Podcast 41 – Krewe of Proteus

Podcast 41 – Krewe of Proteus

We’re talking about the Krewe of Proteus, a Lundi Gras tradition.

proteus

Mobilius in Mobili photo

Podcast 41 – Krewe of Proteus.

Happy Lundi Gras! The Krewe of Proteus first rolled the streets of New Orleans in 1882. While they’re not the oldest Carnival organization, they’re the oldest that still parades. Here’s the video of the history of Proteus:

Heere’s the PDF of the presentation.

The Krewe that came back

proteus

Of the three krewes that withdrew from parading in 1992 (Comus, Momus, and Proteus), the Krewe of Proteus returned to the streets in 2000. As we discuss in the pod, Proteus had stronger reasons to return to public view. While the other two krewes hold seniority, Proteus held visibility. Momus paraded on the Thursday before Mardi Gras. That spot now belongs to the Knights of Babylon. Babylon traditionally paraded on Wednesday, and moved up in the pecking order. Or did they? After all, Thursday night now belongs to the Krewe of Muses, one of the super-krewes.

Comus paraded on Mardi Gras night. When they began in 1857, the Mystick Krewe were the only parade in town. Over a century, however, other krewes out-shone the oldest organization. By the 1980s, the Comus parade was essentially glorified transportation to their ball. Worn out from a day of marching clubs, Zulu, Rex, and the truck floats, the majority of Uptown carnival-goers gave up before dusk.

proteus

The Comus ball, held for decades on one side of the Municipal Auditorium on Mardi Gras, is still the Big Deal in “society” circles. Even Rex defers to Comus by leaving his own ball and closing out the season with Comus. So, the members of the Mystick Krewe didn’t lose much sleep over not returning to parading. That’s ironic, of course, since they eventually did prevail in court over the city.

Proteus, on the other hand, had the most prominent position of the three. Even before “Lundi Gras” was an event in itself, they embraced the anticipation and excitement of the evening, leading into the big day.

Riding the St. Charles Avenue Streetcar by Donabeth Jones

Riding the St. Charles Avenue Streetcar by Donabeth Jones

Artist Donabeth Jones captured a common New Orleans scene #watercolorwednesday.

Donastreetcar watercolor by Donabeth Jones

Donabeth Jones – Riding the St. Charles Avenue Streetcar

Watercolor by artist Donabeth Jones. The painting presents a family on the streetcar. Here’s the record in the LDL:

 Interior view of a streetcar showing a woman holding a baby and a girl sitting on a seat. Behind them is a man dressed in blue shirt, pants and baseball cap. The woman wears a pink dress, yellow hat and earrings and gray shoes. The small boy in her arms is dressed in yellow; the young girl wears a blue dress, pink hair ribbon, white anklets and white Mary Jane shoes.

While Jones painted this watercolor in 1997, the well-dressed mother and daughter harken back to earlier times. Perhaps this family rode the streetcar to church. Folks shopped casually in 1997. Canal Street declined as a shopping destination by the 1980s.

The streetcar

The St. Charles Streetcar line switched to the 1923-vintage arch roof streetcars towards the end of the 1920s. Under New Orleans Railway & Light (NORwy&Lt), the 400-series arch roofs ran on this line. So, both were designed by Perley A. Thomas. Thomas designed the arch roofs for Southern Car Company. He started his own company to fill a second order for arch roofs in 1923. New Orleans Public Service, Incorporate (NOPSI) operated the transit system at that time. So, they continued using the design.

The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (NORTA) continues operation of the arch roofs to this day. Additionally, NORTA maintains the streetcars to the specifications of their National Historic Landmark designation. Mom, daughter, and baby sit on one of the wooden bench seats. The back of the seat is hinged. So, when the streetcar changes from outbound to inbound, riders can flip the sit to sit forward. The young man behind them sits on a bench seat mounted into the side of the streetcar. Those seats are right behind the operator. He would be expected to give up that seat close to the door for a rider with special needs.

Queen Zulu 1997 #watercolorwednesday

Queen Zulu 1997 #watercolorwednesday

Designers created a red costume for Queen Zulu 1997. (cross-posted to krewehistory.info)

Queen Zulu 1997

Queen Zulu 1997

Costume for Queen Zulu 1997. Here’s the LSM record for the watercolor:

Costume drawing for queen’s costume, Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club, queen was Mercedes Antoine-Robert (wife of king), standing figure in large costume in watercolor shades of pale red, gold scrolls, wearing “Z” headpiece, signed “Colombo” l. r.

This illustration is part of the extensive Carnival Collection at the Louisiana State Museum.

Zulu Royalty

Carnival organizations use a number of methods to choose their kings, queens, and other “royalty.” For example, the School of Design’s choices for King of Carnival (Rex) are usually civic leaders. They don’t necessarily have to be a member of the organization. Endymion chooses their king via a lottery. Members desiring kingship pay a fee, their name goes in a hat, and the last name remaining in the hat as they draw them out becomes king.

Zulu holds an election for their king. Candidates for the position “campaign” by holding lavish parties and dinners for voting members. The club votes, and the man elected chooses his queen. Many Zulu kings select their wives to be their queen. That’s what happened in 1997. Reigning as Zulu the King is an expensive proposition, between the “campaign” and actual expenses for the parade and ball.

Carnival artwork

This watercolor is signed “Colombo.” I haven’t researched who this artist is. If you have more details, please comment or drop me a note. These illustrations are incredible. They offer a vision to the costumers. Those folks build on that vision, lifting it from the page.

LSM Tour

While they don’t offer a tour every year, the tour of the LSM Carnival Collection is absolutely worth the price of admission. The tour is sponsored through the Friends of the Cabildo, so members of that organization get dibs on reservations. The curators pull out all sorts of interesting pieces from the collection that you can walk through and see up close. It’s a blast.

NOLA History Guy December (10) – Brother Nicholas Geisenberg, S. C.

NOLA History Guy December (10) – Brother Nicholas Geisenberg, S. C.

Our tenth installment of NOLA History Guy December features Brother Nicholas, SC – Brothers of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans (BOSH)

nola history guy december

NOLA History Guy December – Brother Nicholas Geisenberg, S.C.

Brother Nicholas, SC, was a long-time Maths teacher the BOSH Schools. I had the privilege of taking “Senior Math” with Brother as a Junior, in 1974-75. If you’re wondering how that worked, I attended Brother Martin High School as an eighth grader. My maths skills weren’t top/honors, so, I was routed to “regular” Geometry class as a ninth-grader. The honors guys took “Geometry A” with Brother Neal, SC. The “A” track finished Trigonometry in Algebra IIA, as tenth-graders. They took Calculus as eleventh-graders, and went on to UNO for Calc I as seniors. Not me! I took Trig, “Senior Math” in the old terminology. Brother Nicholas (never “Brother Nick” to his face) was a serious teacher who brooked no nonsense in his class. He objected to the number of Fridays I was away from class because of Debate and Quiz Bowl, and regularly chided me about that.

Outside of class, Brother was a nice man. He chaperoned the school trips to Europe in the summers. Brother studied German with Ms. Palmisano. I would say a few words to him, “auf Deutsch” as he left German II and I came in for German I as a sophomore.

nola history guy december

Brother Nicholas, S. C., throwing out the first pitch at a Crusader baseball game.

As we’re doing with all our images for NOLA History Guy December, here’s the caption for the two photos of Brother Nicholas in the book:

“Brother Nick.” Brother Nicholas Geisenberg, S.C., beloved teacher of generations of St. Aloysius, Cor Jesu, and BMHS students. In addition to teaching Math, Brother Nicholas served as assistant principal at Cor Jesu in 1969. After retiring from the classroom, Brother Nicholas remained active on campus, managing the school’s bookstore and as a dedicated fan of BMHS sports, particularly baseball. Above, Brother Nicholas on duty in the bookstore in the late 1990’s. Below, the BMHS baseball team honored Brother Nicholas by asking him to throw out the first pitch of the final game of the 2003 season. (Lower photo courtesy of Mr. Danny Ford, father of Jeremy (’03) and Braeden (’09))

 

The Book

nola history guy december

Brothers of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans by Edward J. Branley

From the back cover:

When New Orleanians ask “Where did you go to school?” they aren’t asking what university you attended but what high school. That tells a native a lot about you. For over 150 years, the Brothers of the Sacred Heart have educated the young men of New Orleans, giving them the opportunity to answer the question proudly by replying St. Stanislaus, St. Aloysius, Cor Jesu, or Brother Martin. Images of America: Brothers of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans showcases photographs, illustrations, and maps tracing the role of the institute in making New Orleans a vibrant and dynamic city, able to overcome even the worst of adversity. From their roots in the French Quarter, moving to Faubourg Marigny, and finally settling in Gentilly, the Brothers of the Sacred Heart continue to make a major contribution to metro New Orleans and Southeast Louisiana.

Available at local bookstores, Walgreens stores, other local shops, Bookshop, and other online outlets. Give history! Support NOLA History Guy December.

Amtrak Transition Sleepers

Amtrak transition sleepers connect single-level cars with Superliners.

transition sleeper floor plan via Craig Mashburn

Transition Sleeper floor plan by Crag Mashburn.

Connection cars with transition sleepers

Superliner II transition  sleeper car

Transition Sleeper bringing up the rear of the City of New Orleans.

AMTK 39008, a “transition sleeper” car, running on train #59, the City of New Orleans.The car’s design includes end vestibules at different levels. The car connects with the car in front of it on the upper level. These are “Superliner II” cars manufactured by Bombardier in the 1990s. They operate on Amtrak routes outside the Northeast Corridor (NEC). So, two of the trains that originate in New Orleans, the City of New Orleans and the Sunset Limited, operate Superliners. The third train, the Crescent, operates Viewliner II single-level cars. The Crescent travels to New York (Penn Station). The Crescent enters Manhattan via a tunnel. So, it uses the single-level cars.

Purpose

amtrak transition sleeper car connected to a baggage car

Transition Sleeper car, connected to a single-level baggage car on the Sunset Limited.

Superliner II Sleeper, with high vestibule unlike the transition sleeperSuperliner II Sleeper, with high-level vestibule.

Amtrak normally runs the transition sleeper cars on routes also using standard baggage cars. Long-haul routes like the Sunset Limited require more baggage space than what’s on the lower level of Coach cars. So, the railroad uses the single-level cars that can travel the NEC. To ensure access to baggage, staff can move through the train on the upper level. When they reach the end of the transition car, they return to the lower level and through the vestibule. Since the transition connection is on a sleeper, engine crews use its roomettes for rest and sleep.

History

transition sleeper connected to heritage car

Transition sleeper connected to “heritage” car on the Sunset Limited.

Prior to Amtrak, most passenger rail operators ran single-level equipment. When the national rail corporation took over in 1971, it inherited seventy-three “Hi-Level” cars from Santa Fe. Passengers loved these cars, with their all-window roofs. When Amtrak moved to replace the “heritage” equipment, it ordered 235 two-level cars, which became the “Superliner I” rolling stock. Those cars reached the fleet by the late 1970s. They ran on the Sunset Limited starting in 1981.

A decade later, Amtrak upgraded the Superliner I cars with a new generation of two-levels. While the first-gen Superliners were manufactured by Pullman-Standard, that company was out of business at that time. They sold the designs and patents for the Superliners to Bombardier. That company delivered 140 cars to Amtrak. That total included forty-seven transition sleepers. Unlike the standard sleepers, which included full both full bedrooms and roomettes, the transitions only have roomettes. There are sixteen roomettes per car. The railroad sells the roomettes closer to the upper level door to passengers.

Future Cars

Amtrak began the process of replacing the Superliners in 2022. They anticipate having new cars in place by 2032.

 

 

 

Dash-8 on the Crescent 20 #TrainThursday

Dash-8 on the Crescent 20 #TrainThursday

A Dash-8 on the Crescent is an uncommon sighting.

Dash-8 on the Crescent

Amtrak Crescent #20, 29-December-2022, departing New Orleans. AMTK 164, a GE P42-DC “Genesis” in the lead, with AMTK 514, a GE P32-8WH (commonly referred to as a “Dash-8”) behind. Crescent #20 departs Union Passenger Terminal (NOL) at 0915CST. It runs parallel to I-10, which was a navigation canal until 1949. The track continues trough Mid-City New Orleans, turning east when it reaches the Norfolk-Southern “Back Belt.” this connection is directly behind Greenwood Cemetery. Prior to the opening of UPT in 1954, Southern Railway operated the Crescent. That train operated from the L&N terminal at Canal Street and the river.

Once on the Back Belt, there are no grade crossings through the city. The train crosses Lake Pontchartrain on the NS “five-mile bridge” to its first stop in Slidell, LA. From Slidell, it’s off through Mississippi and Alabama to Atlanta, then on to DC, ending at New York’s Penn Station (NYP).

Consist

The Crescent operates “Viewliner” equipment, rather than the “Superliners” used on the City of New Orleans and Sunset Limited. The current consist is 3 coaches, 1 cafe car, 2 sleepers, and a bag-dorm. It’s used this consist since vaccinations for COVID-19 became wide spread. Prior to vaccinations, the route went down to 3-day-per-week operations with two coaches and a single sleeper. Amtrak discontinued dining car service on the Crescent prior to the pandemic.

GE P32-8WH

Illustration of Amtrak Dash-8 locomotives in "Pepsi Can" livery by JakkrapholThailand93 on Deviant Art.

Illustration of Amtrak Dash-8 locomotives in “Pepsi Can” livery by JakkrapholThailand93 on Deviant Art.

Amtrak replaced their EMD F40PH units with Dash-8s. GE delivered this locomotive to Amtrak in 1991. They wore the “Pepsi Can” livery for years.

AMTK 514 is based here at NOL. The NOL crew operate 514 as a switcher to stage the Crescent, City of New Orleans, and Sunset Limited. The Dash-8 steps in for a run to NYP when weather and scheduling messes up the Genesis count.

AMTK 164, a GE P42DC "Genesis" locomotive, pulling the Crescent #20, 29-December-2022. Edward Branley photo.

AMTK 164, a GE P42DC “Genesis” locomotive, pulling the Crescent #20, 29-December-2022. Edward Branley photo.

By the mid-1990s, Amtrak replaced the Dash-8s with GE P42DC “Genesis” locomotives like AMTK 164, shown here.