NOLA History Guy Podcast 8-June-2019 – Industrial Canal and USCT

NOLA History Guy Podcast 8-June-2019 – Industrial Canal and USCT

Two short-form pieces this week on NOLA History Guy Podcast 8-June-2019

NOLA History Guy Podcast 8-June-2019

Chalmette National Cemetery (NPS photo)

NOLA History Guy Podcast 8-June-2019

We hope you enjoyed our conversations with Derby Gisclair over the last two weeks. Back to short-form this week, with our pick from Today in New Orleans History and some thoughts on Chalmette National Cemetery.

The Industrial Canal

Our pick from NewOrleansPast dot com this week is 6-June-1918. That’s when construction of the Industrial Canal began.As a refresher, there were three connections that ran from the city to the lake over time:

  • The Carondelet Canal, 1795, which ran from just above the French Quarter, out to what is now Mid-City, and the start of Bayou St. John. This canal fixed the “Old Portage” problem.
  • The Pontchartrain Railroad, which ran from Port Milneburg to Faubourg Marigny. The railroad was a straight run, along what eventually became Elysian Fields Avenue. Heavier ships would come into Lake Pontchartrain from the Gulf of Mexico and would dock at the pier at Milneburg. The railroad carried goods and people from the pier to the station at the river.
  • The New Basin Canal. Completed in 1838, the New Canal connected the “American Sector” to the lake. The canal began at S. Rampart Street. It ran out to Lake Pontchartrain  at West End. A small portion of the canal remains at West End.

So, these three connected the city up to the start of the 20th Century. By 1910, though, the canals lacked the depth to service larger ships. In 1914, the state authorized the Port of New Orleans to build a new canal. The canal began in the Ninth Ward, just past Poland Avenue. It runs straight from there, out to the lake.

Chalmette National Cemetery

NOLA History Guy Podcast 8-June-2019

Unveiling of the USCT Memorial in Cape Girardeau MO

I saw an article about a monument to United States Colored Troops (USCT) in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. When I shared that article on NOLA History Guy’s Facebook page, I mentioned that we should have such a USCT monument, probably out at Chalmette National Cemetery. Thousands of USCT soldiers rest in that cemetery. I got some racist feedback on this, from folks who clearly were unaware of the cemetery’s origins. Here’s a quick run-down.

NOLA History Guy Podcast 18-May-2019 – French Market and The Beast

NOLA History Guy Podcast 18-May-2019 – French Market and The Beast

More Southern Rebellion in NOLA History Guy Podcast 18-May-2019

nolahistoryguy podcast 18-May-2019

Butler’s General Order 28, 15-May-1862, as printed in the Daily Picayune.

NOLA History Guy Podcast 18-May-2019

Two segments as we’ve been doing for NOLA History Guy Podcast 18-May-2019. We discuss the French Market and Mayor Cantrell’s ideas on re-vamping the market in the first segment, then back to 1862 for the second segment.

The French Market

NOLA History Guy Podcast 18-May-2019

New Orleans French Market (courtesy Wikimedia Commons user MusikAnimal)

NOLA.com allowed a story about Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s plans for re-vamping the French Market get away from them this weekend. The article is titled, Mayor Cantrell wants the French Market to be like Seattle’s Pike Place. So, T-P presents a clickbait headline. It’s guaranteed to rile up the locals. Offer a comparison of anything in New Orleans to anything in Seattle, and, well, thems fightin’ words!

Open-air, public markets have a rich history in New Orleans. The first of those was the French Market, along the river. As the city grew, Faubourg Treme and Faubourg Ste. Marie opened markets as well. So, by the 1920s, most neighborhoods had public markets. Air conditioning and commercial refrigeration created the shift from the open markets to grocery stores and supermarkets. Shopping styles shifted after World War II. Therefore, construction of supermarkets began when rationing and building restrictions ended.

Post-War French Market

While truck farmers continued to bring produce to the French Market, the butchers and fishmongers moved to supermarkets. The buildings in the French Market closer to Jackson Square grew quiet. By the late 1970s, Dutch Morial recognized the need to boost the Market area. Dutch renovated the buildings. So, Morial’s face-lift attracted artisans and food shops. Fast forward forty years, and it’s time for another renovation and re-vamp. Mayor Cantrell explores successful markets in Seattle and Philadelphia (Reading Market), to see what will work in New Orleans.

General Order 28

Major General Benjamin Butler issued General Order 28, the “Women’s Order,” on 15-May-1862. The Daily Picayune published the full text of the order (illustration above). So, the order enters the Lost Cause mythos after the war. At the time, Butler did what was necessary for an occupying commander. He pacified resistance and re-opened the port.

Today in New Orleans History

NOLA History Guy Podcast 4-May-2019 – Streetcars and Spoons

NOLA History Guy Podcast 4-May-2019 – Streetcars and Spoons

Talking green streetcars and Benjamin Butler in NOLA History Guy Podcast 4-May-2019.

NOLA History Guy Podcast 4-May-2019

NOPSI 865, rounding the turn from S. Carrollton Avenue to St. Charles Avenue in 1960

NOLA History Guy Podcast 4-May-2019

Two segments this week. We talk about our pick of the week from Today in New Orleans History. Then we “unpack” a photo from 1960.

May 1, 1862

NOLA History Guy Podcast 4-May-2019

top of the broadside printing of Butler’s proclamation of martial law and occupation, 1-May-1862

While the United States Navy compelled the surrender of New Orleans on 25-May-1862, it was the Army that did the heavy lifting from there. Major General Benjamin Butler, USA, issued a proclamation on 1-May-1862, announcing that New Orleans was under the control of the federal government. He also declared martial law.

The rebels lost the war on the night of 24-25 April, 1862. While many people died and much was destroyed before the formal armistice, it was all over when New Orleans returned to Union control. Farragut forced the rebels to retreat north of the city. Butler came over from Ship Island with his invading force and moved in. Once martial law was established, most of the occupying force moved North as well, in pursuit of the rebels.

“Spoons”

Butler was pretty much an awful person. He had a massive ego. To be fair, so did Farragut and Porter. All three commanders claimed credit for the victory in New Orleans. It’s hard to say who was the worst in this respect, but Butler received the most disparagement. The Lost Cause mythos plays out locally, portraying Butler as a venal man and petty thief. The “spoons” legend is an example. Butler and the USA had orderly procedures for occupying New Orleans. They confiscated gold and silver from residents. Butler didn’t pocket spoons, he sent his troops to loot entire houses!

Inauguration Day

May 1st is Inauguration Day in New Orleans. Two notable 1-May inaugurations were in 1978, when Ernest Nathan “Dutch” Morial officially became the city’s first African-American mayor. Last year, 2018, Latoya Cantrell became the city’s first woman mayor. It’s important to note that 1-May was set as inauguration day by the charter changes of 1954. As much as grumpy liberals who hate Mitch Landrieu want to slander him, he didn’t engineer a way to stay around through the city’s Tricentennial.

NOPSI 865, 1960

Our photo this week is of NOPSI 865, a vintage-1923 arch roof streetcar. This “Charley car” turns from S. Carrollton Avenue to St. Charles Avenue, on an inbound run. We unpack the photo in NOLA History Guy Podcast 4-May-2019.

The Times-Picayune/NOLA.com

I’m working on a long-form pod about Da Paper, now that it looks like John Georges is going to vaporize it. That will go up in 2-3 weeks. Working on preserving the memories of the “digital” years.

Support NOLA History Guy on Patreon! 

 

NOLA History Guy Podcast 27-April-2019 Southern Rebellion

NOLA History Guy Podcast 27-April-2019 Southern Rebellion

The best of “Today in New Orleans History” for this week, and unpacking a photo on this week’s NOLA History Guy Podcast 27-April-2019.

NOLA History Guy Podcast 27-April-2019

Two short segments today on NOLA History Guy Podcast 27-April-2019. Take a moment from your Festing and check them out.

Rebel Surrender, 25-April-1862.

NOLA History Guy Podcast 27-April-2019

“Panoramic View of New Orleans-Federal Fleet at Anchor in the River, ca. 1862.” – Illustration from Campfires and Battlefields by Rossiter, Johnson, et al. (New York, 1894)

Our pick from Today in New Orleans History’s entries this week is April 25th, the capture of New Orleans.

Flag-Officer David Farragut, United States Navy commanded the Union blockade squadron charged with invading New Orleans. In April, 1862, he took that squadron, into the Mississippi River, via Southwest Pass. A squadron of mortar vessels under the command of Captain Donald Porter followed Farragut. The invading force pounded Fort St. Jackson and Fort St. Phillip. These forts were the main defenses below the city. German and Irish soldiers in the rebel army mutinied on the night of April 24th. Farragut led his ships to that side of the river. Thirteen Union vessels passed the forts. The city woke up to Union guns aimed at the city. Farragut compelled the surrender of the city the following day. Major General Benjamin Butler arrived and occupied the city on May 1, 1862.

The loss of New Orleans demonstrated the abject incompetence of the rebel government. New Orleans was the largest port in the rebel states.

Unpacking a Photo – Pontchartrain Beach

NOLA History Guy Podcast 27-April-2019

Pontchartrain Beach by Jane Brewster

Another event in Campanella’s “Today in New Orleans History” this week was the inaugural run of the Zephyr coaster at Pontchartrain Beach. The Milneburg location of the amusement park opened in April, 1939. On 23-April-1939, the park’s premier attraction, the Zephyr, opened. The wooden roller coaster operated until the park closed in 1983.

Our image for this pod is a Jane Brewster print of the main entrance of Da Beach, in the 1950s. A GM “Old Looks” bus ends its run at the beach. The Beach is fifteen or twenty years old at this time. The Zephyr coaster is visible on the right. Riders entered the coaster via an Art Deco station. They boarded one of the two trains and rode up that first section. Jane shows  a train as it reaches the top. Riders would hold their hands over their heads, at least for that first downhill pass. The coaster took riders over several hills, then made a sweeping turn, returning to the station via a series of small bumps behind the large hills.

Independent Booksellers Day

New Orleans During the Civil War Facebook Group

Pontchartrain Beach Podcast from 2016

Last week’s podcast

Algiers 1865 – New Orleans, Opelousas and Great Western RR

Algiers 1865 – New Orleans, Opelousas and Great Western RR

Algiers 1865, The railroads were a lifeline for the Union.

Algiers 1865

Trains at the Algiers Terminal of the New Orleans, Opelousas and Great Western Railroad, in 1865. The NOO&GW served the Union forces after the capture of New Orleans in 1862.

The NOO&GW

algiers 1865

portion of J. H. Colton’s map of Louisiana, 1863.

The railroad was chartered in 1852. Track construction began in Algiers. Track reached Morgan City in 1857. Morgan City was the western terminus for the company. NOO&GW used “Texas gauge” of 5’6″ until 1872, when Morgan converted the tracks to standard gauge.

Because it originated on the west bank of the Mississippi River, the railroad didn’t need ferries or bridges going west. Businesses using NOO&GW ferried their goods across the river to Algiers, then loaded them on trains. This made for an easy route west.

When Louisiana seceded from the Union, rebel leaders knew a blockade of the Gulf Coast was eminent. The state considered NOO&GW important as a land connection to Texas. The Union Navy captured New Orleans in late April, 1862. The Union Army moved immediately, taking control of NOO&GW in May, 1862. While rebel troops managed to re-capture some of the tracks near Morgan City in May, the Union troops regained complete control by November, 1862. From there to the end of the war, the railroad serviced the Union.

Ownership

Benjamin Franklin Flanders founded NOO&GW. He sold the railroad to shipping magnate Charles Morgan in 1869. Morgan re-named the railroad, Morgan’s Louisiana and Texas Railroad and Steamship Company. He later sold the company to the Southern Pacific Railroad. The NOO&GW merged into the SP system, becoming part of its main line.

Algiers

Southern Pacific expanded the original NOO&GW terminal in the 1890s. SP operated a large yard in Algiers, until the Huey P. Long Bridge opened in the 1930s. The railroad moved their yard to Avondale then, taking advantage of the new bridge. Even now, many Algiers residents refer to the area between Atlantic and Thayer streets as the “SP Yard.”

 

 

 

 

Smokey Mary – The Pontchartrain Railroad in the 1860s #TrainThursday

Smokey Mary – The Pontchartrain Railroad in the 1860s #TrainThursday

Smokey Mary linked Faubourg Marigny to Milneburg for almost a century

Smokey Mary

The Smokey Mary at Milneburg, 1860s.

Smokey Mary

The Pontchartrain Railroad operated from 1831 to 1930. The trains ran out to the fishing village of Milneburg. A port facility developed along the lakefront at Milneburg. The railroad connected that port to the city. The Pontchartrain Railroad carried freight and passengers. After the Civil War, it ran mostly as a day-trip line. By the end of the 19th Century, it carried almost exclusively passengers.

The railroad purchased two steam engines in 1832. Those engines lasted for about twenty years. The railroad cannibalized one for parts to keep the other going. By the late 1850s, the railroad purchased the larger engine shown in the photo above. This engine operated to the end of the 1800s. The big smokestack inspired most of the stories and memories of the train.

The Smokey Mary ran simply from the Milneburg Pier to a station at Elysian Fields and the river. Eventually, the railroad added a stop at Gentilly Road, but it was only by request. The railroad terminated operations in 1930. The WPA paved Elysian Fields from river to lake in the late 1930s. Pontchartrain Beach opened in Milneburg in 1939.

Milneburg

The village of Milneburg was located at the end of what is now Elysian Fields Avenue. Shipping traffic came in from the Gulf of Mexico, through Lake Borgne, into Lake Pontchartrain. Ships docked at the Milneburg pier. Merchants offloaded their goods and put them on the Pontchartrain Railroad, to bring them down to the city.

Jazz on the Lakefront

By the 1910s, Milneburg’s residents lived mostly in fishing camps. Musicians rode the Smokey Mary out to Milneburg to play some of the small restaurants. They also walked the piers, playing for locals. They busked for tips. This kept them busy during the day. The musicians rode the train back to the city in the late afternoon. They then played gigs at dance halls and saloons in town.