview, Gentilly Woods (The Plaza wouldn’t open until 1974), and Westside.

Labiche’s

nola stores

The talented artists at Labiche’s opted for a bolder presentation than MB. A woman wearing nothing but a scarf in her hair and jewelry, and the pantyhose. Gorgeous. Stores for Labiche’s: 714 Canal Street, Carrollton (the old shopping center, where Costco is now), Gentilly Woods, and Westside.

Holmes

nola stores

Daniel Henry Holmes’ dry good store on Canal Street grew to a number of suburban locations after WWII. In addition to the flagship store, Holmes locations included Lakeside Shopping Center, Oakwood, Baton Rouge, and Houma. While Holmes didn’t have a Gentilly store, they opened a location in The Plaza in 1974.

Gus Mayer

Originally in the 801 block of Canal Street, just up from Holmes, Gus Mayer built a big store across the street in 1948, demolishing the old Pickwick Hotel building. They also participated in the Hanes sale promotion. Gus Mayer operated not only the Canal Street store, but one at Elysian Fields and Gentilly  Blvd., as well as Carrollton, Clearview, and Oakwood Shopping Centers. While Gus Mayer ATNM as NOLA stores go, they still have stores in Birmingham, Alabama.

Godchaux’s

nola stores

Godchaux’s originally occupied the 501 block of Canal, later moving to the 801 block, next to the Boston Club. By the 1970s, they expanded to Lakeside and Edgewater Plaza in Biloxi. Their take on Hanes was different than the other NOLA stores. Godchaux’s opted for a cold-weather appeal,

Pontchartrain Beach Skyride

Pontchartrain Beach Skyride

The Pontchartrain Beach Skyride was a popular 1970s-80s attraction.

Pontchartrain beach skyride

Pontchartrain Beach Skyride

Photo of the “Skyride” at the Pontchartrain Beach amusement park.The attraction was a classic ski lift-style ride that carried folks from one end of the midway to another. The photo shows the elevated walkway that led out to the sand beach along the lake. A car traveling in the opposite direction carries three girls wearing jeans. To the right is the main concessions stand. In the background stands the Zephyr, the park’s large, wooden roller coaster.

Da Beach

Harry Batt, Jr., built his original amusement park along Bayou St. John in 1929. He moved it to Milneburg, at Elysian Fields and the Lakefront, in 1939. The Works Progress Administration (WPA) built a bath house at that location. They solicited bids for an operator to run the bath house and expand the site. Batt did just that. The amusement park stood between two large military facilities, NAS New Orleans to the west and an Army facility to the East. The navy base is now the University of New Orleans, and the Army base is now the Lake Oaks subdivision.

Streamline Moderne

Pontchartrain beach skyride

Main concession stand at night.

The main buildings of the park were in the Streamline Moderne style, a variant of Art Deco. The main concession stand sold JAX Beer, along with “Coney Island Hot Dogs” and other food items. The photo above shows the night lighting of the building.

Other buildings

Pontchartrain beach skyride

The beach midway at night.

The Beach presented a symphony of incandescent and neon lights at night. The lights enticed park-goers to the rides and, naturally, to the food and beer. This photo shows the entrance to the “Wild Maus” coaster, a maze-like ride with many sharp turns and short, steep drops. The multi-disc light tower sits atop another concession stand and indoor arcade combination.

Abandoned Jazzland

Pontchartrain beach skyride

“Pontchartrain Beach” section of the Jazzland amusement park, courtesy Abandoned New Orleans.

This photo, courtesy of Abandoned New Orleans, presents the ruins of the re-created “Pontchartrain Beach” at the Jazzland/Six Flags amusement park in New Orleans East. The park closed after incurring flooding and damage in Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

LSUNO to the University of New Orleans (@uofno)

LSUNO to the University of New Orleans (@uofno)

LSUNO lost the “LS” in the name in 1974

LSUNO - University of New Orleans sign at the lakefront campus

LSUNO gets a name change

Newspaper article from 3-February-1974 reporting on the passage by the Louisiana State University Board of Supervisors of the name change for LSUNO. By an 8-2 vote, the university became the University of New Orleans. The article notes that students and alumni pushed for the name change for years. While LSU in Baton Rouge, the state’s flagship university, received the lion’s share of state funding, many felt that losing the “LS” in the name of the New Orleans campus would help change the branch school’s image. That push came to a head fifteen years after the school’s founding in 1958.

From Naval base to university

LSUNO - the official seal of UNO

Official seal of the University of New Orleans

LSUNO took over the old Naval Air Station New Orleans, when the Navy moved to Belle Chasse. The school addressed the demand for “commuter” programs in the city. Men and women returning from World War II and Korea didn’t want to spend four years at a traditional school. They had jobs and families now. The GI Bill would pay for college, if they could make time for it. LSUNO offered them the opportunity to continue educations interrupted by war. Later, the school provided the same assistance to veterans returning from Vietnam.

In spite of its contributions to the community, the flagship school received most of the largesse. As the years grew on, New Orleans students felt less and less of an affinity for the “…Stately Oaks and Broad Magnolias…” LSU’s alma mater speaks of. They connected with a thriving international city.

Opposition

Not everyone approved of the name change. Many on the faculty felt there was more to the “LS” than just a name. Louisiana State University was known internationally. Faculty members believed their opportunities for both government and private research funds would decrease without putting the relationship with Baton Rouge up front. The article cites the opposition of Dr. Mary Good to the name change. Dr. Good, a member of the Chemistry Department, was a Boyd Professor, the highest academic rank bestowed by the LSU system. She and a majority of the tenured faculty wanted to maintain the name link.

UNO in 1974

LSUNO cheerleaders pose on the Elysian Fields sign for the lakefront campus in the early 1970s

The students and alumni carried the day. After all, there were more of them than there were faculty, and they voted. State legislators voiced their opinions to the LSU Board, who voted accordingly. Once approved, the first outward sign of the change was when students covered the L and S in the sign at the Elysian Fields entrance of campus. A stone overlay with the UNO logo would come later, and the school’s official seal a few years after that.

Somewhere up in my attic are trophies from the last LSUNO Speech and Debate Tournament for local high schools. The tournament was held the following weekend. While the name change was official, the trophies still said, “LSUNO,” an amusing distinction for us at the time.

Full article below: