New Orleans Thanksgiving, 1968

New Orleans Thanksgiving, 1968

Going out for a New Orleans Thanksgiving.

new orleans thanksgiving 1968 delerno's in metairie

New Orleans Thanksgiving

The traditional Thanksgiving meal is so not New Orleans. Our Creole-French and Creole-Italian roots don’t mesh with classic turkey, dressing, and mashed potatoes. Oh, sure, we can’t help but add our local twists to the meal, like oyster dressing, or stuffed peppers with a bit of red gravy. Still, it’s not our food.

Going out to celebrate the holiday is very much a New Orleans thing, though. We’ve never been the dinner-and-the-theater type of people. We go out to eat, of course. Well, on Thanksgiving, folks go to Da Track, then out to eat.

Undecided about where to go? On 23-Nov-1968, the Times-Picayune included ads for a number of restaurants. Those places knew people would forget to make reservations at their favorites. Then there were the visitors who needed some place to enjoy dinner.

Le Cafe at the Monteleone

new orleans thanksgiving 1968 the monteleone

The Monteleone Hotel offered a Thanksgiving buffet. They included the usual Thanksgiving fare, along with “Louisiana Speckled Trout Cardinal” and “Sugar Cured Ham with Champagne Sauce.” That trout likely enticed more than a few visitors who can’t get that back north.

Second only to mom

Delerno’s opened for Thanksgiving 1968 at their place on Pink and Focis Streets, just off Metairie Road. (Ad up top.)

All the usuals, plus turkey

new orleans thanksgiving 1968 louisiana purchase metairie

Louisiana Purchase Restaurant added turkey to their regular menu of “Authentic Creole, Acadian & New Orleans Cooking” for New Orleans Thanksgiving 1968. The restaurant was at 4241 Veterans in 1968. That location was later Houston’s Restaurant and is now Boulevard American Bistro. Louisiana Purchase Kitchen moved further up the street, to 8853 Veterans, Blvd.

Hotel Thanksgiving

new orleans thanksgiving 1968 airport hilton

Clementine’s at the New Orleans Airport Hilton offered diners “Roast Turkey with Oyster Dressing,” along with other sides, and, like any solid local hotel restaurant, gumbo. Clementine’s as the hotel restaurant is ATNM, but the Airport Hilton, at 901 Airline Drive, is still there more.

No Wild Boar

new orleans thanksgiving 1968 pittari's

T. Pittari’s on South Claiborne advertised a limited menu for Thanksgiving, 1968. While the restaurant’s regular advertising made a big deal about their wild game entrees, Thanksgiving meant classics. Roast Turkey with Oyster Dressing, the New Orleans staple for the day. Additionally, Pittari’s offered Filet of Lake Trout Amandine (a New Orleans Platonic Dish), and Baby Veal Milanese with Spaghettini, one of the restaurant’s Creole-Italian favorites.





JAX Truck, 1959

JAX Truck, 1959

A JAX truck at a body shop in 1959.

jax truck

JAX truck

A truck owned by the Jackson Brewing Company, parked by an auto body shop in Algiers, Louisiana, 21-May-1959. Photo is from Franck Studios, via HNOC. Several law firms hired Franck Studios for legal photography. So, it’s likely that a commercial truck parked at a body shop was involved in a collision. The HNOC caption says the truck is parked at City Auto and Body Company. The JAX truck is a Dodge, but I don’t know the model. If you’re a car/truck person, feel free to chime in.

The Jackson Brewing Company operated on Decatur Street in the French Quarter. The Fabacher family named their company for Jackson Square, right across the street. The Fabachers brewed beer in the Quarter from 1890 to 1974.

Two JAXes

While there was a vibrant German community in New Orleans, the Fabachers chose to name their beer after a New Orleans icon, Jackson Square. They shortened the brand name to JAX. The beer grew in popularity. This is significant, because New Orleans sported numerous local breweries at the beginning of the 20th Century. To expand the beer’s reach, the Fabachers opened s couple of restaurants. They served JAX in their establishments. PepsiCo used this business model, buying fast food chains like Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. They replaced Coca-Cola products in those stores with Pepsi. As Jax Brewery grew, the company ran afoul of the “other JAX beer.”

The Jacksonville Brewing Company of Jacksonville, Florida, also branded their beer, JAX. By 1935, the two brands collided. The companies established regional sales boundaries to settle the dispute. The Jacksonville Brewing Company closed shop in 1954. The New Orleans brewery acquired exclusive rights to JAX. So, the JAX Truck traveling through NOLA neighborhoods was always the local JAX.

Advertising truck

This JAX truck bears the words “Advertising Car” on the side. This told the town it carried no beer. The driver was likely a route salesman. This salesman drove from one bar to another, promoting his product. The advertising rep left printed material, such as posters, etc. The breweries either owned their own print shops or contracted with local shops. They made custom posters for just about anything. So long as the top of the printed material featured the beer’s logo, they’d print signs. The ad rep also carried branded glassware. He would gladly leave a case or two of glasses as he took that next order for keg delivery.

Twelve Months New Orleans August

Twelve Months New Orleans August, continuing the series by Enrique Alferez

twelve months new orleans august

Twelve Months New Orleans August

This image is the eighth in a series of images by Enrique Alferez, published by Michael Higgins as “The Twelve Months of New Orleans.” Higgins published the illustrations in 1940. The image features an outdoor procession, part of the celebration of the Catholic Feast of Corpus Christi.

Enrique Alferez

Alferez was born in Northern Mexico on May 4, 1901. He studied at the Art Institute of Chicago from 1927 to 1929. He came to New Orleans in 1929. Alferez made New Orleans his home. He took advantage of various Works Progress Administration grants in the late 1930s. Alferez created a number of sculptures in the metro area, particularly in New Orleans City Park. Additionally, he designed the large fountain in front of Shushan Airport (now New Orleans Lakefront Airport.

Alferez drew and painted, as well as sculpting. So, he included many New Orleans landmarks in the “Twelve Months” booklet.

Twelve Months

Twelve Months New Orleans January

The title/cover page of the booklet says:

Twelve Months
New Orleans

A set of 12 Romantic
Lithographic Prints
Displaying 60 local subjects
drawn direct on the plate
with pen, brush, and crayon
Enrique Alferez

Printed and published by Michael Higgins
at 303 North Peters St

August’s Lithograph

Seafood is the theme of August’s illustration.

The Corners

Top Left: Pompano! Pompano en Papillote, A fisherman in a boat hooks a pompano, a popular gulf fish. La Louisiane Restaurant served the fish, baked in a parchment bag with crabmeat, garlic, shallots, butter, salt and pepper. Here’s Emeril’s recipe for the dish.

Top Right: Shrimp! Shrimp were popular long before crawfish dominated our cuisine here in New Orleans. Prior to imported crawfish and farm-raised mudbugs, those crustaceans were very seasonal. Shrimp, on the other hand, were the go-to shellfish. With white shrimp and brown shrimp seasons running for a significant part of the calendar year, Gulf shrimp are wild-caught and plentiful. Alferez suggests Shrimp Arnaud as an interesting way to enjoy them.

Bottom Left: Oysters! Oyster fishing in the Gulf was a different industry in 1940 than now. Climate Change, frequent hurricanes, and oil spills weren’t issues in Alferez’s New Orleans. While these circumstances challenge modern oyster fishers, the classic dishes continue on. Alferez suggests Oysters Rockefeller from Antoine’s Restaurant. The dish was created in 1889 by Jules Alciatore. Jules was the son of the restaurant’s founder, Antoine Alciatore. The dish was so rich, Jules named it after one of the richest men in the world, John D. Rockefeller. You can still get dem erstas at Antoine’s!

Bottom Right: This corner features a blue crab from Lake Pontchartrain, with a section of crab net in the background. Crab a la Broussard, from Broussard’s Restaurant on Conti Street. Lake crabs also endure challenges from climate and high water conditions.

Blessing of the Fleet

The central drawing for August features a priest blessing a shrimp boat. The caption reads:

Blessing the Shrimp Fleet
New Orleans is famed for its Creole
cookery, good eating
and drinking

Three altar servers attend the priest. Two hold large candles. The third holds a aspersorium, the vessel holding the holy water. The priest dips his aspergillum in the aspersorium, then sprinkles the holy water over the boats as they pass by the dock. The fishing village turned out to wish their men well as they braved the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

See you for the ninth image in September..


Happy Baker

Happy Baker

Binder’s was “The Happy Baker with the Flashing Light” in the Marigny.

happy baker

Happy Baker

Ad for Binder’s Bakery in the Times-Picayune, 8-July-1966. At the time, the main Binder’s location was at the corner of Franklin and St. Claude Avenues, where the McDonald’s is now. The bakery also operated locations on Independence St., Desire St., and further up on Franklin Avenue, at N. Prieur Street. Joseph Binder started the bakery. His cousin, A. J. Binder, worked with him. A. J. “Butz” Binder, Jr. (St. Aloysius 1929), worked at the St. Claude location from when he was a child, into the 1970s. A.J. Senior opened the the bakery named for him at Frenchmen and N. Rampart Streets, in 1971. Father passed away in 1973, and son took over as general manager.

A.J. Binder, Jr. has a story similar to many we hear about Brother’s Boys who attended St. Aloysius, Cor Jesu, and Brother Martin. After graduating from St. Aloysius, Binder’s delivered loaves of French Bread daily to the school’s cafeteria on Esplanade and N. Rampart Streets. I don’t know if that continued into the Brother Martin years, but I certainly ate my share of roast beef po-boys on Binder’s bread during my years on Elysian Fields.

Flashing light

The Binder’s Bakery tag line, was, “The Happy Baker with the Flashing Light!” The bakery displayed that tagline at the stores, on the delivery trucks, and even on the sleeves for the French bread. The note in this ad caught my eye, something I didn’t think about until I read it:

Sorry … due to Hurricane Betsy, our FLASHING BEACON, indicating when HOT FRENCH BREAD was available, was destroyed. We have tried, with no success, to have the sign company replace it. We hope to have it back in operation very shortly.

So, Hurricane Betsy blew up the Mississippi River and struck New Orleans on 9-September-1965. This ad appeared on 8-July of the following year. The Happy Baker’s light was out for a good while by that point. I don’t know the story of the original flashing light on St. Claude and Franklin. My memories of Binders only go back to the store in the Marigny. That location had a sign, of course. A border of amber lights flashed when hot bread was available. I’m assuming that sign went up when A.J. Senior opened the location in 1971.

Serious here, folks, please share your Binder’s stories with me. Those loaves of French bread were an important part of BOSH culture!

Binder’s closing

The A. J. Binder’s bakery in the Marigny, after serving the neighborhood and delivering French Bread citywide for 47 years, closed in 2018.

Washington Hotel Milneburg

Washington Hotel Milneburg

The Washington Hotel in Milneburg attracted guests and groups from across New Orleans.

washington hotel

Washington Hotel

The hotel opened in 1832. Pontchartrain Railroad operations began two years earlier. The railroad connected Faubourg Marigny with Port Pontchartrain (Milneburg). The straight-line route followed what is now Elysian Fields Avenue. This photo, from the 1890s, is captioned:

Milneburg had many famous hotels and restaurants. One of the most famous is pictured above, the “Washington Hotel”. Their French restaurants won international fame.

So, ownership of the hotel came to the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. The L&N demolished the hotel in September, 1920.

Milneburg Resorts

Milneburg received its name from the area’s first owner, Alexander Milne. He built Port Pontchartrain, in Gentilly. MIlne’s facility enabled ships to come to New Orleans from the Gulf of Mexico. They traveled, via Lake Borgne and Lake Pontchartrain. The Pontchartrain RR made Milne’s facility a solid alternative to the river.

New Orleanians enjoy spending time on the lakefront. The area offers respite from the heat. Locals found this essential in the days prior to air conditioning. So, taking the train out to Milneburg became a weekend diversion. Over time, Port Pontchartrain diminished. The Pontchartrain Railroad carried more passengers than freight by the 1880s. The L&N, the last owners of the railroad, discontinued it in 1930.

The Hotel

While there were over a number of hotels out at Milneburg, the Washington Hotel stood at the top. For example,the Societa Italia di Mutua Benefienza, held an anniversary dinner at the hotel in June of 1890. According to the Daily Picayune,

About 100 members and their wives and families were seated at the dinner, and a feast of national dishes were disposed of. All passed off most pleasantly, and the anniversary proved to be most successfully observed.

Additionally, in June of 1894, the Third District Benevolent Association held a large picnic at the hotel and its acre of gardens. In the late 1890s, groups often hired jazz combos for entertainment.


Eagles Dining on the Texas and Pacific

Eagles Dining on the Texas and Pacific

Eagles dining on the Texas and Pacific was fun and enjoyable.

eagles dining

Eagles dining

The Texas and Pacific Railroad operated two “name trains.” The Texas Eagle operated from St. Louis, MO, to El Paso Texas. The Louisiana Eagle traveled from New Orleans to Forth Worth. The Missouri Pacific operated the “Colorado Eagle,” and equipment moved around between the three routes.

The Eagle trains consisted of streamliner equipment from the Budd Company. So, the T&P offered dining service on the Eagles in Budd-manufactured dining cars.

The Menu

eagles dining

This menu is undated, but likely from the late 1950s-early 1960s. The three Eagles operated at this time. Additionally, they shared dining cars. So, it was easy for the railroad to standardize menus across the system.

The cover (top) offers a grand illustration of an Eagle consist, in its signature blue/white/silver livery.

Table d’Hote

eagles dining

The fixed-price menu, left, offered a starter, entree, side dish, and dessert. The entree choices included fish, fried chicken, pot roast or pork chops. Since the Louisiana Eagle started in New Orleans, fresh fish was easy to come by.

The railroad’s starters are typical of the peroid. Again, because of New Orleans, fresh shrimp appeared on the menu. Sides reflect the meat-and-potatoes mindset of regular road warriors. The cooks tempted diners with desserts including fresh baked pie, ice cream, fruit, and Jello.

A La Carte

eagles dining

Eagles dining combined breakfast and lunch into the A La Carte menu. The menu offers eggs as omelets. That reduces confusion on style and quantity. You order the omelet, that’s that. Slept late? Omelet for lunch? No problem. The diner created a satisfying breakfast from the a la Carte menu.

Steak Night!

eagles dining

The Eagles offered Broiled Tenderloin Steak, “from the grill,” for $2.50. The dining cars turned that into the occasional full dinner service for a dollar more. While the Filet Mignon wasn’t part of the regular Eagles dining menu, all it took was to slip a flyer page inside. Now, your beef options expanded and upgraded from pot roast.

Ordering in the dining car

Dining and sleeping cars were operated almost exclusively by the Pullman Company for generations. While the Eagles ran Budd equipment in their streamline phase, the sleeping car porters and dining car staff were exclusively African-American men. To avoid confusion and arguments with staff, the white passengers were instructed to circle the items for their order on the dining car check. The waiters didn’t accept verbal orders beyond beverage refills.

Menu source

This menu comes to us from Mr. Chris Cruz, via the Facebook group, “Railroad Dining Car Cookery.”