by nolahistoryguy | Jan 21, 2020 | Civil War
Closing time severely restricted New Orleans businesses.
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.
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.
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.
by nolahistoryguy | Dec 30, 2019 | Carrollton, Civil War, NOPSI, Streetcars, Uptown
Streetcar Ticket for the St. Charles Line
New Orleans & Carrollton Railroad Company streetcar ticket, 1868. (public domain image)
Streetcar Ticket from 1868
Riders paid for their fare in the 1860s by purchasing a streetcar ticket. This was the style of the ticket for the New Orleans and Carrollton Railroad Company (NO&CRR) in 1868. While the NO&CRR continued operations through the Southern Rebellion, only one new company the New Orleans City RR Company (NOCRR) operated streetcars during the rebellion years. Streetcar expansion took off in 1866.
The company operated the St. Charles Avenue streetcar line, from 1835 to 1902. In addition to St. Charles, the company operated the Poydras-Magazine, Jackson, and Napoleon lines. The NO&CRR absorbed other operating companies throughout the 1870s to the end of the 19th Century.
Streetcar electrification in New Orleans began in the 1890s. The NO&CRR survived until 1902. The remaining operating companies merged into the New Orleans Railway Company at that time. That company re-organized into the New Orleans Railway and Light Company (NORwy&Lt) in 1905. That consolidated entity became New Orleans Public Service, Incorporated (NOPSI) in 1922.
Mule car operation
When the NO&CRR began operations in 1835, St. Charles used steam engines. The smoke and noise generated complaints up and down the line. So, the line was converted to mule-driven operation in the 1850s. The company followed the NOCRR in the 1860s, operating “bobtail” cars from the Johnson Car Company, up to electrification.
Streetcar protests 1862-1867
Streetcars in New Orleans were segregated until 1958. When Louisiana seceded from the union in 1861, many of the white men went off to war. Their jobs around town still had to be done. So, employers hired free men of color. The lines ran “star” cars, which permitted African-Americans to ride, but all other cars were whites-only. Black men experienced difficulty in getting to work. While employers complained to the transit companies, the operators weren’t very responsive. More “star” cars were needed.
The dynamics changed when the Union Army occupied New Orleans in May, 1862. African-Americans protested segregated operation from then until 1867. Hilary McLaughlin-Stonham details those protests in her article, Race and Protest in New Orleans: Streetcar Integration in the Nineteenth Century. It’s worth a read.
by nolahistoryguy | Jun 9, 2019 | Battle of New Orleans, Chalmette National Cemetery, Civil War, Podcasts
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Two short-form pieces this week on 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
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.
by nolahistoryguy | May 19, 2019 | Civil War, French Quarter, Podcasts
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More Southern Rebellion in NOLA History Guy 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
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.
by nolahistoryguy | May 5, 2019 | 1960s, Civil War, Podcasts, Streetcars
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Talking green streetcars and Benjamin Butler in 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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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by nolahistoryguy | Apr 27, 2019 | 1950s, 1960s, Civil War, Milneburg, Podcasts
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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.
“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
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