Ghost Ads New Orleans from magazine article to a full book.
A. Shwartz ad, 800 block of Canal Street (Infrogmation photo)
Ghost Ads New Orleans
In October, I wrote an article for Preservation in Print, the member magazine for the Preservation Resource Center. The article features “ghost signs” – signs painted on the walls of buildings. These signs and ads fade over time. The original products disappear. The signs are now “ghosts”.
It was a great idea for an October/All Hallow’s Eve theme. It was also fun to research! The article came out wonderfully, mainly because PRC used professional photographers to shoot the ads. My writing was OK.
Magazine to Book
Jacob’s Candy ad in the Warehouse District (Infrogmation photo)
An editor for a publishing house approached me after the article dropped. They’ve published books on “fading ads” in several cities. The editor inquired about my interest in writing a book for New Orleans. While my immediate reaction was, YES!, the decision wasn’t that simple.
Turning a 1200-word article into a 30K+ word book requires more resources. It wasn’t hard to find a few ads for a fun piece. Finding 100 or so images for a book? A bit more work.
Research and Rabbit Holes
Trianon Theater Ad, 1917 (Mugnier photo)
Most photo archives don’t tag images as “ghost ads”. The ads appear in photos of buildings and streets. They appear as a streetcar passes by, and someone took a photo of the streetcar. It’s in the background of a selfie. A book project requires a universe of photos about three times the number to be published. So, for the Krauss book, I assembled about 400 images and published about 100. I’ll need a similar number for this book.
The process involves rabbit holes. Start with a neighborhood. Then, maybe a street. Look for buildings that are mismatched in height. For example, a four-story building next to a one- or two-story. That exposed wall offers a canvas for the sign painter. Now, look over 120+ years of photos. It’s fun, but time-consuming.
Send me your ads!
The thing about “fading ads” is that they’re, well, fading/faded. That means they’re easily overlooked. I need to find them! I’m going to be doing some contests. Submit an ad (photo or location), you get entered in a giveaway, maybe a book, maybe a gift card to PJ’s or Wakin Bakin. I’ll think it through this week.
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Snippets of New Orleans by Emma Fick
Our Review this week: Snippets of New Orleans by Emma Fick
The back cover
We’ve got a book review for you this week, a fun title on New Orleans by artist, historian, and illustrator, Emma Fick. Snippets of New Orleans is a wonderful illustrated primer on New Orleans history and culture. Emma’s book covers a lot of ground. So, it’s a great book for local and visitor alike. I see it as a great book to give someone before they come to New Orleans for the first time. It will really build up excitement.
Emma’s map of New Orleans
Emma starts with the basics of navigating New Orleans. It’s important to understand uptown/downtown and lakebound/riverbound, since the cardinal compass points of North, South, East, and West have so little real meaning here. She leads with this, giving us some solid directions and explanations right as you open the book.
The French Quarter
French Quarter Street Signs
Lots of excellent detail here, as we wander around places, people, and things that strike the author. The “Spanish street signs” that explain how the street names were pronounced during the Spanish Colonial period are a particular favorite of mine when walking through the Quarter.
Common Themes Across Neighborhoods
Corner grocery stores were once ubiquitous across the city. You can usually tell a house or building that used to be a neighborhood grocery because the corner facing the street corner is “cut off” a bit. We will definitely be coming back to this topic in a future pod.
Buy the book!
You’ve got several options for buying Emma’s book. So, if you don’t mind, go buy it at a bookstore, like Blue Cypress Books (like I did), or Octavia Books! Support the Indies, they’re an important part of the community. If you’re not local, you can buy the book through Octavia’s website. While we encourage the locals, we know many prefer Amazon, of course #primeJunkies.
I’m proud to be included in Emma’s Network! We had a lot of fun exploring Faubourg St. John together, as she took notes for inspiration.
French Truck Coffee and Blue Dot Donuts at Wakin’ Bakin’ on Banks and Alexander in Mid-City
And let’s not forget Wakin’ Bakin’, my regular morning haunt. While you listen, you can hear New Orleans flowing by you as you listen to the pod,
Limmud Fest New Orleans 2018
Limmud Fest New Orleans 2018
We’re going to Limmud Fest New Orleans 2018! Mr. Hugo Kahn and I will discuss Krauss – The New Orleans Value Store. The presentation is on Sunday, March 18th, 10:20am, at the Jewish Community Center Uptown. We’ll gladly sign the copy of the book you buy from Octavia Books at the event.
What is Limmud Fest New Orleans 2018?
From the Limmud Fest website:
LimmudFest New Orleans is a weekend festival of Big Tent Jewish learning, arts, culture and spirituality — all planned by volunteers. It is part of a global movement inspired by the idea that when Jews from diverse backgrounds come together to celebrate and learn about everything Jewish, the entire community is enriched.
Krauss Department Store on Canal Street is steeped in New Orleans history. Since the Krauss Brothers, their brother-in-law, Leon Heymann, and his family, and Hugo Kahn, the top-level ownership and management of the store through the years, are all Jewish, the store is a cornerstone of Jewish retail history. It’s a great topic for a weekend of Jewish learning.
Hugo Kahn – President of Krauss, Incorporated.
Mr. Kahn is the reason the book has been so well received. When Hugo closed down the store for the Heymann family in 1997, instructed that all the stuff from the offices be boxed up and brought out to the Earl K. Long Library at the University of New Orleans. Those twelve linear feet of photos, documents, and memorabilia were essential to telling the Krauss story.
At talks and presentations I’ve done since the book dropped last September, Hugo will gladly join in. He answers questions from guests and shares his memories and thoughts on the store. For Limmud Fest New Orleans 2018, Hugo is the star, and I’m looking forward to him taking the mic. Hugo’s involvement with Krauss began in 1967, when the late Jimmy Heymann hired him as Controller. Hugo, working for Jimmy and later, his son, Jerry, ran the store, from Jimmy’s passing to the store’s closure.
Edward Branley, the NOLA History Guy
Yeah, I’ll be there, too.
Sunday, March 18th
Come out and hear Hugo tell the story! I’ll be along with photos and background on the origins of the store.