Railroad Departures October 1913 to Mobile, New York, and Dallas.
Departures October 1913
Three ads in The Daily Picayune on October 21, 1913 entice New Orleanians to points East, North and West. The Louisville and Nashville (L&N) offers an excursion train to a conference in Mobile. Southern Railway promotes their daily service to New York City. Texas and Pacific wants New Orleans to go to the Dallas Fair. None of the trains were air-conditioned at this time. So, when the weather cooled in the Fall, New Orleans went on adventures.
$4.45 to Mobile
L&N Terminal, Canal Street, 1910
Those traveling to the “Account Southern Commercial Congress” in late October, 1913, could take an excursion train. L&N’s route out of New Orleans curves around Lake Pontchartrain, like US Highway 90. The trains crossed the river at the Rigolets Pass, then headed to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The railroad turned north at Mobile. L&N built their station at the end of Canal Street in 1902. So, it was still relatively new in 1913. Prior to the Canal Street station, L&N trains used the old Pontchartrain Railroad station at Elysian Fields and Chartres.
Short Route — Perfect Service
Traveling North? Southern Railway’s New York & New Orleans Limited offered service to Birmingham, Washington and New York. In 1925, Southern re-branded their NYC train the Crescent Limited. Other Southern trains traveled to Cincinnati. That route became the Queen and Crescent Limited in 1926. Southern’s trains operated from Press Street Station prior to 1908, and Terminal Station from 1908 until 1954.
“Greatest Annual Fair in All America”
For $18.35 round trip, New Orleans experienced a “liberal education” at the Dallas Fair. While boasting that the Fair was a “financial failure for years” might not sound like an appealing way to get folks up to Dallas, it served as a teaser. The Texas and Pacific Railroad served New Orleans and Central Louisiana, connecting the state with Dallas and points west.
All three railroads maintained ticket offices in the first-floor row of storefronts at the St. Charles Hotel, which stood in the 200 block of St. Charles Avenue.
Palace Streetcar on a test run on Esplanade Avenue, 1921.
New Orleans Railway and Light (NORwy&Lt) 605, running outbound on Esplanade Avenue, 8-October-1921. This photo is part of a set shot by Franck Studios for the Rail Department. The note references a civil court case number. NORwy&Lt purchased the “Palace” streetcars from the American Car Company in 1905. These streetcars ran at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. They impressed the NORwy&Lt’s Rail Department. They ran these cars on the Canal Street and Esplanade Avenue lines. The Palace cars also ran out to West End.
Palace Streetcar on Esplanade
While the Palace streetcars offered the most comfortable ride of any in New Orleans, operation on Esplanade Avenue was tricky. That street’s neutral ground was small. The branches of the old oak trees converged over the center. NORwy&Lt avoided cutting down the trees, but encountered close calls with branches. This run of car 605 documented the clearances along Esplanade Avenue.
The Canal and Esplanade lines operated in “belt service” at this time. One line ran continuously in one direction, the other line in the opposite direction.So, a round trip involved taking both lines. Since the streetcars didn’t have to terminate and change directions, their running time improved.
The car’s roll board shows West End, rather than the two lines running the belt. The Palace cars also ran out to West End. They traveled up Canal Street outbound, turned onto City Park, then turned up on West End Boulevard, heading out to the lake. For this run, 605’s last “revenue run” was on West End. The motorman didn’t bother changing the sign.
The man sitting at the back of the streetcar on this run is likely a Rail Department employee from Canal Station. He’s wearing civilian clothes. The other man in the photo is the conductor. He wears the standard uniform.
Two years after this run, NORwy&Lt re-organized into New Orleans Public Service, Incorporated (NOPSI). NOPSI was then acquired by EBASCO, a division of General Electric. NOPSI later became part of Middle South Utilities, which is now Entergy.
The Amtrak Crescent runs from New Orleans to New York City daily.
Amtrak Crescent, train #20 on the timetable, departing New Orleans on 6-October-2021. There are a couple of things about this particular run of note to train fans, so why not make a blog post about them! This train is pulled by two GE P42DC “Genesis” locomotives. Outside of the Northeast Corridor, the Genesis locos are the backbone of Amtrak operations. This train consists of the two locomotives, three coach cars, a cafe car, two sleepers, and a full baggage car. When the pandemic forced schedule changes, the Crescent cut back to 3-days-a-week service. Then it returned to daily service with two coaches. Now it’s back to daily with three. The Crescent departs New Orleans daily at 9am Central time.
New Orleans to New York
Viewliner coach on the Amtrak Crescent
The Crescent’s roots go back to 1891. In 1906, the route was named the New Orleans and New York Limited. By 1925, it was dubbed the Crescent Limited. Amtrak operates the Crescent in “local” service, so they dropped “Limited” from the name.
The train departs Union Passenger Terminal in New Orleans (Amtrak code NOL) at 9am Central. It reaches this point, the underpass at Canal Boulevard, about 9:26am. The Norfolk Southern “Back Belt” has no grade crossings in Orleans Parish. The Amtrak Crescent won’t stop until it reaches Slidell.
This full baggage car is atypical for the Crescent lately. The train usually runs a “Bag Dorm” car at the end. That car is half-baggage compartment, and half “roomettes.” The crew takes rest breaks in those compartments.
Dining and sleeping
Viewliner Cafe car
The Crescent operates Amtrak’s “Viewliner” equipment. While the other two trains running out of NOL use the two-level “Superliner” cars, the Crescent requires single-level equipment. The Superliners won’t fit in the tunnel going to Penn Station in NYC. So, passengers booking full bedrooms or roomette compartments ride in cars like the one above.
Viewliner sleeper car
Amtrak discontinued full diner cars on the Crescent in 2019. The train ran both a diner and Cafe cars like the one above. So, to cut back on expenses, the railroad only uses the Cafes
The Storyville debate continued past the District’s creation. .
In their edition of 9-October-1897, The Mascot re-printed a letter from “CITIZEN,” originally published in The New Orleans Item. The letter decries the establishment of the Storyville District, not so much because of the morality of brothels, but because of the behind-the-scene shenanigans taking place between property owners and the New Orleans City Council. The City Council created the District via an ordinance passed on 6-July-1897. They designated the area between Basin, Customhouse, N. Villere, and St. Louis Streets as a red-light district, where prostitution was legal.
Opposition to Storyville
Those who objected to the District did so on more than moral grounds. The neighborhood broke down into the up-scale “sporting palaces” along Basin Street, to the “cribs,” small houses going back into the District, towards N. Villere Street. The price of the evening’s activities reflected the location. So, whether the customer was punter with some money, or a working man looking for some action on a budget, the houses of Storyville met the needs. While those who objected to prostitution in any form howled, the notion of creating a red-light district appealed to many. In particular, property owners in the Vieux Carre and in Faubourg Treme on the east side of the Carondelet Canal liked the idea.
The letter writer, “CITIZEN,” decries the shifts in property values created by the ordinance:
The ordinance has not only done an unjustified injury to the property holders owning real estate, to the value of more than half a million dollars, in the former district occupied by the lewd and abandoned, but has really been a barefaced scheme to speculate to the detriment of a large portion of our population, for the benefit of a few, who are on the ground floor of city affairs, and has afforded several human vampires an opportunity for extorting for old dilapidated shanties fabulous rentals out of all proportion to the value of their properties.
Essentially, CITIZEN argues that houses in a red-light district lose value. At the same time others jacked up the rental prices. The description of “old dilapidated shanties” fits with many of the descriptions of “cribs” in the District.
The flowery prose of the letter writer, combined with the parallels of the issues surrounding short-term rentals of modern times make this a fascinating read.
Tivoli Circle connected the CBD with Union Station.
NOPSI 934, heading outbound on the St. Charles line, 1968. John LeBeau photo, via Aaron Handy, III. Here’s Aaron’s caption from Facebook:
Outbound Charley car 934 coming off Saint Charles Avenue to round the former Lee Circle, piggybacked by NOPSI GMC New Look 18, assigned to Freret. October 23, 1968. (John LeBeau collection.)
NOPSI 934 was one of the thirty-five 900-series arch roof cars to make the cut in 1964. It was one of the 1923-24 streetcars ordered by New Orleans Public Service, Inc. While New Orleans Railway and Light Company ordered arch roofs in 1915, things changed by 1923. The transit company in New Orleans re-organized as NOPSI. Mr. Perley A. Thomas took his arch roof design from Southern Car Company, opening his own business in High Point, NC. The NOPSI order was so big, Thomas had to sub-contract it to other manufacturers.
Tivoli to Lee to…?
As streetcar traffic from Uptown increased in the 1870s, the city converted the intersection of St. Charles Avenue and Delord Street (later Howard Avenue) into a traffic circle. The re-design made it easier for streetcars to curve off into the Central Business District or down to Union Station. The city named the roundabout “Tivoli Place,” after the famous Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Denmark. In 1884, the White League petitioned the city to construct a monument to the traitor Lee at the roundabout. The city authorized the construction of “Lee Place” in 1877. While the monument and the small park surrounding it was named for the rebel general, the roundabout remained “Place du Tivoli.” Over time, however, the names merged, and locals called it “Lee Circle.” The column at the center of Place du Tivoli remains, even though Alexander Doyle’s statue is in storage.
General Motors produced their “New Look” buses from 1958 to 1979. NOPSI purchased a number of these buses. While Flxible Company buses replaced the streetcars on the Canal Street line in 1964, New Look buses also traveled the city’s streets. In this photo, NOPSI 18, operating on the Freret line, follows NOPSI 934.
LMEA Marching Festival brings local bands together to perform.
LMEA Marching Festival
Each year, District 6 of the Louisiana Music Educators Association (LMEA) holds a “Marching Assessment” in the Fall. Crusader Band (along with other local bands) call it “Marching Festival.” At the end, when the scores are announced, the officers of the participating bands gather on the field to accept their awards. For the 2007 Festival, Crusader Band’s Drum Major and two Band Captains, along with the co-Captains of the Dominican Debs wait for wait for their scores. I don’t have names for these young men and women at this time. If you know them, let me know. (I sent the photo to my class of 2012 kiddo, who was Brass Captain in his senior year, but he’s in Palo Alto and not awake yet).
Football Season for Crusader Band
In the Fall, Crusader Band is a football band.Going back to the beginning, the band turned out to perform in the stands at games. While some band programs place football as a second priority, behind band competitions, the Crusader Band’s mission was to support the team. The school and the Athletic Department recognized this, and funded a good bit of the program’s expenses. So, as a five-year band dad, I remained silent when parents whose kids attended other schools fussed about money. They were going out of pocket for trips to competitions. I paid a $50 uniform cleaning fee.
The late Mr. Marty Hurley, long-time Band Director, had a solid strategy for preparing for Festival. The festival program called for performance of three tunes and a percussion performance. Hurley chose a theme, picked three tunes, then worked up the drum routine. One of the tunes always featured the auxiliary unit. Crusader Band partners with the “Debs” of Dominican High School.
The band wore the NJROTC service dress blues in those early years. When NJROTC became an elective course track, Crusader Band switched to a classic-style uniform. The style changed over the years. They wore this set of uniforms through my son’s senior year (2011-2012).