Mules NO&CRR transition took place in the 1840s.
Continuing the New Orleans & Carrollton Railroad Story
I spoke to the Friends of the Cabildo Tour Guides at their monthly meeting this past Monday. They had me in to discuss the origins of the NO&CRR (New Orleans & Carrollton Railroad), which evolved into the St. Charles Avenue streetcar line. I’ll be presenting the talk via blog posts here. We discussed the origins of the line, now we move to the transition to mules from steam power.
While steam power made sense to the management of the New Orleans and Carrollton Railroad, residents along the Carrollton Line (which later became the St. Charles Avenue Line) grew unhappy. Steam trains are noisy and smokey. As New Orleans annexed what is now the Garden District, more people built fine houses close to the line.City officials pressured the railroad to abandon steam engines. Mules NO&CRR began in the 1840s.
Mules on the line
Naiads and Napoleon, 1860. Lilienthal photo, halfway point for Mules NO&CRR
Theodore Lilienthal photo of Naiads and Napoleon Avenues, 1860. The railroad built their facilities for the Carrollton line here. The intersection was more-or-less half-way between the CBD and the city of Carrollton.
St. Charles and Napoleon Avenues in 1948. Compare the difference with 1860.
Section from the Robinson Atlas, 1883, showing streetcar tracks around St. Charles and Napoleon Avenues. The half-way facilities for the railroad expanded over the twenty years since the Lilienthal photo. The black dot on St. Charles is a turntable. If you’ve been to San Francisco, you’ve seen this type of turntable. Here, the driver leads the mule out of the barn, placing the car on the turntable. He then walked the mule around, lining up with the track on the street, and off they went.
The building on the right housed the streetcars and the mules. Superior Seafood and Fat Harry’s stand there now. The buildings on the left (lake) side of St. Charles are now the Lower School for the Academy of the Sacred Heart.
Downtown on the line
The corner of St. Charles and Canal Streets in 1850. Notice there are NO streetcar tracks! That’s because the Carrollton line continued to use Baronne Street. While the steam trains terminated at Poydras and Baronne, the streetcars went all the way to Canal Street. The drivers turned around on a turntable on Baronne.
So, there were no streetcars yet on either St. Charles or Canal. The Canal line opened in 1861. The lighter-colored building in the background of this illustration is the first incarnation of the St. Charles Hotel. This building burned down in 1851. The second incarnation opened in 1853.
This 1856 map shows downtown New Orleans (CBD) in 1856. The streetcars came down Naiads to Tivoli Circle. Like the modern line, they curved around to Delord Street, now Howard Avenue. Unlike the modern line, the Carrollton line went up to Baronne, then turned right. Baronne Street had two tracks with a turntable to change direction.
The railroad purchased and operated “Bob-Tail” streetcars from the Stephenson Car Company, from the 1850s until the line electrified in 1893. The driver attached the mule to the right side of the car in this photograph. The single-truck design made for a less-than-smooth ride. Still, the cars were as good as it got for the time.
While the bob-tails did most of the work on the line, the railroad experimented with alternatives. After the Southern Rebellion, PGT Beauregard returned to New Orleans. The railroad employed him as president in the 1870s. Being an engineer, Beauregard entertained a number of different ideas for streetcars. This car used canisters of ammonia gas to propel the car. This drawing is by Alfred Waud. It includes a small drawing of a white woman, and another of a black woman, along with Gus.
The Lamm Thermo-Specific locomotive operated on the line in 1874. The engine’s “fireless” design enabled quiet operation. So, the engine carried a large bottle/canister containing compressed air, steam. The engineer released the steam and the engine moved forward. The Lamm engines pulled 1-2 bobtail cars. The railroad discontinued operations of the Lamms, because of having tor re-charge the canisters.
To Be Continued…
We’ll move on to electrification next time.
Riding along Tchoupitoulas offers a view of the “sliver along the river, including St. Mary’s Market.
St. Mary’s Market
St. Mary’s Market, seen here in this photograph from McPherson and Oliver, in 1864ish. This is the location of the original market. It stood where Tchoupitoulas, Poyfarre, Delord, and St. Joseph Streets converged. So, the market, part of the city’s network of public markets, serviced Faubourg Ste. Marie, also known as the “American Sector.” While the French Market was the city’s first public market, St. Mary’s enabled residents living on the Uptown side of Canal Street to shop without having to go into the French Quarter. This satisfied both Anglo-Irish and Creole families.
Riding along Tchoupitoulas
I took the Canal Streetcar into town from the Cemeteries yesterday. After a wonderful lunch of red beans and rice at Mother’s Restaurant, So, I rode the #10 bus, the Tchoupitoulas line, from Magazine and Poydras up to Audubon Park. It’s fun to let someone else do the driving while observing how neighborhoods change. Additionally, going Uptown made the trip a big loop. While the public markets vanished in favor of modern supermarkets after WWII, they left imprints on their respective neighborhoods.
The market for the American Sector stood close to the river. It offered groceries, fresh meat, and seafood to families of men who worked the riverfront. Germans and Irish immigrants regularly took jobs as longshoremen. Enough Irish settled in Ste. Marie that the Archdiocese created St. Patrick’s Parish in 1833. By 1836, the market opened. Now, the rough triangle marking the site of the market houses a gas station, several warehouses, and a restaurant. They city authorized the relocation of St. Mary’s Market in 1858. The Southern Rebellion delayed the actual move.
St. Mary’s Market stood in what is now known as the Warehouse District. So, like Magazine Street, Tchoupitoulas Street winds its way from Canal Street through many neighborhoods we collective refer to as “Uptown.” The #11 bus line ends, along with Tchoupitoulas Street, at Audubon Park. So, the bus serves both the port and important institutions Uptown like Children’s Hospital.
We’ll continue with more on Tchoupitoulas Street this week!
The First Chalmette Monument was the Grand Army of the Republic monument.
First Chalmette Monument
Photo of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Monument, by George François Mugnier. Undated photo, likely from the 1880s. This monument stands in the Chalmette National Cemetery, on the end closest to the river. The Latin inscription translates to, “While they are silent, they shout.” Locals referred to it as the “First Chalmette Monument.” The 1907 obelisk claimed the title “Chalmette Monument” upon its completion.
Chalmette National Cemetery
New Orleanians buried Enslaved Americans, along with troops fighting on both sides of the Southern Rebellion, as early as 1861, in Chalmette. So, in 1864, the Union Army formalized this burial ground. They designated 17.5 acres of land from the “back” of the Chalmette battlefield as a National Cemetery. Locals know this area as the “British side” of the battlefield. The British advanced to this location on 8-January-1815. Of the approximately 15,000 people buried in the cemetery, over 6,500 are unidentified. Additionally, most of these are United States Colored Troops (USCT), whose graves are marked only by numbered headstones. While most of the burials here date to the Southern Rebellion, four veterans of the 1815 battle rest here.
Grand Army of the Republic
The Grand Army of the Republic was a Union Army and Navy veterans organization, founded in 1866, at Springfield, Illinois. The organization claimed membership of 410,000 by the 1890s. Union veterans established local chapters, known as “posts” across the country, including many cities in the former rebel states. The GAR post in New Orleans funded and erected the monument in Chalmette Cemetery in 1874. It stands on the river side of the cemetery, because that side was the main entrance for years. So, over time, the levee system along the Mississippi River grew, swallowing up River Road near the cemetery.
The National Park Service took over management of both the battlefield and cemetery in 1933. They moved the entrance from the river side to the St. Bernard Highway (LA 46) side. Visitors now enter the cemetery from St. Bernard Highway, circle around the GAR monument at the other end, and exit back to the highway.
The Henry Clay Monument stood on Canal Street from 1860 to 1901.
NOTE: If you see something else interesting on these maps, speak up! Le’ts talk about it.
Henry Clay Monument
A private group raised money to build a monument to American statesmen Henry Clay in 1860. The city approved their plan to erect the monument on Canal Street. They placed it at the three-way intersection of Canal Street, St. Charles Avenue, and Royal Street. The Robinson Atlas of 1883, Plate 6, shows the monument, with the streetcar tracks passing around it.
The Henry Clay monument stood as mapped here until 1895. The New Orleans City Railway Company electrified the Canal Street line that year. The city cut back the massive circular base. This provided the streetcars with a linear path across the intersection. Prior to 1895, mule-drawn streetcars curved around the monument.
Canal Street activity
Activity at the Canal-St. Charles-Royal intersection developed after 1861. The Henry Clay monument rose in the center of Canal Street a year earlier. The streetcar company simply went around the statue, completing the transit to the river. The main activity happens just above and below the intersection. Notice the circles in the center of the Canal Street neutral ground. Those are turntables. If you’ve been out to San Francisco, you may have seen the turntables used to change the direction of cable cars when they reach the end of the line. Before electrification, streetcar companies operated “single-ended” equipment. the mule pulled the streetcar onto the turntable. The operator guided the mule in a circle.
The turntable just below Clay handled “backatown” lines coming up from along the riverfront. Additionally, the turntable on the lake side (see, we really do express directions as “lake” and “river”) handled the streetcars coming to Canal Street from Carondelet, Baronne, Dauphine, Burgundy, and Rampart Streets.
The Clio Street line crossed Canal Street at Bourbon and Royal Streets. So, after passing by the Jackson Depot railroad station, streetcars on Clio made their way down Carondelet Street, crossing Canal, then heading outbound to Elysian Fields. They used Bourbon Street to traverse the Quarter. The line returned to the St. Charles Hotel via Royal Street. The streetcars curved around Henry.
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NOLA History Guy Podcast 01-May-2021 discusses Butler’s goals in New Orleans.
Captain Bailey and Lieutenant Perkins demand the surrender of New Orleans
NOLA History Guy Podcast 01-May-2021
We’re back! Since we’re starting on May 1st, let’s talk about the occupation of New Orleans in 1862.
Consider these goals Butler had when he came to New Orleans
Pacify the city
Union Operations in Louisiana, 1862
Butler used 10,000 of his 15,000 troops to establish a perimeter around the city. He implemented his infamous General Order 28, and limited free speech in 1862.
Expansion of his troops
Louisiana Native Guard Pickets, from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, March 7, 1863
Butler created the Corps d’Afrique, consisting of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Louisiana Native Guards regiments. These troops were mostly Creoles of Color. They belonged to militia units during the secession year.
Re-Open the Port of New Orleans
Union ships at anchor, New Orleans, April 30, 1862
Butler provided food to the working-class and working poor of New Orleans, who were mostly Irish and German immigrants. They re-opened the port and jump-started the economy. Trade with Europe helped keep Britain and France from getting involved in the war.
Dealing with the enslaved.
Slaves For Sale: A Scene In New Orleans
Butler’s “contraband of war” policy, and enslavement in New Orleans.
US Navy Mortar Schooners shattered Fort Jackson in 1862.
US Navy Bomb Vessels
Photo of a bomb vessel of the type that blasted Forts Jackson and St. Phillip on the Mississippi River, 18-23 April, 1862. Captain David Porter commanded twenty-one of these US Navy mortar schooners during the attack. Flag-Officer (later Rear Admiral) David Farragut held overall command of the operation.
The use of “bomb vessels” by naval units was not new. The concept dated back to the 16th century.
Mechanics of mortars
The use of mortars on naval vessels was not much different than their use on land. Mortars shot small bombs into the air at high angles. Those bombs were fuse-activated. So, the gunner prepared the shells. The crew loaded the mortar itself with gunpowder and wads. When given the order to fire, the crew lit the bomb’s fuse and dropped it into the mortar. They touched the fuse-hole, igniting the gun’s powder. The bomb shot up, arced to the target, and exploded when the fuse burned down.
The trick was in the fuses. Cut the fuse too short, the bomb blew up before reaching the target. Cut it too long, and the bomb landed on the target, unexploded. Anyone around the bomb could pull the fuse out and extinguish it.
C. S. Forester wrote a fantastic scene about the siege of Riga, in 1812, in his novel, The Commodore. If mortars interest you, you’ll enjoy that story.
Success at Fort Jackson
Porter learned his bomb fuses on his US Navy mortar schooners were problematic on the first day of bombardment. Many of the bombs exploded in the air, before reaching the fort. To counter this, Porter ordered that fuses not be cut. Many of the bombs landed in and on the fort. The high-water conditions along the Mississippi River made for soggy ground in the fort. So, when the bombs landed, they hit mud and sunk in. This extinguished the fuses. Porter’s vessels fired nearly 7500 bombs. Of those, over a thousand were found in the ground when Union troops entered the fort.
Damage and mutiny
Despite the high number of unexploded bombs, Porter’s attack damaged the fort and demoralized its garrison. Flooding inside the fort presented a challenge for the rebels. If they stayed in the open, they risked injury from the bombs. If they took refuge in the casemates, they were stuck in flooded areas. This contributed to the mutiny of 28-April-1862 by Irish and German troops.