Southern Railway Park stood just off from the tracks leading to Terminal Station.
Southern Railway Park
Franck Studios photos of Basin Street turning towards the lake in the late 1950s. The two parking tracks inside Southern Railway Park are visible on the left. Prior to 1954, railroad tracks leading out of Terminal Station at Canal and Basin Streets followed Basin, down to just before St. Louis Street. They turned lakebound at that point, heading into Mid-City. They connected with the “Back Belt” tracks, where trains turned east to cross the Industrial Canal and Lake Pontchartrain.
The New Orleans Terminal Company (NOTC) built a railroad passenger station on Canal Street in 1908. Southern Railway assumed control of the station when it acquired NOTC in 1916. Southern shifted their operations from Press Street Station in the Bywater to Faubourg Treme. Tracks ran along Basin from Canal Street to St. Louis. Additionally, Southern built a freight station, just before the tracks curved north. That station stood at 501 Basin, just out of the frame of these photos, on the left. A private concern purchased the freight building in the early 2000s, converting it into Basin Street Station, a visitors center and event venue.
After trains for Southern Railway (or Gulf, Mobile, and Ohio, the other railroad using Terminal Station) unloaded their passengers, they pulled off to a service yard. Engines pulled the train up past the Municipal Auditorium, then backed the cars into a side yard. Additionally, Southern trains carried “business cars” throughout the system. These cars looked like open-ended observation cars. They contained offices, bedrooms, and a kitchen. Railroad executives used these cars to travel the system.
When business cars came to New Orleans, the railroad parked them next to the passenger car service yard. Those tracks terminated in Southern Railway Park. The executives got a landscaped area where they could stretch their legs, or take a car to other parts of the city.
In 1954, the city consolidated passenger rail operations at Union Passenger Terminal, on Loyola Avenue. The city ordered the demolition of the five existing passenger stations. Southern Railway relocated the business car parking tracks to the location in this photo. They also moved several of the light fixtures like the one in this James H. Selzer photo from 1975.
Thanks to Mr. Maunsel White for sharing these photos on Facebook.
St. Aloysius bonds, a private issue to finance the completion of the new building.
St. Aloysius bonds.
Advertisement in the Times-Picayune, 15-April, 1925, for St. Aloysius bonds to finance the completion of the “new” school building. The Bond Department of Marine Bank and Trust, on Carondelet Street, managed the issuance of St. Aloysius bonds. From the ad copy:
These bonds will be the direct obligation of St. Aloysius College, which was founded in 1869, and was formerly located on Chartres and Barracks Streets, and moved to its present location in 1892, where it has steadily expanded.
This $80,000 issue in 1925 works out to just over $1.2 million in 2021 dollars.
Building the iconic school
After successfully navigating the years of the Southern Rebellion, the Archbishop of New Orleans invited the Brothers of the Sacred Heart to open a permanent school in New Orleans. The Institute operated St. Stanislaus College, in Bay St. Louis on the Gulf Coast. When Louisiana and Mississippi seceded from the Union, the BOSH closed St. Stanislaus to boarders. They dispatched several Brothers to New Orleans. They set up shop at Annunciation Church, in Faubourg Marigny. Those men taught the Stanislaus students in the city. They made sure those boys completed their schooling.
The Archdiocese offered the Institute a house on the corner of Chartres and Barracks in 1869. That building originally housed the officers of the Spanish army garrison in the city during the colonial period. In 1892, the Ursuline nuns left the mansion they used as a school, on Esplanade Avenue and N. Rampart Street. The archdiocese transferred that building to the BOSH. By the 1920s, however, the always-expanding St. Aloysius College outgrew the mansion. They negotiated a deal with the city to demolish the old building, allowing the city expand the N. Rampart Street neutral ground. The Institute required cash for furnishings, equipment, etc., to open the new building. These bonds provided the backbone of the financing.
St. Aloysius closed in the Spring of 1969, merging with Cor Jesu High to become Brother Martin High School in Gentilly.
The St. Aloysius Color Guard was a military-style unit in the mid-1960s.
Aloysius Color Guard
From the book: “Color Guard. Prior to the activation of the school’s NJROTC unit, the St. Aloysius Band also included a Color Guard for presenting the American flag at football games, Carnival parades, and other events.” The unit consisted of a commander (left), two rifle escorts, and color bearers carrying the United States flag and the flag of the City of New Orleans. The 1966 Crusader yearbook staff shot this photo on the Esplanade Avenue neutral ground. Students in the unit are unidentified; if you know who these young men are, please let me know!
Band auxiliary to NJROTC
In 1967, the Brothers of the Sacred Heart announced an arrangement with the United States Navy to establish a Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corp (NJROTC) unit at St. Aloysius High School. Participation in the unit was mandatory for Crusaders in grades 10, 11, and 12. The school adopted the Navy’s khaki undress uniform for all grades.
When St. Aloysius and Cor Jesu merged to form Brother Martin High, the NJROTC unit moved to Elysian Fields. The band and the color guard adopted the NJROTC uniforms for public events. The band wore the NJROTC service dress blue uniform. This consisted of navy blue wool trousers and a double-breasted wool jacket, with six buttons. Band members wore a white, long-sleeved shirt and a black necktie with the suit. Their covers were a naval officers style “combination cap” with a white cover. Ranks were indicated by insignia on the jacket sleeves. Officers wore thin stripes near the jacket cuff. Chief Petty Officers wore a CPO-style insignia on the upper sleeve. The band’s Drum Major held the rank of Cadet Lieutenant, and the commander of the color guard was a Cadet Lieutenant (Junior Grade).
BMHS kept the NJROTC uniforms for the band through the 1975-76 school year.
Gulf, Mobile, and Northern’s Rebel Route connected New Orleans to Jackson, Tennessee.
The “Rebel,” operated by Gulf, Mobile, and Northern Railroad, at Terminal Station in Faubourg Treme, late 1930s, early 1940s. It’s unclear whether this train is departing on a northbound run, or backing into the station, arriving on the southbound run. Trains approaching Terminal Station used a “wye” track on St. Louis Street to change directions. The inbound train entered the wye, then backed in. Passengers exited onto Canal Street, across from Krauss Department Store.
The Gulf, Mobile, and Northern operated the Rebel from 1935 until its merger with the Mobile and Ohio Railroad in 1942. GM&N expanded the Rebel. They purchased additional equipment, operating a split of the route, from Union, Mississippi, to Mobile. The GM&O expanded the Rebel Route further, north to St. Louis. The train’s final incarnation, the “Gulf Coast Rebel” ended service in 1958.
GM&N purchased two trainsets from the American Car Foundry in 1935. These sets used “power cars,” units which combined locomotive and coach. The Rebel also carried a buffet-coach car and a sleeper-observation. All coach seating operated following Jim Crow segregation laws.
The railroad acquired a third trainset in 1937. This trainset enabled GM&N to operate the split at Union, down to Mobile.
With the merger in 1942, GM&O discontinued the “little Rebel” trainsets. The railroad replaced them with the “Big Rebels,” Alco DL-105 locomotives and standard-style cars.
South of Laurel, Mississippi, GM&N/GM&O used Southern Railway tracks to reach New Orleans. The Rebel approached the city via Slidell, crossing Lake Pontchartrain using Southern’s five-mile bridge. The train traveled through the city using Southern’s “back belt.” The Rebel stopped at City Park Avenue, then turned towards the river, ending the journey on Basin Street. Like Southern Railway trains, GM&O shifted passenger operations from Terminal Station over to Union Passenger Terminal in 1954.
The Walmsley administration held a banquet at the Municipal Auditorium in 1932.
Morris FX Jeff Municipal Auditorium
Franck Studios photo of the New Orleans Municipal Auditorium in 1932. The city opened the facility on May 30, 1930. Since it opened, the Municipal Auditorium hosted a wide range of events, including Carnival balls, boxing matches, high school graduations, professional wrestling, as well as trade shows and conventions. The building sits in Faubourg Treme, next to Congo Square.
The Municipal Auditorium seats over 7800 people in its arena configuration. The city used the facility as a starting point for several professional sports franchises. The auditorium served as home court for the American Basketball Association’s New Orleans Buccaneers, during the team’s 1969-1970 season. When the National Basketball Association granted New Orleans a franchise, the New Orleans Jazz played their first season in the facility. The New Orleans Brass, an East Coast Hockey League (AA) team, used the auditorium as home ice from 1997 to 1999.
What attracted these teams to the facility was the ease with which it could be adapted. The Bucs originally played at the old Loyola Field House, but outgrew it. The Jazz planned to use the Louisiana Superdome, but decided to wait a season. That enabled the team’s management to prepare for Dome life. While the Brass were a professional team, they knew the Dome would be impractical. They used the auditorium until the opening of the Smoothie King Center.
Harrah’s New Orleans Casino planned to use the Municipal Auditorium as a temporary site, while they demolished the Rivergate convention center and built their current casino on that site. The temporary casino only operated for a couple of months in 1995.
Thomas Semmes Walmsley held the office of Mayor of New Orleans from 1929 to 1936. Walmsley was a controversial figure, being a staunch racist. Interestingly, Walmsley was a member of the Boston Club, the luncheon club located on Canal Street that is closely identified with the Mystick Krewe of Comus. Hosting a political event in the city’s new auditorium was quite logical.
Photo of a Masonic funeral procession from the late 1940s/early 1950s.
Masonic Funeral Procession
Officers of Axiom Lodge #216, Free and Accepted Masons, Prince Hall Affiliation (PHA), lead a funeral procession. Undated photo Axiom Lodge dates to 1951, so photo is likely 1950s. Perhaps someone with more automobile knowledge can pinpoint the truck on the left side. Axiom Lodge is incorporated in Faubourg Treme. So, it’s possible this procession walks through that neighborhood.
The officer front and center is likely a Warden of the Lodge. He carries the Volume of Sacred Law (VSL). This is likely a bible. Behind the Warden walks the Worshipful Master. He wears a hat, indicating his office. The Master walks under an arch of two pikes, carried by Tylers. A Tyler of a Masonic lodge serves as the guardian of the lodge room. He stands outside as the lodge gathers, challenging those who desire entrance. In this procession two Masons function as guardians of the Master.
Prince Hall Affiliation
Prince Hall was a man, a free Black Bostonian. He was born ~1735. Hall became an abolitionist and an influencer in the Black community of Boston. He encouraged Black men to reject British rule and support the revolution. Hall believed that white men would recognize the contributions of Blacks in the formation of the new nation.
Hall recognized that the two most important institutions in Colonial society were the military and freemasonry. Ironically, Hall was initiated into a lodge attached to the British Army. Lodge 441, chartered by the Grand Lodge of Ireland, initiated Hall and fourteen other Black men into freemasonry.
Hall in turn founded African Lodge 1. So, the membership named him Grand Master. After Hall’s death in 1807, African-affiliated lodges sought to join the Grand Lodges of their respective states. The white lodges rejected them. So, the African lodges formed an Independent Grand Lodge. “Prince Hall Affiliated” lodges grew in number. Additionally, more white grand lodges recognized the African Grand Lodge.
While most growth of Prince Hall freemasonry occurred in Union states, the movement eventually moved into rebel states. PHA lodges grew in Jim Crow states, since the structure was already segregated.