Streetcar vs Train never ends well.
Story in The Daily Picayune, 11-May-1912
Streetcar vs Train
Brief news article about a streetcar vs train accident in The Daily Picayune, 11-May-1912.
Passenger train No. 339, of the Illinois Central, crashed into the Royal Blue car at Washington Avenue, at 9 o’clock last night and knocked it into splinters. The car was dragged about 125 feet and part of it was on the front of the engine. The latter was derailed.
Howard Heldenfelder, of 136 S. Olympia, employed at the Krauss Store, was the only passenger in the streetcar. He sustained injuries about the chest and was badly shaken up. Jules Mainbaum, the motorman, was thrown from the platform, into a canal. He was fished out by the conductor, Thomas Burke. The motorman was injured about the head. He and Heldenfelder were taken to the hospital, where their injuries were found not very serious.
Interesting unpack here! A quick online search didn’t immediately turn up the route of IC train 339. It was either coming or going to Union Station, on Rampart Street. This was the “old” station, built in 1892. The city demolished it to make way for Union Passenger Terminal, in 1954.
A “Royal Blue car” ran on the Napoleon Avenue line. New Orleans Railway and Light Company (NORwy&Lt) operated streetcars in the city in 1912. The Napoleon line got the nickname “Royal Blue” because the roll board (the rolling sign indicating the streetcar’s route) was enclosed in blue glass. Since the streetcar was smashed into splinters, it likely was an all-wood Brill double-truck.
The motorman ended up in the New Basin Canal. This part of the canal is now part of the Palmetto canal system, that feeds into the 17th Street Canal and its pumping station near Metairie Road. Good thing the conductor could fish him out!
And then there’s the passenger, Mr. Heldenfelder. he lived at 136 S. Olympia. That’s across the street from St. Dominic School (now Christian Brothers School). To get to work at Krauss, he likely took the Canal line from Mid-City down to Basin Street.
What a fascinating writing prompt!
T. Pittari’s Restaurant started uptown before moving to Broadmoor.
T. Pattari’s Restaurant
Pittari’s Restaurant was originally located on Magazine and Washington. Tom Pittari took over from his uncle, Anthony, and moved the place to the 4200 S. Claiborne in the 1940s. While it was best known for its exotic dishes, such as Maine lobster and wild game, Pittari’s solid Creole cooking attracted a regular clientele. Fitzmorris offers a detailed profile of the restaurant. I came away from his story thinking the place was more a clip joint than a neighborhood restaurant. The restaurant closed after the one-two punch of the big street flooding in 1978 and 1980.
French Quarter food in Broadmoor
Fitzmorris describes Tom Pittari’s marketing in detail. I like the part about giving cab drivers an extra tip when they enticed tourists out of the Vieux Carre out to S. Claiborne. The place was huge, taking up the entire 4200 block. The activity, on what was already a very busy street, stuck in the heads of passers-by. Pittari combined that neighborhood action with tourists and stayed busy.
What made Pittari’s Restaurant popular was their basic menu. Fitzmorris writes:
The Creole dishes were better still. The dish I remember most fondly was crab bisque, made with a medium roux, a good bit of claw crabmeat, and a crab boulette that the waiter would bring in a separate dish and plop into the soup right in front of you.
Tom Pittari no doubt saw the crowds waiting to eat barbecue shrimp at Pascal’s Manale (a near neighbor). He developed his own excellent version. They baked very fine oysters Rockefeller and Bienville, broiled fish and meats with interesting sauces, and fried seafood well. Really, Pittari’s was a respectable all-around Creole restaurant. But nobody seems to remember that.
Good Creole-French food attracted tourists to Pittari’s Restaurant. You can just hear a cab driver in the 1950s telling a tourist couple as they pulled away from the hotel, “I’ve got a great place for you, and you don’t need a reservation!” Add to that solid Creole-Italian dishes, and the locals walked or drove over.
The “exotic” food that attracted locals was live Maine Lobster. Pittari’s was the first restaurant in New Orleans to offer live lobster. The tank stood right in the dining room. The restaurant also cooked a stuffed lobster. The signature lobster dish was “Lobster Kadobster.” They broiled the lobster, serving it with a spicy sauce. Fitzmorris recalls that the dish was quite expensive. His other comments on the menu’s pricing are, well, not flattering.