NOLA History Guy Podcast 05-April-2020 D. H. Holmes, Streetcars

NOLA History Guy Podcast 05-April-2020 D. H. Holmes, Streetcars

NOLA History Guy Podcast 05-April-2020 presents the first of a four-part series on the Riverfront Streetcar line.

nola history guy podcast 05-April-2020

Rollboard sign on NORwy&Lt 208, showing it running on the Tchoupitoulas line, 1925

NOLA History Guy Podcast 05-April-2020

Two segments on NOLA History Guy Podcast 05-April-2020, our pick of the week from NewOrleansPast.com, and the start of a series on the Riverfront Streetcar line.

Today in New Orleans History

NOLA History Guy Podcast 05-April-2020

Ad in the Times Picayune, 28-March-1924

Our Pick of the week from the Facebook group, Today in New Orleans History, is Campanella’s entry for April 2nd. Daniel Henry Holmes opened his store on 2-April-1842. The first store was not the Canal Street location. He opened up at 22 Chartres, in the French Quarter. The store did well, and Holmes moved to the 800 block of Canal Street in 1849. D. H. Holmes is an icon, from “meet me under the clock” to the selection of merchandise, to the suburban stores.

There’s nothing more New Orleans than a discussion on social media about which store your momma liked better, Holmeses or Maison Blanche! We thought about adding a discussion or quote section in NOLA History Guy Podcast 05-April-2020, but it can get ugly.

The 2-April entry at New Orleans Past shows two ads from the Times-Picayune. The first is from 28-March-1924. It includes a pictorial history of D. H. Holmes around the border. Very nice!

NOLA History Guy Podcast 05-April-2020

Da Clock! Ad in the Times-Picayune, 2-April-1938

The second ad is from 2-April-1938. To celebrate the store’s birthday, D. H. Holmes ordered a 400-pound birthday cake, featuring, naturally, the clock!

Riverfront Streetcar History

nola history guy podcast 05-April-2020

NORwy&Lt 208, Ford, Bacon & Davis car, on the Tchoupitoulas line in 1925 (Franck Studios/HNOC)

We present a four-part series on the Riverfront Streetcar Line. The line rolled for the first time in 1899. The series:

I. Background – streetcars running along the New Orleans Riverfront
II. The Riverfront line, 1988-1997
III. The updated line, 1997-present
IV. NORTA 461 – History of a Riverfront streetcar

Today: Part I – background leading up to 1988

streetcar at the french market

Johnson Bobtail streetcar passing the French Market, ca 1880

Prior to the Riverfront line, streetcars didn’t operate close to the riverfront. That’s because the wharves and railroad tracks occupied the space. The closest streetcars were on the streets servicing the Riverfront, like Tchoupitoulas, Laurel, and Annunciation Streets uptown, and N. Front and Decatur Streets to the French Market on the downtown side.

Zoom Talk 2020-03-19 – Golden Age of Canal Street

Zoom Talk 2020-03-19 – Golden Age of Canal Street

Zoom Talk 2020-03-19

Zoom Talk 2020-03-19

https://www.dropbox.com/s/e0mrfn3mftjm4dz/zoom_0.mp4?dl=0

I’ve presented this talk to several groups in the last year or so. With everyone holed up because of Covid-19, I did the talk yesterday (19-March) via Zoom. It’s a bit long, because I was sorting out the use of Zoom, so you’ll need to fast-forward through the first 20 minutes of the talk to get to its actual beginning.

Also, TIL: it’s too long for YouTube. I’ll edit out that first portion and get it up there over the weekend. If you’d like to view it now, the link will let you download the MP4 version.

Enjoy!

 

Southern Rebellion Irish – NOLA History Guy Podcast

Southern Rebellion Irish – NOLA History Guy Podcast

Southern Rebellion Irish – talking about the Irish socially in Antebellum New Orleans

Southern Rebellion Irish

Stained glass window in St. Alphonsus Church, the “Irish church” in the Irish Channel neighborhood of New Orleans

Southern Rebellion Irish

While a number of Irish families in New Orleans rose to the upper levels of society by the Southern Rebellion, those in the city who wanted to maintain an economy based on enslaved African labor did not accept newer Irish immigrants as equals. They didn’t mind the Irish taking jobs they didn’t want to do, in the army, doing labor such as working to build the New Canal, and working on the riverfront. By 1860, the Know-Nothings (yes, that was a real party and political movement) pushed immigrants away to the point where the Irish felt strong Unionist sentiments.

Southern Rebellion Irish

The Rogue’s March by Peter F. Stevens

The Irish immigrants felt the resentment of the WASPs in the United States antebellum most in the Army. WASP officers commanding units during the Mexican War treated immigrants horribly. This led to a large desertion. Hundreds of Irish soldiers crossing the Rio Grande river joining the Mexican Army. The book, The Rogue’s March: John Riley and the St. Patrick’s Battalion, 1846-48, details the history of the “St. Patrick’s Battalion” of the Mexican Army in 1847-48. While life in the Army improved overall by the Southern Rebellion, the rebels still treated the Irish on their side poorly.

Not just the Irish

As the Irish community in New Orleans grew from downtown, along the riverfront to further uptown, German immigrants settled in the same area. What we call the “Irish Channel” was home to a large German community. These Germans were mostly Rheinlanders and Bavarians, who were Catholic, like the Irish. They formed the core of the “Redemptorist” parish, worshipping at St. Mary’s Assumption Church on Constance and Josephine Streets. So, by the time of the Southern Rebellion, both the Irish and German communities were more supportive of the Union than the Confederacy.

Defending the City

southern rebellion irish

Mutiny at Fort Jackson by Michael D. Pierson

So, these immigrants lost their jobs with the closure of the Port of New Orleans in 1861. To provide their families, they joined the rebel army. While many were sent off to fight in Tennessee and Virginia, others stayed behind, to defend Forts Jackson and St. Phillip, down the river from the city. At the time of Farragut’s capture of New Orleans in April, 1862, Fort Jackson’s defenders included three battalions: one Irish, one German, and one made up largely of men from the white planter class. It should come as no surprise that two of those three units mutinied and walked out of the fort, making it easier for Farragut to come up the river and Butler to bring his occupying army behind the ships. For more reading on this, check out Mutiny at Fort Jackson: The Untold Story of the Fall of New Orleans, by Michael D. Pierson.

Reading on the Irish.

southern rebellion irish

The Irish in New Orleans by Laura D. Kelly.

If this topic interests you, you definitely want to get Dr. Laura Kelly’s book, The Irish In New Orleans.

Closing Time during the Southern Rebellion 1864

Closing Time during the Southern Rebellion 1864

Closing time severely restricted New Orleans businesses.

closing time

Petition to extend the opening hours of businesses in New Orleans during the Union occupation. (Tulane University Library)

Closing Time 1864

Last week, during the CFP National Championship game, some guy on Da Twittah complained that the game was too long. He said folks at the game wouldn’t get out until after closing time in New Orleans.

The Twitterati of New Orleans, bless their hearts, dragged the guy mercilessily. After all, “closing time” is pretty much a foreign concept here. The tweeter lacked understanding of how things work in New Orleans.

9 O’clock!

We-never-close was not always business as usual in New Orleans. Establishments closed at midnight, prior to the Southern Rebellion. The Union Army restricted many public places, ordering them to close at 9pm.

Nine o’clock in New Orleans! The horror! The rebellion came to an abrupt halt, when the Union Army occupied the city in May, 1862. New Orleans chafed under occupation in many ways. Still, life in the city improved significantly when the port re-opened. Two years into the occupation, restauranteurs and hoteliers desired a later closing time. They wrote to the Acting Mayor, Army Captain Stephen Holt, with their request.

Petition to Acting Mayor Holt

New Orleans July 14, 1864

To Capt S. Holt, Acting Mayor

We, the undersigned Subscribers, Citizens and Proprietors of Hotels, Restaurants, and drinking houses, most respectfully ask your honor to remove the order requiring us to close our business places at 9 o’clock.

We ask to have the time of closing extended, as usual until 12 o’clock.

Places of Amusement not closing until after 11 o’clock, we think in justice to us we should have the old time custom.

(14 signatories)

New Orleans Entertainment

The list contains an interesting cross-section of New Orleans businesses. It’s not just drinking houses. The number of hotels indicates that the port brought in visitors to the city, in spite of the conflict.

It’s unclear if the acting mayor agreed to the extension.

If you’d like to learn/share more about New Orleans in the 1860s, check out our Facebook page on the subject.

 

 

Royal Street Photo Breakdown – NOLA History Guy Podcast

Royal Street Photo Breakdown – NOLA History Guy Podcast

Royal Street Photo Breakdown on this week’s podcast!

Royal Street Photo Breakdown

100-200 Blocks of Royal Street, 1916.

Royal Street Photo Breakdown

Derby Gisclair shared a neat photo from 1916 earlier this week on social media. The photographer stands in the middle of the 100 block of Royal Street, looking down into the 200 block. As I was looking through some other photos, I came across a 1956 photo of Royal, where that photographer stood almost in the same place. Time for a Royal Street Photo Breakdown!

At the top of the page is the 1916 photo, with Solari’s on the left, an electric sign for Fabacher’s Restaurant hanging over the street, then the Commercial Hotel and Union Bank on the right.

Royal Street Photo Breakdown

Franck-Bertacci Studios photo of the 100-200 blocks of Royal Street, 1956.

Fast forward to 1956. Solari’s is still on the left. The Commercial Hotel is now the Monteleone Hotel. Fabacher’s Restaurant, which was the hotel restaurant for the Commercial, is long closed. Walgreen’s drug store replaced the bank building in the late 1940s. That drug store remains today.

Streetcar changes

In the 1916 photo, streetcar tracks and the overhead wiring are visible. The Desire streetcar line ran inbound on Royal Street. The streetcars turned right onto Canal Street. They ran up one block, then turned right again. They ran down Bourbon Street for the French Quarter portion of the outbound run. We’ve talked about the Desire line before, and how it was the main connector for the Quarter.

Buses replaced streetcars on Desire in 1948. So, by the 1956 photo, the tracks and wires are long gone. The maroon-and-cream NOPSI buses serviced Desire.

NewOrleansPast.com – January 15th

Royal Street Photo Breakdown

NOPSI 817, operating in Belt Service in the 1940s.

Our pick of the week from NewOrleansPast.com (Facebook page, Today in New Orleans History) is Ms. Campanella’s entry for January 15th. The Tulane streetcar line rolled for the first time on 15-January-1871. Mules pulled the streetcars then. The line switched to electric streetcars in the 1890s. Tulane operated in “belt service” with the St. Charles line from 1900 to 1951. Listen to our podcast episode on “Riding the Belt” for more details on that.

NOPSI converted the West End streetcar line to diesel buses on 15-January, 1950, as part of the trend away from electric street rail operations. West End operated as steam train service until the 1890s. After that, electric streetcars ran out to the lakefront, along the east bank of the New Basin Canal. NOPSI retired streetcars on West End in 1950. The line ran until the 1960s, when it became the Canal-Lakeshore line.

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