Canal Street 1958 is a view from the roof of the Jung Hotel.
Canal Street 1958
Franck Studios photo of Canal Street, looking inbound towards the river. The Franck Studios photographer stands on the rooftop of the Jung Hotel, at 1500 Canal. Krauss Department Store stands in the 1201 block to the left, with the Hotel New Orleans in the 1300 block on the right. The Saenger Theater is across Basin Street from Krauss, with the iconic buildings of the 901 block (Audubon Building, Kress, and Maison Blanche) in the background, left. The studio shot this photo in 1958 or 1959.
Krauss in the 1950s
This photo offers a great view of the expansion progress of Krauss. The original store, built by Leon Fellman in 1903, consists of the two-story section fronting Canal Street. Fellman acquired the property in 1899. He built that first 2-story section and leased it to the Krauss Brothers. The brothers acquired the property behind the building, along Basin Street. In 1911, they built a five-story expansion. You can see the line/seam after four windows on each floor. Leon Heymann (the “Krauss Brother-in-Law”) built the third portion of the store in 1921. Heymann continued expanding the store until it filled the block between Canal and Iberville Streets.
While HNOC dates this picture at “approximately 1955,” the streetcar tracks narrow it down for us. Note the two-track configuration in the Canal Street neutral ground. With streetcar operation limited to Canal and St. Charles, the city ripped up the two outside tracks on Canal. The lines using those tracks had been converted to buses by 1948. So, Canal operated on the two tracks running from Liberty Place to City Park Avenue. One block of the inbound outside track remained, between Carondelet Street and St. Charles Avenue. St. Charles streetcars turned for their outbound run on that track.
The city planted the palm trees in this photo as part of the 1957 “beautification project.” They also built planter boxes along the neutral ground. Unfortunately, those palm trees only lasted about three years, because of a couple of cold winters.
Looking down Canal in 1926 reveals many of the buildings still standing on the city’s main street.
Looking down Canal
Canal Street, looking towards the river from the 1000 block. Franck Studios shot this photo between 1926 and 1929. The old-style lampposts on Canal Street date the photo prior to 1930. The poor condition of the neutral ground also indicates this was shot before the 1930 beautification program. To the left, the building at the corner of Canal and Burgundy in the 1001 block flows into the Audubon, Kress, and Maison Blanche buildings in the 901 block. On the right, the buildings of the 1000, 900, and 800 blocks flow together. Back to the left, the Godchaux Building stands prominently in the 500 block, with its cupola and rooftop water tower. An electric sign advertising the Orpheum Theater, hangs across the Canal Street.
Arch roof streetcars 821 and 813, operate on the N. Claiborne and St. Charles lines. St. Charles ran in belt service with Tulane at this time. The neutral ground held five tracks at this point. This enabled streetcars to connect and switch as needed at Rampart Street. The area between Rampart and Basin streets served as a busy terminal area, as various lines converged, offering riders connections to the railroad stations.The Canal/Esplanade cars, along with the West End line, operated on the inside tracks. Lines coming inbound to Canal popped up for a block, traveled the outside tracks for a block, then turned for their outbound runs. NOPSI discontinued and demolished all of the remaining 800-series streetcars in 1964.
While HNOC suggests the date at 1926 to 1929, the presence of streetcars narrows it down a bit. Since motormen and conductors struck NOPSI from July to October, 1929, this photo likely dates before that time.
Behind the first set of streetcars stand a set of “Palace” cars. These larger streetcars from the American Car Company, operated in belt service on Canal and Esplanade. The Palace cars also ran out to West End, on that line.
L&N uptown tracks were where the railroad staged passenger trains.
L&N uptown tracks
Parlor car 395, Louisville and Nashville Railroad, on the L&N Uptown tracks near Gravier and S. Front Streets. The photo is part of the George F. Mungier Collection from the Louisiana State Museum. Photo is undated, but details in the photo place it in the mid-1890s. The Anheuser-Busch stables (left) and brewery (right) are visible, as is the Daniel Edwards Iron Works. The railroad staged passenger trains on the uptown side of Canal Street, then brought them into the station.
American railroads offered seating in parlor cars as an upgrade from coach class. While European railroads offered first- and second-class coach cars, American railroads resisted seating by class. Additionally, American railroads had to maintain “separate but equal” seating for African Americans. So, the railroads added “parlor” cars as an upgrade. These cars sat fewer passengers, and offered food and beverages in the car. The parlor car offered the passenger willing to pay extra an escape from the crowds in coach. On overnight trips, the parlor car enabled the passenger to split the difference between coach and a sleeper. While the sleeping car was the best option, the parlor car’s lower capacity and extra amenities made the trip better.
L&N Canal Street
The L&N railroad operated a station on Canal Street since the early 1890s. The railroad used terminal tracks on the uptown side of Canal Street to assemble passenger trains. They then pulled the train across Canal, up to the boarding platforms. From Canal Street, L&N trains traveled along the river to Elysian Fields Avenue. They turned north there, using the Pontchartrain Railroad tracks to head out of town to the East. L&N used the train bridge over the Rigolets Pass to cross the lake and move north-and-east. The well-known station appeared on Canal Street in 1902. So, this parlor car pulled up into the original station.
Daniel Edwards Iron Works
According to the “Standard History of New Orleans,” 1900, the Daniel Edwards Foundry opened in 1846. The business underwent ownership and management changes in the second half of the 19th Century.
Jesuit High School first opened on Baronne Street, next to the church.
Jesuit High School
Photo from the 1913 edition of The Picayune’s Guide to New Orleans, published by The New Orleans Picayune newspaper. The Church of the Immaculate Conception stands next to the College of the Immaculate Conception, in the 100 block of Baronne Street. The Society of Jesus, better known as the Jesuits, ran the parish and the college. Additionally, they ran a high school program in the same building. In 1926, the Jesuits moved the high school to a new building in Mid-City. Jesuit High School, New Orleans, occupies the lake side of the corner of S. Carrollton Avenue and Banks Street.
The Society of Jesus in New Orleans
While the Capuchins ran the original parish of St. Louis in the Vieux Carré, the Jesuits purchased a tract of land in Faubourg Ste. Marie, in 1727. They administered the parish in that neighborhood. The Anglo-Irish referred to the neighborhood as “The American Sector.” The order constructed the church seen in this photo in the 1840s. It opened in 1850. The school was founded in 1847, and began operation in 1849.
College and High School
The Jesuits taught both high school and college classes on Baronne Street in the 19th Century. In 1911, they moved the college further Uptown, on St. Charles Avenue. The order re-organized the college. It became Loyola University of the South, now Loyola University of New Orleans. They changed the name of the high school when the college left Baronne Street.
With neither college nor high school occupying the building at Baronne and Common, the order demolished the school building seen here. They leased the corner to developers. An 18-story office building replaced the school. Unfortunately, construction of the Pere Marquette Building severely damaged the foundation of the church. Driving piles for the building shook the block. The Jesuits dis-assembled the church. They dedicated a new church, built in the same architectural style of the original, in 1930.
The office building is now the Renaissance New Orleans Pere Marquette Hotel.
The 1929 transit strike in New Orleans snarled downtown traffic for over four months.
1929 Transit Strike
Photo of Canal Street, looking towards the river, July, 1929. The photographer stands at Canal and Rampart Streets, at the lake end of the 1000 block. The Audubon Building and Maison Blanche Department Store loom over the 901 block, on the left. A jitney bus, the light-colored vehicle in traffic on the right, offers what little service New Orleans Public Service, Incorporated (NOPSI) could offer, with all the streetcars locked up in their barns. The antenna tower above MB is the transmitter for WSMB Radio.
Empty neutral ground
Streetcars remained off the streets from July 1 to July 4th, 1929. NOPSI tried to run streetcars using strikebreakers on Saturday, July 5th, but picketers and their supporters wouldn’t allow the cars to exit the barns, after the first streetcar departed Canal Station. That streetcar rolled this route, down Canal Street, followed by a massive crowd. The strikers burned that streetcar when it reached the ferry terminal.
Maison Blanche 1929
The MB building was twenty-one years old at the time of the 1929 transit strike. This photographer captured two signs on the building. The store’s name runs vertically on the lake side of the building. The roof displays the store’s name and its tagline, “Greatest Store South” on the roof.
The MB building is about ten years old in this photo. Doctors, dentists, and other professionals occupied the office building. The transit strike created problems for those tenants. Without public transit, it was difficult to get to the doctor. While grandma would hop on the Desire line or the St. Charles-Tulane belt, no streetcars meant someone had to drive her to Maison Blanche. Look at that traffic on either side of the “Canal Street Zone.”
On the retail side, the lack of public transit put the hurt on the Canal Street stores. Marks Isaacs, D. H. Holmes, Maison Blanche, all the way up to Krauss Department Store. Again, look at that traffic. In that first week of July, 1929, the retailers were furious. That the strike continued for four months did permanent damage to NOPSI and public transit in New Orleans.
The L&A Railroad Station serviced the Kansas City Southern Railroad.
L&A Railroad Station
Leon Trice photo of the Louisiana and Arkansas (L&A) station, 705 S. Rampart Street. The station opened in 1923. It stood on the corner of S. Rampart and Girod Streets. The city consolidated passenger rail operations in 1954, at Union Passenger Terminal, on Loyola Avenue. The city retained ownership of the L&A railroad station. Since the building was still in good shape, it became a fire station, . The corner of S. Rampart and Girod is now a parking lot.
Kansas City Southern
From the dedication program for New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal, May 1, 1954:
The Kansas City Southern Lines, which connect New Orleans with Dallas, and with Kansas City, via Alexandria and Shreveport, were formed from the merger of three different railroads: the Kansas City Southern, the Louisiana Railway and Navigation Company, and the Louisiana & Arkansas. The LR&N between New Orleans and Shreveport was completed in 1907 by William Edenborn. And, in 1923, the LR&N acquired a line between Shreveport and Dallas. These two lines, which were merged by the late-Harvey Couch, were acquired by the Kansas City Southern in 1939-thus providing a thru route from New Orleans to Kansas City.
The city and the railroads did a great deal of analysis and planning for consolidating operations at a single station. The city commissioned a full survey of all grade crossings in Orleans Parish. The L&A railroad station’s operations involved two tracks coming into the station and connecting with the railroad’s yard, off Jefferson Davis Parkway (now Norman C. Francis Parkway):
The passenger service of the Louisiana & Arkansas-Kansas City Southern consists of two trains each way daily. One of these is the streamliner, “Southern Belle,” and the other is a conventional steam train. The “Southern Belle” is handled around the wye at Shrewsbury and is backed into the station [at Rampart and Girod]. It is then moved to Jefferson Davis Yard where it is cleaned and serviced.
It is backed into the station in the evening for departure. The other train heads into the station. All passenger equipment is cleaned and serviced at the Jefferson Davis Yard. The total number of cars each way daily on these two trains varies from 18 to 24. The train arriving in the morning and departing in the evening carries three cars of l. c. l. freight in addition to the regular passenger equipment. Mail and express cars are worked directly from trucks on the station tracks. Trains are handled from the station to Jefferson Davis Yard by a switch engine which also spots the head-end cars carrying l. c. l. freight.
The removal of the L&A railroad station, along with the L&A/KCS tracks, along with the closure of the New Canal, dramatically changed the neighborhood. So, the construction of the Superdome in the 1970s all but erased most of what remained.