Riverfront Arch Roofs roll from Canal to Esplanade

Riverfront Arch Roofs roll from Canal to Esplanade

Riverfront Arch Roofs – 1923-vintage streetcars operating off St. Charles Avenue

riverfront arch roofs

NORTA 459 on Riverfront, 2010 (Youtupedia photo)

Riverfront Arch Roofs

The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority opened the Riverfront line in 1988. they used two of the 1923 arch roof streetcars and two Melbourne W-2 streetcars. The arch roofs left New Orleans in 1964, when NOPSI discontinued the Canal line.

1997 upgrades

Riverfront arch roofs

NORTA 452, ex-Melbourne 626, on Riverfront in 1988 (Infrogmation photo)

The original line operated on a single track. NORTA upgraded the line in 1997 to double-track, wide-gauge operation. Because of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the “new” Riverfront line needed accessible streetcars. NORTA retired the 1923 streetcars and the Melbournes. They built the 400-series arch roofs. The 400s are similar to the 900-series, but with wheelchair lifts and modern propulsion.

Katrina

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the 1923 arch roofs ran on Riverfront and Canal. The red streetcars received devastating flood damage, but the track and overhead wiring came through the storm. Uptown, the green streetcars survived the storm, buttoned up at Carrollton Station. The wiring on St. Charles received extensive damage. So, NORTA operated the 900s on Riverfront and Canal.

The “Green” Streetcars

The arch roof style streetcar came to New Orleans in 1915. Perley A. Thomas created the design while working for the Southern Car Company. New Orleans Railway and Light ordered several, putting them into service on the St. Charles/Tulane belts. When NORwy&Lt re-organized as NOPSI, the new company ordered more arch roofs. By this time, Thomas operated his own streetcar company in High Point, North Carolina. He accepted the order, building the 800- and 900-series arch roofs for New Orleans.

Riverfront

riverfront arch roofs

NORTA 461 (ex-NOPSI 922) along the Riverfront line. Infrogmation Photo.

City leaders and NORTA knew the importance of showing the world that New Orleans didn’t die. The green streetcars running along Canal Street and in the French Quarter helped demonstrate that. The 400-series and 2000-series “red ladies” returned from their repairs. The St. Charles line’s power was repaired and upgraded. The green streetcars returned to their regular routes.

Pathways reveal the reasons for #FadingSigns in New Orleans

Pathways reveal the reasons for #FadingSigns in New Orleans

Pathways lead the way to fading signs.

pathways

Uneed a Biscuit wall sign on Dumaine, just off Bourbon. (Audrey Julienne photo)

Pathways

We all follow paths and pathways in our lives. Some of us step off the well-trodden paths, forging ahead, making new ones. Most of us, however, follow regular paths. So, we leave home and go to work. At lunchtime, we duck out of work. After grabbing a bite to eat, we reverse directions and finish the work day. Our daily rituals follow regular paths.

Working on the book introduction

I’ve looked at a couple of books in The History Press “fading sign” series. While the introductions are well-written, they didn’t offer me a template. I don’t care for writing in the first person. The history isn’t about me. Because New Orleans isn’t like any other city in the nation, this book needs an introduction just as special. So, I considered some of the locations of fading signs. The signs on shops and other businesses mark their locations on our paths. The ads distract us while we travel on the path.

Uneeda!

The “Uneed a Biscuit” ad on Dumaine Street, just off of Bourbon Street, puzzled. me. So, a friend (and denizen of Cafe Lafitte in Exile) pointed out that the ad hits home with patrons of that pub. When standing on the balcony, you look up and see it saying what Uneeda. Thing is, that didn’t start happening until almost seventy years after the ad appeared on the side of that house, half a block down on Dumaine.

So, who looked at the ad?

Streetcar Riders

Streetcars rolled down Bourbon and down Dumaine. The Desire line (yes, of Tennessee Williams fame) traveled outbound on Bourbon. That means riders looked out at the Uneeda sign as they rode home from jobs in the Central Business District (CBD). Riders heading inbound (towards the river) on the City Park line looked up and saw the ad. They rode that streetcar, possibly from as far out as its terminus at City Park Avenue and Dumaine Street.

Look up!

My friend Grey always uses #lookup to tag photos taken on her early-morning walks. Looking up challenges a walker. It’s easy for a rider, though. Paths into town. Paths back home. I’ve got my intro.

City Park Line – Trackless Trolleys #Backatown #StreetcarMonday

City Park Line – Trackless Trolleys #Backatown #StreetcarMonday

City Park Line connected Mid-City and the French Quarter

City Park Line

Trackless Trolley on the City Park Line, 1964s (courtesy NOPL)

City Park Line

The Orleans Railroad Company opened the City Park line on July 1, 1898. It connected the French Quarter with Mid-City, mostly via Dumaine Street. Orleans RR merged into New Orleans Railway and Light in 1910, along with the other streetcar companies. NORwy&Lt combined the French Market line with City Park (both ex-Orleans RR). The rollboards said “French Market-City Park” in 1921. While the route didn’t change, the line’s name returned to just City Park at that time.

The Route

The original route, 1898:

Outbound

  • Start at Canal Street and Exchange Place
  • Up Canal to Dauphine Street
  • Turn on Dauphine to Dumaine
  • Left on Dumaine, then up Dumaine to City Park Avenue

Inbound

  • Down Dumaine to N. Rendon
  • N. Rendon to Ursulines
  • Ursulines to Burgundy
  • Turn onto Canal at Burgundy
  • Terminate at Canal and Exchange

In 1910, the route expanded. Instead of turning on Burgundy, City Park continued down Ursulines to Decatur. So, it then continued to Canal, via Decatur and N. Peters. In 1932, NOPSI re-routed City Park, turning the line on Royal to terminate on Canal. This route remained until the line was discontinued in the 1970s.

Streetcars on City Park

Orleans Railroad ran Ford, Bacon, and Davis (FB&D) single-trucks on City Park. Their cars bore a red-and-cream livery. NORwy&Lt replaced the single-trucks with double-truck “Palace” cars in the mid-1910s. NOPSI later replaced the Palaces with 800/900s.

The red livery used by Orleans RR and New Orleans City Railroad are the heritage behind the “red ladies” of the modern Riverfront and Canal Street lines.

Buses and Trackless Trolleys

NOPSI discontinued streetcar operation on City Park in 1941. They switched to buses. City Park was one of the last lines switched before WWII. The War Department turned down other conversions. Buses required gasoline and rubber. Both of those were needed for the war effort.

In 1949, NOPSI replaced buses on City Park with trackless trolleys. They never removed the overhead wires on the route. Trackless Trolleys ran on City Park until 1964. So, buses returned to the line then. NOPSI discontinued the City Park line completely in the 1970s.

Downtown Backatown

The City Park line serviced the “Downtown Backatown” neighborhoods. Like the Desire line, the name indicated the termination point. The streetcars ran on Dumaine Street, through Treme, into Mid-City. Since the line went to Canal Street, City Park carried commuters into work. The line serviced the Quarter as well, particularly Burgundy Street. Armstrong Park blocked the Dumaine portion of the route. I remember seeing the City Park buses at the route’s terminating point as I rode past Dumaine Street on the Esplanade line.

The Photo

When Aaron Handy III shared this photo in a Facebook group, the City Park rollboard brought back memories of riding home from Brother Martin in the 1970s. While I never rode the line, I was fascinated that there were streetcars going all the way out to the park, in-between Canal Street and Esplanade. This photo looks to be part of the Dorothy Violet Gulledge collection at the New Orleans Public Libaray.

 

 

CONTEST – Help me find “Fading Ads” in New Orleans and the suburbs

CONTEST – Help me find “Fading Ads” in New Orleans and the suburbs

CONTEST time! Help us find “fading ads”

A. Shwartz ad, 800 block of Canal Street (Infrogmation photo)

Contest time!

I’ve submitted the proposal for Fading Ads of New Orleans to The History Press! It’s looking good that they’ll accept the proposal and the book will move forward. That means I need fading ads! You guys are always wonderful about helping out with ideas and old photos. It’s time to reward that help.

Da Rules

Here’s how this is going to work. You submit a photo or a location to one of these places:

Comment on this post, or on the links in the following Facebook spots:

  • NOLA History Guy
  • Ain’t There No More New Orleans
  • New Orleans – Still There More
  • Edward Branley’s Personal Page

And you’ll be entered.

Details

  • Only two entries per individual per week.
  • You can submit a photo or location suggestion only once.
  • It’s OK if you suggest something someone else suggests. A lot of us don’t read the comments.
  • I’ll judge your submission/suggestion as to whether it works for the book. If it does, you’re entered. If it doesn’t, you can suggest something else. My decisions are final.
  • One winner per week. Weeks run Tuesday to Monday. The first week starts today, the last week ends on Christmas Eve.
  • The weekly winner will be announced on the Tuesday after that contest closes.

Prizes

I have four $20 gift cards for Wakin Bakin. So, you can choose between those or a copy of one of my books. While WB is tasty, it’ll be just the books when the gift cards run out.

Let’s Have fun!

I really do appreciate all y’all. You offer good conversation, lots of great research help, and you’re fun folks. I know you’d support this effort without an incentive, which is all the more reason to offer it. I’m looking forward to the discussions.

And we’re off!

 

New Orleans L&N Railroad Station on Canal Street – #Train Thursday

New Orleans History L&N Railroad Station Canal Street – #Train Thursday

New Orleans History L&N Railroad Station Canal Street

Postcard of L&N Station, ca. 1910

New Orleans History L&N Railroad Station Canal Street

New Orleans History L&N Railroad Station Canal Street

1901 Route map for the Louisville and Nashville Railroad.

The Louisville and Nashville Railroad operated for 132 years, from 1850 to 1982. The L&N began in Kentucky. The Class I railroad expanded to over 6000 miles of track. L&N freight operations came to New Orleans in the 1880s. In 1902, L&N opened a passenger terminal in New Orleans. The terminal stood at Canal Street at the river. The Aquarium of the Americas occupies the location today.

L&N Station

New Orleans History L&N Railroad Station Canal Street

Aerial view of Canal and the river, 1950s, showing the L&N train sheds in brown.

In a 1927 report titled, Railroad Transportation Report for New Orleans-Louisiana, the consulting firm, Bartholomew and Associates listed specifications of the station:

  • One-story
  • Brick building
  • General waiting room, 30’x45′
  • Colored waiting room 25’x35′
  • Two mens and one ladies rest room
  • Lunch room (15’x20′) in the general waiting room
  • Baggage room 30’x60′
  • Train sheds for three tracks that were 550′ long

Navigating Canal and the River

Lucie Allison, preparing to board a L&N train to Asheville, NC, in 1943 (Alexander Allison photo, courtesy NOPL)

Canal and the River was incredibly congested at this time. The L&N, Southern Pacific, and New Orleans Public Belt all had tracks at Canal Street. Streetcars operated to the loop at Liberty Place. They parked in a six-track terminal just up from the railroad terminal. In the above photo, Lucie Allison stands at Liberty Place. Note the streetcar tracks circling her. Her father, Alexander Allison, shot thousands of photos around New Orleans. He worked for the New Orleans Sewage and Water Board. His job took him all over the city.

L&N Trains to New Orleans

New Orleans History L&N Railroad Station Canal Street

L&N dining car, 1920s

The railroad operated four “name” trains to New Orleans:

Azalean – Cincinnati to New Orleans. The Azalean picked up Pullman sleepers from New York in Cincinnati. So, the route offered through sleeper service from that city.

Crescent – While many folks associate the Crescent with Southern Railroad, it actually arrived and departed in New Orleans via L&N. The Crescent traveled over tracks from several railroads in its journey from New Orleans to New York City. The train used L&N’s tracks from Montgomery, AL, to New Orleans. Therefore, it terminated at the L&N station, rather than the Southern terminal. That station stood at Canal and Basin Streets.

New Orleans History L&N Railroad Station Canal Street

L&N advertising poster

Gulf Wind – New Orleans to Jacksonville. The L&N operated the New Orleans – Florida Limited on this route, 1925-1949. So, that train used the older, heavyweight cars. The railroad replaced the older equipment with streamliner trainsets and changed its name.

Piedmont Limited – This train followed the same route as the Crescent. The Crescent train overshadowed the Piedmont Limited in popularity.

Transfer to UPT

The L&N station serviced passengers until the opening of Union Passenger Terminal in 1954. The city demolished the station shortly afterward.

 

 

 

 

NORTA 933 on the Riverfront Line? #StreetcarSaturday

NORTA 933 on the Riverfront Line? #StreetcarSaturday

NORTA 933 on Riverfront?

NORTA 933

900-series NORTA 933 on the Riverfront line, 20-Jan-2008 (courtesy Commons user KimonBerlin)

NORTA 933 on Riverfront?

I don’t remember seeing this photo before. After Hurricane Katrina, it took some time to get both the St. Charles and Canal lines back to fully operational status. The green arch roofs were, for the most part OK, but the red, 2000-series cars flooded.

Getting the streetcars running

The overhead wiring on St. Charles was a mess, but it was for the most part fine on Canal. The rail department borrowed a voltage rectifier from MBTA in Boston, connected it to Entergy power, and was able to deliver power to the Canal line in December, 2005. After a few test runs, it was decided to run the 1923-vintage cars on Canal while the Von Dullens were repaired/rebuilt.

Historic Landmark concerns.

The designation of the St. Charles line and its 35 900-series streetcars as a National Historic Landmark is very important for NORTA and the city. The decision to operate the green streetcars on “revenue runs” off St. Charles was technically a violation of the landmark designation. The line and those streetcars were supposed to be frozen-in-time at the point it was put on all the lists.

Yeah, that’s important, but Hurricane Katrina was quite the exception. The city, and NORTA knew that running those streetcars was essential for showing that the city was on the road to recovery. Things were indeed looking less dire by December, 2005.

900s on Canal Street

Seeing the green streetcars run on Canal Street was a flashback for those of us who remember them from 1964 and earlier. The arch roofs had been a mainstay on the Canal iine since the “Palace” cars were retired in the mid-1930s. They ran on Canal until the line was converted to bus operation in May, 1964. From the 1930s, the Canal and West End lines ran the 800s and 900s. West End converted to buses in 1948.

New Places for the 900s

In addition to once again running up and down Canal Street, the aftermath of Katrina saw the green streetcars run on track that didn’t exist when they were limited to St. Charles in 1964. One year after Canal re-opened in 2004, the “Carrollton Spur” went operational. Every third 2000-series Von Dullen car on the line made a right turn, running down N. Carrollton Avenue, to City Park. They pulled into a two-track terminal there at Esplanade Avenue and Bayou St. John, then returned to downtown.

Riverfront

Since the 400-series arch roofs were also damaged in the storm’s flooding, the Riverfront line had the same issues Canal did. NORTA decided to have the 900s make a left turn at Canal and the riverfront. They ran down to Esplanade Avenue, along the riverfront edge of the French Quarter. When they hit the French Market Terminal (stop 1 on the Riverfront line), they changed directions and returned to Cemeteries and City Park.

New Orleans: The Canal Streetcar Line
by Edward J. Branley

cemeteries terminal

New Orleans: The Canal Streetcar Line

The clanging of a streetcar’s bell conjures images of a time when street railways were a normal part of life in the city. Historic Canal Street represents the common ground between old and new with buses driving alongside steel rails and electric wires that once guided streetcars.
New Orleans was one of the first cities to embrace street railways, and the city’s love affair with streetcars has never ceased. New Orleans: The Canal Streetcar Line showcases photographs, diagrams, and maps that detail the rail line from its origin and golden years, its decline and disappearance for almost 40 years, and its return to operation. From the French Quarter to the cemeteries, the Canal Line ran through the heart of the city and linked the Creole Faubourgs with the new neighborhoods that stretched to Lake Pontchartrain.

Product Details

ISBN: 9781531610920
ISBN-10: 1531610927
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing Library Editions
Publication Date: March 24th, 2004
Pages: 130
Language: English