Street names change over time

Street names change over time

It’s no surprise that street names in New Orleans change over time.

street names

Street tiles for General Pershing Street, renamed from Berlin Street. (Infrogmation photo)

The changing of street names.

City government changes street names for a number of reasons. Here are some examples, using the Robinson Atlas of 1883. Let’s start with the French Quarter.

Custom House to Iberville

street names

Custom House Street, 1883

The first street after Canal Street, inside the French Quarter, was originally named “Custom House.” It was later changed to Iberville Street. While we associate both LeMoyne brothers with the founding of New Orleans, Bienville had the greater role. Iberville’s contributions weren’t initially considered significant enough to earn a street.

Calle del Arsenal

street names

Calle Del Arsenal (Infrogmation photo)

The street was originally named for the Ursuline nuns. When the Spanish took over, streets received names in their language. Spanish troops were quartered on the lower side of the city, hence Barracks and Arsenal. Calle del Arsenal reverted to Ursuline after New Orleans was sold to the United States in 1803.

Hospital to Governor Nicholls

street names

Hospital Street, 1883

In the Lower Quarter, Hospital changed to Governor Nicholls, in honor of Francis T. Nicholls, governor of Louisiana from 1888-1892. The city changed the street after he passed in 1912.

Outside the French Quarter

Tulane Avenue from Common Street

street names

Common Street, from Claiborne to Broad, 1883

Common Street, above Elk Place, changed to Tulane Avenue in 1884, in honor of philanthropist and namesake of Tulane University, Paul Tulane. Several street name changes took place around this time. In addition to the creation of Tulane Avenue, Delord Street (which ended at Tivoli Circle) changed to Howard Avenue.

Adams to Lee to Toussaint

street names

segment of the Robinson Atlas of 1883 showing Lakeview

Before electric streetcars, transit to the West End and Spanish Fort recreational areas along Lake Pontchartrain was accomplished via steam trains. West End converted first, in 1898. The Spanish Fort train closed, but returned in 1911 as an electrified streetcar line. Both streetcar lines ran out to the lakefront on West End Boulevard. Spanish Fort turned on Adams Street (named after Presidents John and John Quincy Adams). With the increased significance of the street after 1911, the city renamed Adams for Robert E. Lee.

The city renamed the street a second time, in 2022. Perfectly normal course of action. So, is it revisionist? No. Would it be revisionist to say Robert E. Lee had a significant impact on the history of New Orleans? Yes, because, in his entire life, he only spent about thirty-six hours here.

Tivoli to Lee to Harmony

street names

Lee Circle, 1883

The roundabout on Naiads Street, now St. Charles Avenue, at Delord Street (now Howard Avenue). The city originally named it, “Tivoli Circle.” In terms of city ordinances, that name remained until 2022. From Wikipedia:

On July 31, 1877, “Lee Place” within “Tivoli Circle” was authorized by Ordinance A.S. 4064[4][5] Although the traffic circle is commonly referred to as “Lee Circle”, this ordinance makes clear that the “enclosure” containing the statue is to be known as “Lee Place”, while the traffic circle itself continues to be known as “Tivoli Circle”. This ordinance contains no reference to the name “Lee Circle”.

While the monument and park honored Lee, the roundabout never changed from Tivoli Circle. This demonstrates common usage colliding with legal names. So, since the Lee statue stood at the center of the park, the entire area became, “Lee Circle.”

In 2022, the City Council formally re-named Tivoli Circle, Harmony Circle.

street names

Harmony Circle via Google Maps

Was this “revisionist history?” No. Street names changed all the time. Would it be revisionist history to argue that Lee wasn’t on the losing side of the Southern Rebellion? Yes.

NOLA Books as Gifts (1) – New History!

NOLA Books as Gifts (1) – New History!

NOLA books aren’t just gifts. They’re investments.

nola books nola books

Give NOLA Books

I’d like to suggest two books recently released for your consideration as gifts. This is the first of several posts to give you some ideas on something New Orleans you can buy friends and family that doesn’t involve rum or powdered sugar (not that there’s anything wrong with those, mind you).

KIngfish U

Bob Mann’s book, Kingfish U – Huey Long and LSU is a wonderful story of the relationship between Louisiana’s best-known politician and the state’s flagship university. From the back cover:

No political leader is more closely identified with Louisiana State University than the flamboyant governor and U.S. senator Huey P. Long, who devoted his last years to turning a small, undistinguished state school into an academic and football powerhouse. From 1931, when Long declared himself the “official thief” for LSU, to his death in 1935, the school’s budget mushroomed, its physical plant burgeoned, its faculty flourished, and its enrollment tripled.

Along with improving LSU’s academic reputation, Long believed the school’s football program and band were crucial to its success. Taking an intense interest in the team, Long delivered pregame and halftime pep talks, devised plays, stalked the sidelines during games, and fired two coaches. He poured money into a larger, flashier band, supervised the hiring of two directors, and, with the second one, wrote a new fight song, “Touchdown for LSU.”

While he rarely meddled in academic affairs, Long insisted that no faculty member criticize him publicly. When students or faculty from “his school” opposed him, retribution was swift. Long’s support for LSU did not come without consequences. His unrelenting involvement almost cost the university its accreditation. And after his death, several of his allies—including his handpicked university president—went to prison in a scandal that almost destroyed LSU.

Rollicking and revealing, Robert Mann’s Kingfish U is the definitive story of Long’s embrace of LSU.

As a graduate of the University of New Orleans, a book about Louisiana State University would usually leave me nonplussed. However, every other book of Bob’s I’ve read has been fantastic. Additionally, I’m the dad of an alum of the Golden Band From Tigerland, and the stories of Long and the band are fantastic. While the book is, at face value, not about New Orleans, Long and the city are intertwined.

Check it out:



Rollin’ on the River

nola books

Derby Gisclair’s sixth book, New Orleans Steamboat Stories: The Brief Lives of Mississippi Riverboats, presents the history of steam on the Mississippi. Locals know the stories of flatboats making their way down from as far north as Ohio. Those early travelers to New Orleans got here, but couldn’t return home as easily. Their boats relied on the river’s current. They lacked the power to fight that current. Until the steamboats, that is. From the early days of Fulton’s steamboat to early commerce along the river, to the post-rebellion boom in the cotton trade, Derby offers lots of detail on why New Orleans was so important to shipping and industry in 19th Century America.

From the back cover:

Great civilizations throughout history have been established along the major rivers of the world. In Africa, the Egyptians had the Nile. The Babylonians had the Tigris and Euphrates. In Europe, they had the Danube, the Rhine, the Tiber, and the Seine. And it was no different in America where the Missouri River, the Ohio River, and scores of other tributaries combine to form the Mississippi River as it twists its sinuous way south from Lake Itasca in Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico.

Steamboats shaped America’s future, its economy, and its culture while expanding trade and expanding the country’s footprint into new territories. This economic expansion was not limited to New Orleans, but also to Cincinnati, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Memphis, Louisville, Nashville, St. Paul, Kansas City, and Chattanooga. A round trip voyage from Pittsburgh to New Orleans that once took six months could now be accomplished in forty-five days. At the same time steamboats made it possible to circulate and disseminate the news and the mail, to spread the various immigrant cultures, food, and music.

Refinements in steamboat design and mechanical enhancements quickly followed, with the majority of these taking shape above the waterline. As if incorporating the massive paddlewheels either on the side or the stern of the boat with the towering smokestacks above deck with ever more powerful engines and boilers below deck were not challenging enough, increased passenger traffic required further enhancements and improvements to the amenities that came along with the popularity of travel by riverboat.

The steamboat continued to be the primary form of long-range transportation even as the railroads continued to expand their influence into freight transportation. Newer, bigger steamboats were built and by the end of the 1860s the cotton trade had recovered and had surpassed their output from a decade earlier.

New Orleans Steamboat Stories contains just a fraction of the stories of a handful of the different steamboats and the people who lived and worked on the Western rivers. They are brief in nature as the average life of a steamboat was generally short. But their impact culturally and commercially, esthetically and economically, made a lasting impact on the development of America.

One of the things that really struck me was the stories of riverboat races. We think of a race as a simple point-to-point contest. Steamboats fighting to be the fastest from New Orleans to St. Louis were anything but simple. If you enjoy the city’s history, you’ll want to know how cotton truly was king, and that means reading the Steamboat Stories.

Check it out:

Amazon (hardcover and Kindle)

More to come

Fiction, poetry, and more history to come as we explore what’s out there this holiday season. And no, you’re not exempt from hearing about my books. 🙂


Sugar Bowl New Orleans 1969 in local advertising

Sugar Bowl New Orleans 1969 in local advertising

Sugar Bowl New Orleans 1969 featured Arkansas v. Georgia.

Sugar Bowl New Orleans 1969

Sugar Bowl New Orleans 1969

Advertising graphic for the 1969 edition of the Sugar Bowl. Arkansas played Georgia on January 1, 1969, in the Sugar Bowl. The teams played in Tulane Stadium. Georgia lost, 2 to 6.

Origins of the Sugar Bowl

By the 1930s, two of the four “original” bowl games played. The Tournament of Roses parade organization added a football game in 1902. So, in 1926, the city of Miami added football to New Year’s. Miami held  the “Fiesta of the American Tropics.” The name later changed to the “Palm Festival.” The football game was dubbed the “Orange Bowl.”

While Pasadena and Miami started early, New Orleans was not to be upstaged. Discussions about holding a New Year’s football game in New Orleans began after the second Orange Bowl in 1927. It took until 1935 for the game to come together. So, the festival and game became the “Sugar Bowl.”

Why Sugar Bowl?

The New Orleans Mid-Winter Sports Association chose “Sugar” for their “Bowl.” While this  seems obvious, there was more to it. Given the region’s relationship with sugar cane farming, it makes sense. So, it looks like a no-brainer. Additionally, there was a specific connection between sugar and Tulane University, the site of the game. The Foucher Plantation became Tulane University in 1871. Etienne de Bore, Paul Foucher’s father-in-law, successfully granulated sugar on the plantation.

Tulane Stadium

The Rose Bowl and Cotton Bowl stadiums bear the names of their signature events. Tulane Stadium provided the 100 yards for the Sugar Bowl. The university built the stadium in 1926. The stadium retained the school’s name. So, Tulane hosted the game from 1935 until 1975. The game moved to the Louisiana Superdome in 1976. The Sugar Bowl calls the Superdome home to this day. There was one exception. The city of Atlanta offered the Georgia Dome for the 2006 game. So, New Orleans struggled throughout the Fall of 2005, with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The city was unable to put on a major event in January, 2006. So, Atlanta stepped up, and the game returned to the Superdome the following year.


The caption for this graphic reads:

B&W photo, January 1, 1969. Graphic advertisement for the annual Sugar Bowl Football Classic in New Orleans, La. Written on photo: The New Year’s Day game will pit Arkansas and Georgia in the 1p.m. contest at the 83,000 seat Sugar Bowl Stadium (Final score: Arkansas, 6- Georgia, 2).

The record for this graphic includes no mention of where it was published. The State Library of Louisiana owns the original.

Sugar Bowl 2021

The Allstate Sugar Bowl doubles as a College Football Playoff semi-final game in 2021.

Happy New Year!

Liberty Bowl 1970 was Tulane’s fourth bowl appearance

Liberty Bowl 1970 was Tulane’s fourth bowl appearance

Liberty Bowl 1970 – Tulane

liberty bowl 1970

Liberty Bowl 1970

Program from the 12th Liberty Bowl, played on December 12, 1970. Tulane (8-4) defeated Colorado (6-5). 17-3. Tulane was an Independent at this time. The game took place at Memphis Memorial Stadium in Memphis, TN. It was Tulane’s fourth bowl appearance, and the first since the 1939 Sugar Bowl. The Green Wave scored two touchdowns and a field goal in their winning effort.

liberty bowl 1970

Tulane was considered the underdog for Liberty Bowl 1970. The point spread was Colorado -14. The game was 3-3 at halftime. Tulane ran back the second half kickoff 66 yards. Three plays later, they were in the house. Another touchdown in the fourth quarter made the score 17-3.

Tulane Football 1970

In a recap article published earlier this year, Tulane recapped the 1970 season. It had been dubbed the “Year of the Green”

Seniors Rick Kingrea, Mike Walker and David Abercrombie captained the 1970 team. The defense returned 10 starters from 1969 and Paul Ellis, Joe Bullard and David Hebert formed a secondary that picked off a school-record 28 passes on what was to be one of the Green Wave’s all-time great defensive units. Offensively, Abercrombie set a school record with 246 yards rushing against North Carolina State on his way to 993 yards rushing. Through the air, quarterback Mike Walker and receiver Steve Barrios connected on some big plays, as Walker set a season record for yards per completion and Barrios set a season record for yards per catch.

Kingrea later went on to the NFL. He played for the Cleveland Browns (1971-72), the Buffalo Bills (1973), and the New Orleans Saints (1973-1978).

Tulane lost to LSU that season. Tigers fans naturally lorded that over the Green Wave, in spite of their success in Memphis.

At the time, Tulane played football as an Independent. They were members of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) from 1932-1965. The school joined Conference USA (C-USA) in 1996. They left C-USA in 2014 and are now members of The American Conference.