Kolb’s Restaurant and the Fading Signs project

Kolb’s Restaurant arguably has a “fading sign” right out front.

Sign at Kolb's on St. Charles Avenue

Kolb’s on St. Charles Avenue

Kolb’s Restaurant

I had three targets in mind in the 100 block of Canal Street for the Fading Signs book. One was the “Russell Stover” in the sidewalk tiles at the entrance of what used to be the candy store. The other two were restaurants, The Pearl, and Kolb’s.

The Fabacher family originally opened a restaurant in the 100 block of St. Charles. The Fabachers were beer brewers. They ran into difficulties placing their beer in restaurants and bars in the city. So, they opened up restaurants of their own. By 1899, they built up a solid clientele on St. Charles Avenue. The St. Charles Hotel was just in the next block. They sold the location to Conrad Kolb that year. Kolb ran with the Fabacher’s success.

Way too many folks forget the strong German roots of New Orleans. Sure, the city changed “Berlin Street” to “General Pershing Street,” but otherwise, Germans are an important part of the overall gumbo. German cuisine attracted visitors staying at the big hotel, as well as locals.

Kolb’s, faded

The restaurant closed in 1995, just short of a century of operation. The big electric sign out front remains, though. When THP approached me about doing this book, I worried about how many faded signs there were locally. After reading the books in the series on Detroit and Cincinnati, I used a much tighter standard for the Preservation in Print article on “ghost ads” than the publisher’s. In the Cincy book, the author presents the electric sign from the old baseball park, now that it’s been related to Great America Park, the current home of the Reds. I saw that and thought, well, that brings in Kolb’s!

Kolb’s and cooperation

Kolb's Restaurant

Looking at the 100 block of St. Charles Avenue, from the St. Charles Hotel. (courtesy Ryan Bordenave)

While walking around on Canal Street, I came across a fading sign on 622 Canal, the building that’s currently occupied by a PJ’s coffee. It’s really faded. So, I took a quick photo and shared it on the NOLA History Guy page on FB. Got some good input on what it was. That’ll be the subject of another article in this series. The Kolbs connection is the photo above. Ryan Bordenave, my go-to expert for All Things Canal Street, shared a photo he has down at the DDD. The sign at 622 Canal is visible, but blurry. What’s not blurry is the Kolbs sign on St. Charles! I didn’t mention Kolbs at all in that discussion, and up this popped!

That’s why this will be a fun project.

Fading Ads Contest – Week 1

Fading Ads Contest – Week 1

Fading Ads Contest

A. Shwartz ad, 800 block of Canal Street (Infrogmation photo)

Fading Ads Contest

Thanks to everyone who submitted suggestions and photos of fading ads around New Orleans. Some of them I had, some I didn’t, and everyone suggesting something was entered into the contest.

Da Winnah!

Kirk Landry is our winner! Kirk gets to choose between one of my books and a $20 gift card to Wakin Bakin.

If you shared more than one idea, you’re rolled into week 2. If you didn’t, share an idea!


CONTEST – Help me find “Fading Ads” in New Orleans and the suburbs

CONTEST – Help me find “Fading Ads” in New Orleans and the suburbs

CONTEST time! Help us find “fading ads”

A. Shwartz ad, 800 block of Canal Street (Infrogmation photo)

Contest time!

I’ve submitted the proposal for Fading Ads of New Orleans to The History Press! It’s looking good that they’ll accept the proposal and the book will move forward. That means I need fading ads! You guys are always wonderful about helping out with ideas and old photos. It’s time to reward that help.

Da Rules

Here’s how this is going to work. You submit a photo or a location to one of these places:

Comment on this post, or on the links in the following Facebook spots:

  • NOLA History Guy
  • Ain’t There No More New Orleans
  • New Orleans – Still There More
  • Edward Branley’s Personal Page

And you’ll be entered.


  • Only two entries per individual per week.
  • You can submit a photo or location suggestion only once.
  • It’s OK if you suggest something someone else suggests. A lot of us don’t read the comments.
  • I’ll judge your submission/suggestion as to whether it works for the book. If it does, you’re entered. If it doesn’t, you can suggest something else. My decisions are final.
  • One winner per week. Weeks run Tuesday to Monday. The first week starts today, the last week ends on Christmas Eve.
  • The weekly winner will be announced on the Tuesday after that contest closes.


I have four $20 gift cards for Wakin Bakin. So, you can choose between those or a copy of one of my books. While WB is tasty, it’ll be just the books when the gift cards run out.

Let’s Have fun!

I really do appreciate all y’all. You offer good conversation, lots of great research help, and you’re fun folks. I know you’d support this effort without an incentive, which is all the more reason to offer it. I’m looking forward to the discussions.

And we’re off!