St. Aloysius, 1925 #BOSH

St. Aloysius, 1925 #BOSH

St. Aloysius 1925

st. aloysius

St. Aloysius College, 1925. (Frack Studios photo, via HNOC)

St. Aloysius – New School for 1925

St. Aloysius College moved into their new home on Esplanade and North Rampart in 1925. The original building was a lovely mansion that was owned by the Ursuline Sisters. In 1892, the Ursulines decided to move their school uptown. The Brothers of the Sacred Heart were in a house on Barracks and Chartres at the time. The BOSH jumped on the Esplanade Avenue house, The Aloysius student body grew now that the Institute had some room to grow.

Streetcars!

The corner of Esplanade and Rampart was an active transit location. The Canal and Esplanade Belt lines turned there. When the streetcars ran in “belt” service, they ran continuously in one direction. In this case, the Canal Street line ran out Canal, then turned right onto City Park Avenue at the Cemeteries. The streetcars went down City Park Avenue to the Bayou Bridge, then crossed Bayou St. John. They then went down Esplanade Avenue to N. Rampart. From Rampart, they turned right to go up to Canal Street. The streetcar turned left, went around Liberty Place, which turned them around do it all again.

The Esplanade line did the opposite run. From Canal and Rampart, Esplanade streetcars went down Rampart, then turned to go up Esplanade to the Bayou. From there, they went up City Park Avenue, turning left at Canal Street. They then went down Canal, to Liberty Place.

That’s why they were called “belt” lines. The St. Charles and Tulane lines are the more well-known belts in town, since they operated into the 1950s. Canal/Esplanade belt service was discontinued in 1931.

Eminent Domain

Streetcar ridership increased through the early 1920s. New Orleans Public Service, Incorporated (NOPSI) worked with the city to expand and improve the streetcar system. When it came to Esplanade and N. Rampart, NOPSI wanted to expand the neutral ground on Rampart. They sought city approval to widen the street. That required the city to acquire about a foot of right-of-way from the property owners.

The Institute were smart men. They didn’t voluntarily sell that foot of ground on the corner. The BOSH forced the city to use its “eminent domain” authority. They made the city pay to demolish the old mansion when buying the right-of-way. The Brothers then built the building most of us know as St. Aloysius College.

Back to School

This is one of the earliest photos of the new building. Franck Studios took it for either the city or NOPSI. You can see the street work just completed on Rampart. The boys started the 1925-26 school year in their new home. By the 1960s, the rush to build caught up with the school. That’s the prologue to the story of Brother Martin High School, which began its 50th year, educating young men, this week.

Brothers of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans

by Edward J. Branley

st. aloysius

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.
Product Details

ISBN: 9780738585673
ISBN-10: 073858567X
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing (SC)
Publication Date: April 12th, 2010
Pages: 127
Language: English
Series: Images of America (Arcadia Publishing)

Visiting the Brother Martin High School library #BOSH

Visiting the Brother Martin High School library #BOSH

Brother Martin High School Library

Brother Martin High School Library

Fr. Paul Hart (’70), BMHS Chaplain, blesses the new library. (BMHS photo)

Brother Martin High School Library

brother martin high school library

The circulation desk in the “old” BMHS library, 1970s. (BMHS photo)

I stopped by Brother Martin on Monday, to bring Mrs. Aucoin, the Library’s Director, the photos from the BOSH book, so they can have more digitized “old stuff”. It was great to see the “new” library.

brother martin high school library

Stacks in the “new” library. (Ryan Gootee General Contractors, LLC, photo)

I went up the stairwell in the old building to get to the second floor. Back in the day, that stairwell put you out into the second floor Resource Center, or you could turn around and go back down the Cor Jesu building hallway. Now, the first thing you see when hitting the top of the stairs is the door to the new library. Mrs. Aucoin greeted me at the door, and we immediately came to the circulation desk, where I met Ms. Lauren Rhodes, her colleague. I got the tour, and waved to Mr. Craig Zeller (’02), who is a Computer Science teacher and moderator of the Academic Games team, among other things. Craig was giving an orientation talk to new faculty members, in the open space behind the circulation desk.

Brother Martin High School Library

Study room/classroom in the “new” Brother Martin library (Edward Branley photo)

The space is very open, modular, and flexible. The teachers listening to Mr. Zeller sat at round tables, but then I noticed the tables pulled apart, so library patrons could work individually, or in smaller groups.

Re-vamped Resource Center

The wall connecting the library to the rest of the resource center is glass. The space includes several meeting/study rooms like the one above. Mrs. Aucoin, being the consummate professional, expressed concern about a minimal line of sight to the last meeting room down the hall. That attention to detail is why the school succeeds.

Brother Martin High School Library

Looking out at the Branton Chapel from the “new” library. (Edward Branley photo)

The innovation that struck me most was the windows! In the mid-70s, the resource centers were A New Thing. The classrooms were carpeted and better-lit than the older, traditional classrooms in the 1950s-vintage Cor Jesu building. Frankly, that almost-brand-new environment was what won me over to BMHS, touring the school in the fall of 1970. St. Aloysius closed in 1969, so BMHS was almost brand-new. I was a seventh grader at the time, and it was so much newer than any other school we visited. The classrooms didn’t make good use of natural light, though. The view out to the back yard stunned me!

The new library is an excellent innovation!

Be sure to check out Edward’s book on BMHS, Cor Jesu, and St. Aloysius, Brothers of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans, on the sidebar.

Brothers of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans

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.

St. Aloysius Memories – The Brother’s Residence on Esplanade

St. Aloysius Memories – The Brother’s Residence on Esplanade

St. Aloysius Memories

St. Aloysius Memories

Chapel in the residence of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart on Esplanade Avenue (Edward Branley photo, courtesy SEAA)

St. Aloysius Memories

Here’s an image that didn’t get into the book, Brothers of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans. It’s an architectural drawing of the altar in the chapel in the Brothers’ residence, next to the school on Esplanade.

The BOSH book

This image is a great example of the process involved in putting together an “Images of America” book for Arcadia. The books are 128 pages, including front and back matter. To fill up the book, a prospective Arcadia author should have about 300 photos to start. Then that universe of 300 can be narrowed down to the 180-200 images that best tell the story.

I found a lot of great photos in the Province office, as well as Kenny’s alumni office. That was my base universe for the BOSH book. That’s a big milestone. Without a good selection of images, the publisher won’t green-light the project. Once the book was a go, I kept digging.

Southeastern Architectural Archive

There are a number of special collections and archives in New Orleans. Some are privately held, others are collections maintained by public and university libraries. The Southeastern Architectural Archive at Tulane University is one of these. While most of the collection isn’t online, their list of holdings is. While digging around online for any references to “St. Aloysius”, I came across a hit at the SEAA. It was a listing in the archive’s holdings for a local architectural firm.

So, I called the SEAA and made my way uptown, to the Howard-Tilton Library. They pulled the box I saw listed, but this was the only drawing related to St. Aloysius. Turned out, the project was just for the altar renovation, and this was the only drawing. I took a quick phone-pic of the drawing and thanked the grad student who helped me out.

The image didn’t make the final cut for the book. It was just a phone-pic, and I didn’t go back to make a proper copy image. Still, it’s part of the history of the school, and this was part of the process!

Brothers of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans

by Edward J. Branley

catholic high baton rouge

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.

Camp Stanislaus – Summer with the Brothers of the Sacred Heart

Camp Stanislaus – Summer with the Brothers of the Sacred Heart

Camp Stanislaus, by the bay.

camp stanislaus

Campers and counselors at Camp Stanislaus, changing activities in the 1950s

Camp Stanislaus – Beat the heat!

I’ve written several pieces for GoNOLA.com on how New Orleanians beat the summer heat. Leaving New Orleans doesn’t fit with the tourism-promotion. Let’s escape to the Mississippi Gulf Coast here.

Most houses in the city didn’t have central air conditioning in the 1930s-1950s. So, folks in the city relied on nature to cool off. You can see it in the architecture of old houses. High ceilings, transoms to allow for good natural air circulation, big porches. Yards had lots of trees and other shade plants. In spite of all these things, there are days where you just couldn’t beat the NOLA heat.

Dad’s at the office, boys at Camp Stanislaus

The men didn’t have many options on this; they had to go to work. The wives, however, were at home with the kids, often trapped without a car. With no 24/7 cable television, kids were left to their own devices for entertainment, and got bored easily. After a week or two of this, mom would be totally done. Stick-a-fork-in-her done. It was time to go to Waveland. Or Bay St. Louis. Or Long Beach. Families would team up to buy some property in one of the towns along Highway 90 in Mississippi. They’d build small camp-style houses there. The women would pack up the kids and head out of town. The men would head out N. Claiborne Avenue, to Chef Menteur Hwy, across the Rigolets Pass, and out to the coast on Friday afternoons, driving back to the house in the city on Sunday night.

NOLA Families on the coast

Camp Stanislaus

Campers and couneslors at Camp Stanislaus, 1950.

In an on-line political discussion a couple weeks back, one person mentioned that they were surprised that one of Louisiana’s most powerful politicians of the 20th Century, T. Hale Boggs, was born in Mississippi. I pointed out, yes, he was born in that state, but he was born in Long Beach. Clearly the Boggs family did the escape routine in the summer, and momma gave birth to baby Hale while away from the city. That didn’t make him any less a New Orleanian, that’s for sure.

Not everyone could get away to the coast for an extended period of time, though, and the kids still drove those parents crazy. When you just couldn’t pack up and get out, one of the other options was to pack up the kids and send them off. One possibility for that was to send the boys over toCamp Stanislaus, at St. Stanislaus College in Bay St. Louis. The college-prep high school, run by the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, has been around since 1847, as a boarding school for young men from New Orleans. In the summer, the students go back home, so the Brothers monetize the campus with Camp Stanislaus.

St. Stanislaus College

The Brothers of the Sacred Heart founded St. Stanislaus College in 1854. The concept of a boarding school for boys appealed to families in New Orleans and Mobile. The school grew rapidly, and was well-established by the Civil War. The Institute closed the school to boarders at start of the war. They sent several brothers to New Orleans. They taught their students from the city in Annunciation Parish in Faubourg Marigny. After the war, the Archbishop of New Orleans invited the Institute to set up a permanent school in the French Quarter. He gave the brother a house on Chartres and Barracks Streets. This was the first location of St. Aloysius College. Even though the BOSH taught in New Orleans through the war, we date the involvement of the Institute in the city from 1869, and St. Aloysius.

Keep ’em busy!

The lead photo (above) features kids at Camp Stanislaus in the 1950s. Campers are moving from one place to another on the SSC campus. Below, a shot of the Camp Stanislaus staff from 1939. Some of the BOSH loved working summer camp, but for others, the camp was a sticking point. The BOSH are a teaching order, and summer sessions were the only time many of the Brothers could continue their personal education paths. It’s hard to finish that master’s degree when you’re running around after a group of kids.

camp stanislaus

Camp Stanislaus counselors, 1939. All of these men are Brothers of the Sacred Heart.

Beating the heat in 2017

camp stanislaus

Campers sailing in Bay St. Louis, with the chapel at St. Stanislaus College in the background, June, 2017. (Courtesy Camp Stanislaus)

Camp Stanislaus continues on to this day. It’s a great experience for young boys, to get out of the city for a week or two, exposing them to the MS Gulf Coast, and putting them in touch with an earlier time. Improving swimming skills and learning to sail are just two examples. It’s not just about the water. Getting out under the trees for a while is a wonderful thing.

St. Stanislaus College, during the Summer. (Courtesy Camp Stanislaus)

It’s scenes like this that separate city schools from boarding schools.

Of course, if a family doesn’t want to pack up and send off the kid, the BOSH community at Brother Martin High School has day camp sessions, too.

For more on the Institute and its schools in the city, check out my book, Brothers of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans.

 

“The Brick” from Brother Martin given to Catholic High in Baton Rouge

“The Brick” from Brother Martin given to Catholic High in Baton Rouge

catholic high baton rouge

“The Brick” – Brick from the Cor Jesu Building at Brother Martin High School

Catholic High Baton Rouge came to Brother Martin’s aid

On August 25, 2005, the Brother Martin High School faith community gathered at St. Joseph’s Church on Tulane Avenue to witness the seniors of 2006 receive their class rings. Four days later, the world changed for so many of us. My son was one of those “storm seniors” who didn’t get back to his high school until the following January. He got back, though, with help from Catholic High.

Catholic High School of Baton Rouge, also operated by the Brothers of the Sacred Heat, came to the aid of the Brother Martin boys. Catholic High agreed to “platoon” their school, holding their classes from 7am to 3pm.   “Brother Martin Baton Rouge” held classes from 4pm-9pm in the evening.

Open to All

“Brother Martin Baton Rouge” opened its classes to all Catholic high school students who were displaced by the storm. The Brothers continued to pay the faculty. They asked that parents continue to pay the schools they regularly attended. The Catholic High School community could have just “followed instructions” from the Institute, but they went so much further than that. They helped displaced families in so many ways. The kids quickly settled into a school routine. Even the band and other activities met and practiced. Classes were on Monday through Thursday evenings. For our family, that meant picking up my son after that last Thursday class, coming back to our house in Metairie, and us working to remediate the mold and prepare to rebuild the interior.

We will never forget…

The damage to BMHS was not as bad as many. Still, it took a lot of hard work by many to get the school back in shape.. Mr. Nick Lagattuta (BMHS ’71), Facilities Director and Assistant to the President of Brother Martin High School, and his team worked tirelessly that fall, to make re-opening the school happen.

In the process of rehabilitating the, a brick was removed from the wall of the original classroom building on Elysian Fields Avenue. We refer to it now as the “Cor Jesu Building”, because it was part of the original Cor Jesu High campus that opened its doors in September, 1954.

A plaque was placed above the niche left from the removal of the brick that reads:

The brick removed from this space at the front entrance of our school
was presented to the students and faculty of Catholic High School
on Monday, December 19, 2005
to commemorate their generosity
in sharing their Baton Rouge campus with us
for three months after Hurricane Katrina.
We will never forget this outstanding demonstration of compassion
in the spirit of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart.

No, we won’t, Baton Rouge.

catholic high baton rouge

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

Brothers of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans presents the story of the three high schools operated by the Institute in New Orleans: St. Aloysius (1869-1969), Cor Jesu (1954-1969), and Brother Martin High (1969-present). It is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, as well as local bookstores in New Orleans, and Walgreens drug stores.

The Day The Music Died

Screenshot from 2016-02-03 07:53:54

WTIX listener survey flyer, 1969 (Courtesy Las-Solanas.com)

“But February made me shiver,
With every paper I deliver.”

In his song, American Pie, Don McClean sings of “The Day The Music Died”, February 3, 1959. On that day, Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and J.P. Richardson (“The Big Bopper”) were killed in a plane crash in Texas. Based on interviews he gave in later years, McClean was clearly quite moved by the loss of Buddy Holly, and he used the tune to get that out of his system.

I wasn’t even a year old on The Day The Music Died, but I grew up listening to the music of the men who died that day. In the 1960s, that meant listening to WTIX-AM, “The Mighty 69o”. McClean released “American Pie” in 1971, and it shot to the top of the pop charts in 1972. I was in eighth grade at Brother Martin High School in the 1971-72 school. When “American Pie” flooded the AM airwaves, I would listen to it over and over, trying to sort out the numerous references to pop culture and music in its lyrics. Fortunately, WTIX did New Orleans tweens/teens a favor by releasing an “annotated” version of the tune, where one of the DJs (Bob Walker?) cut in on the song quickly after each cultural/music reference. For example:

“I met a girl who sang the blues” – and the voice over cut in, saying “Janis Joplin”.

“And I asked her for some happy news.
But she just smiled, and turned away.”

–and the voice over cut in saying “her death”

It was a wonderful reference for a word nerd like me.

“American Pie” was very much a pivotal point for me. Moving from elementary school (St. Angela Merici in #themetrys) to high school exposed me to music the older boys listened to, which was album-oriented rock. I went from the pop focus of AM radio to the folk-rock of CSNY and Joni Mitchell, the spacey rock of Yes and Emerson, Lake and Palmer, and the funk/R&B of War. I never gave up on The Beatles, The Who, Motown, etc, but 1972 was the summer where my interests expanded.

To Holly, Valens, and Richardson: Thank you, gentlemen. Your music was cut short, but you inspired oh so many.