Texas and Pacific Railroad – Train Thursday

Texas and Pacific Railroad – Train Thursday

Texas and Pacific Railroad – Train Thursday.

Texas and Pacific

T&P Railway passenger train, leaving the Trans-Mississippi Passenger station, 1950s.

Texas and Pacific Railroad – Uptown, West Bank, Points West!

EMD E-8A #2011 leads a Texas and Pacific passenger train out of the Trans-Mississippi Passenger Station, New Orleans. Data on a Texas and Pacific Railway history website indicates this photo was shot in 1950-1951.

The second, “B” diesel unit is an EMD F-7B. I can’t find a roster number for that unit in this photo. Drop me a line (or comment) if you can identify it.

The Texas and Pacific Railway began operations in the state of Texas in 1871. The Missouri Pacific Railroad acquired a majority share of the T&P in 1928. While they essentially owned T&P, MoPac operated T&P independently until 1976. MoPac merged into the Union Pacific in 1980. Because of lawsuits and regulatory issues, however, the merger was not complete until 1997.

Texas and Pacific Station

Texas and Pacific

Trans-Mississippi Passenger Station, uptown New Orleans.

The “Trans Mississippi Passenger Station” stood on Annunciation Street, uptown, between Thalia and Melpomene Streets. So, this station is one of the five consolidated into Union Passenger Terminal. We’ll do a full article on it in the future.

The Louisiana Eagle

texas and pacific

Texas and Pacific Railway passenger ticket, 1940s.

These locos are likely pulling the “Louisiana Eagle”, the “name train” that ran from New Orleans to Dallas/Ft. Worth on the T&P. The Louisiana Eagle departed New Orleans at 7:50pm, arrived in Dallas at 8:05am the next morning, terminating at 9:05am in Ft. Worth. So, it was an overnight train.

While the Huey P. Long Bridge carried trains, Texas and Pacific used train ferries to cross the Mississippi. The trains would leave the Annunciation Street terminal, then go to the riverfront. The cars boarded a rail ferry boat for the crossing. The train re-formed, stopping at the Gretna station on Fourth Street. They would then go on their way.

The typical consist of the Louisiana Eagle was an E-8 or F-7 locomotive, then five cars (presumably baggage, two sleepers, diner, and a coach). I don’t have a definite consist list, so if you do, let me know.

 

Prytania Market

Prytania Market

Prytania Market

prytania market

Prytania Market, ca. 1915 (New Orleans Public Library photo)

Prytania Market

prytania market

Location of the Prytania Market. The land is now public green space.

Before home and commercial refrigeration was widespread, folks made groceries at the neighborhood’s public market. So, these markets were all over the city of New Orleans. The Prytania Market was located on Prytania Street. It was between Upperline and Lyons. By the 1910s, the neighborhood grew to the point where folks didn’t want to walk to the markets surrounding them.

Truck Farmers

Public markets were the “stores” for “truck farmers”. These folks farmed the land out in Kenner and Little Farms (now River Ridge). Initially, they traveled in from Kenner via horse-drawn wagon. In 1915, the Orleans-Kenner Railroad line opened. The “O-K” was the metro area’s only true interurban railroad line. The farmers loaded up their crops onto these electric cars, which had a lot of open cargo space. They arrived at S. Carrollton and S. Claiborne. Usually they enlisted a relative or a friend with a wagon to get them from the O-K station to one or more of the public markets. These farmers got the name “truck farmers” when they bought trucks to get into town.Therefore, the O-K interurban was no longer useful. The line closed in 1930.

Open-Air

The public markets were essentially just open-air stalls. While some markets occupied enclosed buildings, others, like Prytania, were completely open. There was no electricity at this time. So the city monitored sanitary conditions, through their franchisees. While seafood vendors did sell at the markets, their sales were prohibited in the summer. The fish and shellfish didn’t stay fresh in the heat.

Prytania Street

From 1915 to the 1940s, the farmers selling at the Prytania Market worked at the building in the photo above. The city owned many of the public markets, including this one. City government franchised them out to business owners and management companies. So, in 1923, the city awarded the Prytania franchise to Charles F. Buck, Jr.

The market building was expanded/improved by architect Sam Stone Jr.’s firm in 1922. Stone was was a well-known architect. He designed the 13-story Maison Blanche building. It’s now the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.

Prytania Market

Prytania Market, ca. 1940 (New Orleans Public Library photo)

In 1938, the city contracted Stone’s firm again, to re-design the Prytania Market. The building above operated through the 1940s and 1950s. So, supermarkets arrived. They changed the way we made groceries. The public markets became obsolete. The city demolished the Prytania Market. The property is now a small public park.

New Orleans: The Canal Streetcar Line

800 block canal street

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.

Maroon Monday

Maroon Monday – 1944

This week’s Maroon Monday takes us back to World War II.

MB ad Loyola Maroon 1944

Maison Blanche ad from the Loyola Maroon, October 27, 1944.

October, 1944 – The Allies invaded Europe in June of that year, and the war in the Pacific was still hot and heavy. Still, Loyola University continued its mission, educating the men and women still at home in the United States. The Loyola Maroon, the student newspaper, still went to press. Even students needed to have a “business dress” wardrobe, for school functions, social events, etc.

“Definitely collegiate” the ad says, and that makes sense. Wool herringbone pattern fabric made for a more laid-back suit than, say, classic blue serge. Herringbone tweed is the classic “professor’s” sport coat.  When I was on the Brother Martin High debate team in the mid-1970s, I absolutely loved my wool-herringbone suit. It was a dark green, and just perfect for scholarly pursuits like speech and debate. The ad’s suggestions show the level of formality of the time. Wearing a suit to “spectator sports?”

Naturally, the collegiate looking for a suit in 1944 would head to Canal Street for a suit. He’d likely pass on the higher-end men’s shops, like Porter’s or Rubenstein’s, in favor of one of the big department stores, like D. H. Holmes or Maison Blanche.

MB knew their prices would be better suited to the student budget. The young man in need of such a suit could jump on the St. Charles streetcar, ride it from uptown to Canal Street, and walk from Carondelet and Canal, cross Canal Street, then head one block up Canal to Dauphine and Maison Blanche. The men’s department of the “Greatest Store South” was on the first floor. The young man would be greeted by a salesman who would take his measurments, grab the suit that caught his eye in the proper size, and then mark it up for the tailor. It would be ready in a few days, and he would be ready for that next football game, or on-campus social function.

As a writer, this triggers all sorts of inspiration for a story. A young man, at MB, buying a suit, while other young men his age are in France and Belgium, fighting the Nazis. Why was he home? Why wasn’t he in a plane over Europe, or in a Higgins Boat, landing on islands in the Pacific, fighting the Japanese? Oh, the possibilities…

mb book

Maison Blanche Department Stores, by Edward J. Branley

For more on the fascinating history of Maison Blanche, be sure to pick up my book, Maison Blanche Department Stores.