Several of the buildings in this illustration of 600 Tchoupitoulas are still standing.
George Sully painted this watercolor of the 600 block of Tchoupitoulas Street around 1843. The painting depitcts several three-story buildings on the downtown side of the block (near Lafayette Street). The middle of the block includes two-story buildings, likely warehouses or stables. The end of the block on the Girod Street side is a four-story warehouse building. 600 Tchoupitoulas is typical of much of what is now the Warehouse District. Goods arrived on ships along the riverfront. Crews transferred them from the wharves to warehouses and light industrial companies just behind.
Since Sully painted this in the mid 1840s, mules were the primary conveyance along the river.
Cotton was king by the 1840s. It was the major export. These buildings likely handled incoming cargo. The main cotton mills stood in surrounding blocks. Workers unloaded bales of picked cotton from riverboats. Mules brought the cotton to mills, where the bales were compressed tightly. Ocean-going ships docked just behind the buildings of 600 Tchoupitoulas, as well as further upriver. Once the ships were unloaded and industrial goods from the Northeast and Europe delivered to warehouses, the mules then loaded the milled cotton. This trade built New Orleans into the second-largest port in the United States. By the 1850s, the port was the largest in the soon-to-be rebel states.
George Washington Sully
The artist was born in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1816. George’s uncle (his father’s brother), Thomas Sully, painted the well-known equestrian portrait of George Washington, The Passage of the Delaware.
George’s father, Chester, was a cotton merchant. From Virginia, the family made their way to Florida, after its sale from Spain to the US. George then traveled to Louisiana, where he painted many scenes of New Orleans. He died in Covington, in 1890.
The 600 block today
The Lafayette Street end of the block are storefront buildings with offices and apartments above. The two-story buildings, leading to the four-story warehouse are now the Cambria Hotel New Orleans.
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NOLA History Guy Podcast 13-April-2019
Mayor Ernest “Dutch” Morial stands by a M.A.R.T. “gondola,” 11-April-1985 (Morial papers, New Orleans Public Library)
NOLA History Guy Podcast 13-April-2019
Another short-form pod this week! Two items, “New Orleans Past” and unpacking a photo from 1951
Our “New Orleans Past” item, from Catherine Campanella’s website, is her 11-April entry, which goes back to 11-April-1985. The Mississippi Aerial Rapid Transport, M.A.R.T. attraction at the 1984 New Orleans World Exposition attracted visitors and locals alike. Alas, it didn’t attract them in the numbers expected. But then, neither did the fair overall. As a rule, locals didn’t refer to the attraction as “MART”, but rather as “The Gondola”. The east bank station for MART was at Julia Street and the River, just to the east side of the main pavilion building. That building became the Morial Convention Center after Da Fair. The small cars ran across the river, landing next to Mardi Gras World. The theory (hope) of the Kerns was that folks would visit their year-round Mardi Gras attraction in Algiers before returning to the fair site.
This didn’t quite work out as planned. Folks rode MART like an amusement park ride rather than as transportation. Mardi Gras World figured out that the west bank location wasn’t good for attracting tourists, so they moved to the western side of the Convention Center. This was after the fiasco of riverboat casinos in that location.
The operators of MART hoped to continue the attraction as a transportation service, after the fair. While the concept was good, the gondolas weren’t in a good position for the nascent Warehouse District. MART was demolished in 1994. Some of the cars live on at various places around town, such as Poeyfarre Market.
City Park Avenue, 1951
City Park Avenue near the PontchartrainExpresway, 1951 (NOLA.com photo)
Unpacking an old photo. This is City Park Avenue in 1951. I found it on a Tumblr, attributed to NOLA.com. Not sure if it’s originally from the Times-Picayune or the State-Item. Also not sure who shot the photo. The streetcars made a left-turn onto City Park Avenue from Canal Street. The West End line continued from there out to the lake, on the eastern side of the New Basin Canal. The Canal line cars stopped on City Park Avenue. They changed for the inbound run there. The end terminal changed to Canal Street only in 1958.