Maison Blanche Thanksgiving

Maison Blanche Thanksgiving

Maison Blanche Thanksgiving weekend was always hectic.

maison blanche thanksgiving

Maison Blanche Thanksgiving

Ad from Thanksgiving Weekend, 1978. MB ran this ad on Sunday, 26-November-1978, after the madness of Friday and Saturday were over. Holiday season 1978 was my first at MB Clearview. I spent that weekend glued to one of those old electro-mechanical cash registers the store used at the time.

Men’s Department

The Post-Thanksgiving sales in the Maison Blanche Men’s Department included mostly grab-and-go items. Casual shirts, slacks, some jackets and coats. Mom would hit the stores while dad slept in or went fishing. So, Mom picked up stuff for dad that didn’t require his presence. That gave her time to explore the various ladies departments. From the employee perspective, it was easy. The lines stached up a bit, so shoppers didn’t come up for conversation.

Selling in 1978

While individual/personal calculators grew in popularity, retail transactions in 1978 had not changed for forty years. Stores shifted from mechanical to electro-mechanical cash register. Credit card transactions remained the same. At MB, store charges (using one’s New Orleans Shoppers’ credit card) rung up on the regular sales ticket. Slide the ticket under the printer in the register. Push the old-style keys for department and item number. Cash, credit, or bank card. The sale rung up, then you’d make an imprint of the card, in the body of the sales ticket. Both store and bank cards required a phone call to verify the credit line, if the purchase was over a set amount. The approval process hadn’t changed much since the 1950s. Credit staff at the Canal Street store answered phones from downstairs and the suburban stores. Those phones had super-long cords (yes, folks, we’re talking about phones with cords). The salesperson at the register gave the card information. The credit staffers looked up the account numbers, calculated the customer’s limit, then approved or declined the purchase.

Suit separates for men

The big ad for Sunday, 26-Nov-1978 for MB presented men’s suit separates from Haggar. “Choose them by the piece: a sport coat, a vest, the slack,, or choose them all for a 3 piece vested look for under 100.00.” These pieces sold well with men whose measurements crossed over suit sizes. The price was right for younger men, as well. These items appear in the Sunday paper. While most people bought the Haggar stuff and brought it home to dad, some folks came in for alterations. We didn’t do alterations over the weekend, but Monday evening after was just fine.

 

 

 

 

Donaldsonville South Louisiana State Fair – Trip from New Orleans #TrainThursday

Donaldsonville South Louisiana State Fair – Trip from New Orleans #TrainThursday

Donaldsonville South Louisiana State Fair

donaldsonville south louisiana state fair

Broadside advertising a day trip to Donaldsonville, 1930. (courtesy LaRC)

Donaldsonville South Louisiana State Fair – Ride the train from New Orleans

Advertisement for a special round-trip train to take students from New Orleans to the Donaldsonville South Louisiana State Fair, October 3, 1930. The train departed Uptown New Orleans at 8am and returned at 7:15pm. While that’s a long day for kids, it was a fun day!

The “official” Louisiana State Fair is held in Shreveport, Louisiana. Today, New Orleans to Shreveport requires a five-hour car trip. The typical route is I-10 to Lafayette, then I-49 to Shreveport. Before the Interstate Highway System, the trip required travel on US highways and state roads. Therefore it took longer.

donaldsonville south louisiana state fair

Autos entering the South Louisiana State Fair grounds, ca 1925

A “South Louisiana State Fair” attracted people who didn’t want to travel to the northwestern corner of the state. While autos traveled the roads of Louisiana in 1930, many people didn’t own a car. So, the train enabled kids to go to the state fair.

Texas and Pacific Railroad

donaldsonville south louisiana state fair

Cover for a route map, Texas and Pacific Railroad, 1906.

The Texas and Pacific Railroad operated from 1871 to 1976. The Missouri Pacific Railroad acquired the railroad in 1928. While MP owned T&P, they operated it separately.

The T&P planned a southern transcontinental connection, between Marshall, Texas and San Diego.  The T&P met up with the Southern Pacific railroad. SP expanded from California.

The Texas & Pacific/Missouri Pacific Terminal in New Orleans

donaldsonville south louisiana state fair

Texas and Pacific Terminal, Annunciation Street, ca 1920. (Detroit Publishing Company)

The T&P built a terminal on Annunciation and Thalia Streets in 1916. Missouri Pacific trains operated from that terminal after MP acquired T&P. The demolished the station in 1954.

Gretna Station

Donaldsonville South Louisiana State Fair

Gretna Station, 1983

Trains operating from the T&P/MP station crossed the river by ferry, basically just behind the station. The ferry carried the trains to Gretna. That’s why the stop in Gretna on the schedule. From the Fourth Street station, the train traveled to Westwego, picked up kids there. The train made no stops after Westwego, bringing kids and teachers to the Donaldsonville fair grounds.

The ferry crossing enabled the railroad to offer a stop on the west bank of New Orleans. So, passengers looking to travel on T&P/MP boarded over there. They didn’t have to come across the river.

Thanks to Lee Miller at the Louisiana Research Collection at Tulane University for this great item.