Krauss 1938 shows the badge of the Eighth National Eucharistic Congress.
The Catholic Church in the United States held its Eighth National Eucharistic Congress in New Orleans. The Congress ran from 17-October to 20-October, 1938. Since Krauss Department Store stood next to the Southern Railway passenger terminal on Canal Street, the store put up the logo for the Congress. Yes, the Krauss brothers were Jewish. Yes, they turned the store over in 1920 to their Jewish brother-in-law, Leon Heymann. No, that didn’t matter, when all those Catholics got off trains, emerging into the Canal Street sunlight, next to their store.
The Catholic Church holds large events called Eucharistic Congresses. While synods and such are political/business events, a Eucharistic Congress is for the faithful. These events included meetings, seminars, lectures, and, naturally, Mass. The ultimate event for a Congress was usually a big, outdoor Mass for hundreds, even thousands of attendees.
Shopping and Trains
Krauss 1938 promoted the Eucharistic Congress that year. The Southern Railway ran a special train, from Washington, DC, to New Orleans, prior to the opening of the Congress. That special run transported Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, and others from the Northeast to New Orleans for the event. Other trains brought clergy and lay attendees to the city from across the country.
While trains converged upon all five passenger stations, Terminal Station at Canal and Basin Streets concerned Krauss 1938 the most. This passenger terminal serviced trains from Southern Railway and Gulf, Mobile, and Ohio. So, Catholics from all destinations in those systems ended their journey to the Congress on Canal Street. Right next to Krauss.
As attendees got off the trains, many naturally realized they forget this or that from home. A full-service department store right next to the station attracted these folks. Guests at nearby hotels like the Roosevelt walked over to Krauss for shopping and souveniers. That huge logo welcomed them with open arms.
Hot 5 Kid Ory gets less attention than the band leader, Louis Armstrong.
Hot 5 Kid Ory
It’s no surprise that articles about the Hot 5 focus around Pops, but Hot 5 Kid Ory influenced the Chicago jazz scene in the 1920s. This publicity photo for the band presents (l-r) Kid Ory, Louis Armstrong, Johnny Dodds, Lil Armstrong, and Johnny St. Cyr.
You can learn the full story of the Kid’s Chicago years in Johnny Mac’s book, Creole Trombone: Kid Ory and the Early Years of Jazz, and out at the 1811 Kid Ory House in Laplace, LA.
David Guion, in his 2015 article, Kid Ory, Trombonist, Businessman, sums up his time in Chicago:
In 1924, both King Oliver and Louis Armstrong asked him to join them in Chicago, promising good money from recording sessions. Over the next five years, he participated in landmark recordings with Armstrong’s Hot Five, Oliver’s Dixie Syncopators, Jelly Roll Morton’s Red Hot Peppers, the New Orleans Wanderers (basically the Hot Five with George Mitchell on cornet instead of Armstrong’s trumpet.)
In some ways, the Kid was a victim of his own success, as Sicilian interests looked to leverage Jim Crow laws to control Creole musicians. Like King Oliver and Pops, the Kid got fed up with the New Orleans scene. Instead of heading up to Chicago, Ory went West, to Los Angeles. Still, King Oliver and Pops kept in contact, encouraging him to come to Chicago. He did just that in 1924. The five years Ory spent in Chicago were magical for Traditional Jazz.
So, yes, any band led by Pops naturally focuses on his magic. Hot 5 Kid Ory deserves props as well. Guion points out Ory’s skill as a band leader and businessman. Any band that includes a musician who understands management benefits. Ory’s networking ability enabled him to score all those recording gigs.
Go out to the museum and learn more about early jazz!
Richards and Gillette were a married couple and jazz act.
Richards and Gillette
Bob Gillette and his wife, Shirley Richards, posing on the railroad tracks in Milneburg in 1952. Gillette played the banjo. He played with the New Orleans Rhythm Kings, then Bix Beiderbecke & the Wolverines. He was the first banjoist for The Wolverines.
After playing for years with Bix, he toured with his wife, as a song-and-dance act.
New Orleans Rhythm Kings
The NORK began with white Chicago jazz musicians encouraging New Orleans musicians to come up and gig. By 1922, NORK attracted Jelly Roll Morton and the cornetist Bix Beiderbecke. The band recorded with Gennett Records. As the band grew in popularity, they picked up Gillette.
Beiderbecke left the NORK to form The Wolverines, and Gillette went with him. Bix left The Wolverines in the mid-1930s. Soon after, Gillette switched to the act with his wife.
Richards and Gillette toured extensively, playing hotels. They played The Monteleone Hotel in 1952. He contacted the New Orleans Jazz Club while in town. They invited him to a meeting, and he ended up sitting in with Johnny Wiggs and his band.
I can’t find the backstory on this particular photo. By 1951, the Milneburg that Gillette played with the Sicilians was long gone. The train tracks here are the New Orleans Terminal Company (later Southern Railway, now Norfolk-Southern Railroad) “Back Belt.” These tracks lead out to the “five mile bridge” across Lake Pontchartrain. It looks like this is out along the lake, near the fishing camps off Hayne Boulevard.
While researching Gillette, I came across a 1961 article in the Daytona Beach Morning Journal. Discussing replacing Bix in The Wolverines.
But he does recall the difficulty in replacing Beiderbecke. And with due embarrassment that they brushed off an eager young trumpeter in derby and yellow shoes after a brief audition and sent him home to New Orleans. His name was Sharkey Banano (sic).
Funny how things work out.
Knights Templar train en route to New Orleans.
Knights Templar train
A special train, operated by the Texas and Pacific Railroad (T&P), arrives at New Orleans, 27-April-1924. The Knights Templar held their triennial convention in the city that year. The Texas and Pacific Railroad operated trains from New Orleans to Northwest Louisiana, Dallas, and Ft. Worth. Local railroad historians think it’s either T&P 323 or 353.
Texas and Pacific Railroad
The T&P operated from 1871 to 1976. With its headquarters in Marshall, Texas, T&P operated in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, ad Arkansas. While the railroad included “Pacific” in the name, T&P never made it to California. They connected to Southern Pacific track in 1881. So, T&P’s reach to San Diego came from that link. The Missouri Pacific Railroad (MP) acquired a majority stake in T&P in 1928. MP operated T&P independently until 1976. T&P merged with MP at that time. Union Pacific (UP) acquired MP in 1988. By 1994, UP repainted all MP equipment to their livery.
T&P in New Orleans
Beginning in 1916, the T&P operated passenger service in New Orleans from the Trans-Mississippi Passenger Terminal. The station stood on Annunciation Street, between Melpomene and Thalia Streets. Since T&P trains departed New Orleans for westbound destinations, they needed to cross the Mississippi River. So, the trains left the station, connecting with a ferry. The ferry brought the trains to Gretna, where they stopped initially at the Fourth Street station. From there, T&P traveled Northwest.
While the T&P was best-known for the “Eagle” trains of the 1950s and 1960s, the railroad connected New Orleans to North Texas for passenger and mail service for decades. To get to Dallas, New Orleanians took T&P. For Houston, they took Southern Pacific.
The Knights Templar
The Knights Templar held their 18th Convention in New Orleans in 1924. The event ran for weeks, in downtown New Orleans. The Knights Templar erected a massive arch over Canal Street, with Masonic symbols. The arch was large enough to allow streetcars to cross under it.
Entering Metairie Cemetery before the expressway, 1930s.
Entering Metairie Cemetery
Franck Studios photo of Metairie Cemetery, from the 1930s. The perspective is from the Metairie Road side. The original entrance to the cemetery stands just behind the photographer. The New Canal flowed past Metairie Cemetery at this time.
Charles T. Howard acquired the land for the cemetery in 1871. The cemetery opened in 1872. By the 1930s, the “racetrack” portion of the cemetery stood for sixty years. Tombs filled what was the infield of the old Metairie Race Course. The cemetery expanded to the lake side of the oval.
Metairie Road and the New Canal
Metairie Cemetery overlooked the New Canal for almost eighty years. While the Metairie Race Course predated the canal by a few years, the canal defined the neighborhood. So, visitors rode the Canal streetcar to the end of the line at City Park Avenue. They walked past Greenwood and Cypress Grove cemeteries to the canal. Entering Metairie Cemetery meant crossing the canal. They approached the corner entrance. The equestrian statue of Albert Sidney Johnston atop the Army of Tennessee (Louisiana Division) tumulus loomed over the entrance. If you paused just after walking past the tumulus, this was what you saw.
The Receiving Chapel
Magnificent tombs present themselves upon entering Metairie Cemetery. The structure to the right of that gorgeous palm tree is the Receiving Chapel. The Metairie Cemetery Association used it as a temporary mausoleum for decades. Say you purchased a plot in the cemetery and had your tomb designed. Before it was completed, a loved one passed away. The cemetery “received” their remains, interring them in the Receiving Chapel. When your tomb was complete, they transferred the casket. Another use for this mausoleum was the year-and-a-day rule. Tombs may be re-used, but only after a year and a day from the previous burial. So, say maw-maw passes, and paw-paw follows a couple of months later. The cemetery association made room in the Receiving Chapel, until paw-paw could join his beloved for eternity.
Use the old entrance
Rather than driving in from Pontchartrain Boulevard, try entering Metairie Cemetery via the original entrance. It’s a different experience from when the New Canal flowed, but worth it to experience a bit of the history.
Kenner shoemaker in his shop, 1938.
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Kenner Shoemaker 1938
“Shoemaker in his shop. Kenner, Louisiana,” by Russell Lee. Lee was a documentary photographer. He worked for the Farm Security Administration during the Great Depression. Lee traveled extensively, documenting life during the mid-late 1930s. He caught this shoemaker at work in Kenner in 1938.
UT Austin maintains a collection of Lee’s post-FSA work. This is their biographical note:
Documentary photographer Russell Lee was born in Illinois in 1903. Trained as a chemical engineer and a painter, he took his first photographs in 1935. He worked for the Farm Security Administration from 1936 to 1942 and remained active in the field of documentary photography until 1977. Lee, who enjoyed a reputation for technical excellence and sensitivity to his subjects, moved to Austin, Texas, in 1947. Although he often traveled as a free-lance photographer and on assignment for magazines, corporations, the federal government, and the University of Texas, Austin remained his home and Texas a major focus of his work until his death in 1986. From 1965 to 1973 he taught photography at the University of Texas.
The Farm Security Administration photos provide a deep-dive look into New Orleans, from shots like this, a rural slice of life, to war production at Higgins Industries.
Kenner in the 1930s
The City of Kenner, Louisiana, stands on land initially occupied by the Tchoupitoulas indigenous tribe. French initially named the area, Cannes-Brûlées. Phillip Minor Kenner established the Belle Grove Plantation, at what is now the area around Williams Boulevard and Jefferson Highway. Additionally, the Kenner family established two more plantations in the area. So, the city took the family name.
Kenner connected to New Orleans via the Orleans-Kenner Railroad. The OK-RR operated from 1915 to 1931. So, by the time of this photo in 1838, Jefferson Highway provided connectivity.
People of Kenner
Lee’s shoemaker is unidentified. After the Southern Rebellion, many of the Sicilians that immigrated to New Orleans moved out to Kenner. They established farms on the former plantation land. These were called “truck farms” because the farmers would load crops on pickup trucks and bring them to the public markets in New Orleans. Some used the OK-RR. They loaded the interurban cars with their crops. Family members picked them up at the Uptown New Orleans terminal.