Palace Car Damage

Palace Car Damage

The 1929 transit car strike left a lot of Palace car damage.

palace car damage

Palace car damage

Photo of New Orleans Public Service, Incorporated (NOPSI) streetcar 625, an American Car Company “Palace” streetcar, photographed on 2-July-1929, showing damage by vandals. The motormen and conductors operating the city’s streetcars struck NOPSI on 1-July-1929. Those workers inflicted a great deal of damage to streetcars, tracks, and stations overnight, 30-June/1-July, and into 2-July. This photo, taken by Franck Studios, is part of a series documenting that damage for NOPSI’s lawyers. NOPSI 625’s roll board indicates it last operated on the West End line, likely on 30-June. The operator parked the streetcar at Canal Station. That station stood on the original site of the New Orleans City Railroad Company’s car and mule barns, built in 1861. By the 1920s, several of the original buildings remained. The public notices like the one tacked up on the end of the streetcar went out on 11-July-1929, so that may specifically date this photo.

The 1929 Strike

The Amalgamated Association of Street and Electric Railway Employees of America, Division No. 194, negotiated with transit managers for NOPSI for several years, in the run-up to 1-July-1929. Talks broke down that Summer, and the union called for a strike. The motormen and conductors took destructive actions overnight. They vandalized a number of streetcars, particular at Canal Station, along with track on Canal Street. They also vandalized the station itself.

While the story of the invention/creation of the po-boy sandwich offers a romanticized version of the four months of the strike. It’s clear, however, that the circumstances were anything but romantic. While the violence of the first two days of the strike subsided, it picked up again by 5-July. NOPSI decided not to operate any streetcars from 1-4 July.

On 5-July-1929, NOPSI brought in strike-breakers in an attempt to restore streetcar service. One Palace streetcar departed Canal Station that Saturday morning. Crowds of union members and their supporters blocked Canal Station and the other streetcar barns after that first streetcar left. The lone streetcar traveled down Canal Street to Liberty Place. The crowd followed it, eventually surrounding the car. They pulled the strike breakers off the car and set it on fire.


Marigny Mobile Connection 1854

Marigny Mobile Connection 1854

Marigny Mobile Connection 1854 – linking New Orleans to Mobile, AL

marigny mobile connection 1854

Marigny Mobile Connection 1854

It’s a technique that, for the most part, Google Maps rendered obsolete. You’ve got an idea. You pull out a map. You outline your idea on the map. This is essentially what the Marigny Mobile Connection 1854 presents. Someone suggested, “Hey, how about we connect the Pontchartrain Railroad with Lake Borgne? Then we can run a ferry from there to Mobile.” Huh? Pull out a map and start drawing. Print the map again, once you get it right.

Pontchartrain Railroad

Alexander Milne established Port Pontchartrain in the early 19th century. His port connected the south shore of the lake with the Gulf of Mexico, via Lake Borgne. As the Battle of New Orleans demonstrated, this route was an easy way into the city. While Milne’s port was situated well for ships, but it was five miles away from the city. Bayou St John and the New Canal offered easy connections into town. Port Pontchartrain needed a link. Investors created the Pontchartrain Railroad in 1830. It opened in 1831.

Transferring cargo from ship to rail wasn’t a problem. So, the business at the port grew. Cargo rolled the five miles down to the end of what is now Elysian Fields Avenue.

Linking Mobile

While the Pontchartrain Railroad focused on cargo/goods transfer, passenger operation grew over the years. By the 1850s, New Orleanians used the railroad to take day trips to the lake shore. Hotels, restaurants, and clubs popped up in what became “Milneburg,” the village around the pier and port facilities. The station in the Marigny expanded to accommodate these passengers. So, it was logical that entrepreneurs involved with the railroad took an interest in connecting the two large cities on the coast. The proposal included a rail extension out of town, to a ferry.


The rail expansion proposal connected the Marigny with Proctorsville. Ft. Proctor protected an approach to the city that was unguarded in 1814.Bayou Yscloskey’s mouth exposed the city to an attack similar to the British plan. So, the Americans built a fort to secure it. The village that grew up around the fort became Proctorsville. The proposal didn’t pan out, mainly because of the Southern Rebellion. Other railroad development appeared after 1865.

The map.

marigny mobile connection 1854

“Proposed extension of the Ponchartrain (sic) Railroad to Mobile” 1854, courtesy Tulane.

The Louisiana Research Collection at the Howard-Tilton Library, Tulane University, holds the original map. The top photo zooms in on the connection. Click the link here to get the full, tri-state map.