NOLA History Guy Podcast 05-April-2020 D. H. Holmes, Streetcars

NOLA History Guy Podcast 05-April-2020 D. H. Holmes, Streetcars

NOLA History Guy Podcast 05-April-2020 presents the first of a four-part series on the Riverfront Streetcar line.

nola history guy podcast 05-April-2020

Rollboard sign on NORwy&Lt 208, showing it running on the Tchoupitoulas line, 1925

NOLA History Guy Podcast 05-April-2020

Two segments on NOLA History Guy Podcast 05-April-2020, our pick of the week from NewOrleansPast.com, and the start of a series on the Riverfront Streetcar line.

Today in New Orleans History

NOLA History Guy Podcast 05-April-2020

Ad in the Times Picayune, 28-March-1924

Our Pick of the week from the Facebook group, Today in New Orleans History, is Campanella’s entry for April 2nd. Daniel Henry Holmes opened his store on 2-April-1842. The first store was not the Canal Street location. He opened up at 22 Chartres, in the French Quarter. The store did well, and Holmes moved to the 800 block of Canal Street in 1849. D. H. Holmes is an icon, from “meet me under the clock” to the selection of merchandise, to the suburban stores.

There’s nothing more New Orleans than a discussion on social media about which store your momma liked better, Holmeses or Maison Blanche! We thought about adding a discussion or quote section in NOLA History Guy Podcast 05-April-2020, but it can get ugly.

The 2-April entry at New Orleans Past shows two ads from the Times-Picayune. The first is from 28-March-1924. It includes a pictorial history of D. H. Holmes around the border. Very nice!

NOLA History Guy Podcast 05-April-2020

Da Clock! Ad in the Times-Picayune, 2-April-1938

The second ad is from 2-April-1938. To celebrate the store’s birthday, D. H. Holmes ordered a 400-pound birthday cake, featuring, naturally, the clock!

Riverfront Streetcar History

nola history guy podcast 05-April-2020

NORwy&Lt 208, Ford, Bacon & Davis car, on the Tchoupitoulas line in 1925 (Franck Studios/HNOC)

We present a four-part series on the Riverfront Streetcar Line. The line rolled for the first time in 1899. The series:

I. Background – streetcars running along the New Orleans Riverfront
II. The Riverfront line, 1988-1997
III. The updated line, 1997-present
IV. NORTA 461 – History of a Riverfront streetcar

Today: Part I – background leading up to 1988

streetcar at the french market

Johnson Bobtail streetcar passing the French Market, ca 1880

Prior to the Riverfront line, streetcars didn’t operate close to the riverfront. That’s because the wharves and railroad tracks occupied the space. The closest streetcars were on the streets servicing the Riverfront, like Tchoupitoulas, Laurel, and Annunciation Streets uptown, and N. Front and Decatur Streets to the French Market on the downtown side.

Transit Maintenance – NOLA History Guy Podcast 2020-03-22

Transit Maintenance – NOLA History Guy Podcast 2020-03-22

Transit maintenance on Canal Street is our photo breakdown this week

transit maintenance

Workers from the New Orleans City RR Company, inspecting overhead wires for streetcars on Canal St, 1901

Transit Maintenance

This is a wonderful photo, just to enjoy. It offers a lot to break down as well. The scene is 1901 or 1902, Canal Street, right by the rear of the Liberty Monument. Prior to electrification, streetcars running on the Canal Street line stopped in the 200 block. They turned around there and headed outbound.

Liberty Place

Transit maintenance

Liberty Place in 1906

The photographer taking our breakdown photo stands right behind the Liberty Monument. For the sordid history of this obelisk (now removed after being designated a public nuisance), start with its Wikipedia entry. In 1894, the two main streetcar operators in town hired the engineering firm of Ford, Bacon, and Davis (FB&D), to make recommendations on how to proceed with electric streetcars in New Orleans. They made a number of suggestions, along with designing a single-truck streetcar specifically for operation in the city.

Transit maintenance

Streetcar tracks around Liberty Place, 1899

The photo above shows the Liberty Monument, looking from the river, opposite from our breakdown photo. FB&D designed a single-track loop around the monument for streetcars. The inbound cars looped around, then parked on layover tracks behind the monument, in the 200 block.

Maintenance wagon

By 1899, all streetcar operations merged into a single company. They adopted the name, New Orleans City Railroad Company (NOCRR). This was the name of the company that originally operated the Canal and Esplanade lines, as well as a number of other backatown lines, beginning in 1861. Their main streetcar barn and maintenance facility was in Mid-City, at Canal and N. White Streets. So, our work crew here likely came down Canal from that station, or possibly up St. Claude Avenue, from their Poland Avenue barn. They bring this mule-drawn wagon and two big ladders to Liberty Place. They set up the ladders in the back of the wagon, leaving the mule unattended! I don’t know f I’d have that much faith in the mule to stay still.

There are three types of streetcars in the photo. There are two FB&D single-truck cars, two Brill single-truck cars, and one of the 500-series double-truck streetcars from the American Company. These were the forerunners of the venerable “Palace” streetcars that were so popular on the Canal, West End, and Napoleon lines. This car, 510, ran on the West End line. It’s finished the loop around the monument, preparing for its outbound run to the lakefront. The streetcar system grew rapidly after 1900. So, transit maintenance was important!

Today in New Orleans History – March 17, 1930

Transit Maintenance

Hibernia Bank Building, location of the offices of the Mississippi Steamship Company, 1930s

In addition to our transit maintenance photo, we offer our pick of the week from Campanella’s NewOrleansPast.com website (also as a Facebook group, Today in New Orleans History) is from March 17, 1930. Ms. Campanella takes us back to a story from the late, wonderful, historian and storyteller, Gaspar “Buddy” Stall. Stall wrote that the first “coffee break” in America happened on this day, in the Hibernia Bank Building on Carondelet. The Mississippi Steamship Company (later re-organized as the Delta Steamship Company, operators of the Delta Queen cruise steamer/riverboat) called their eighty employees together at 3:30pm, for a gathering where they served coffee, in the Brazilian tradition. Word spread around in America, and that’s how we got the “coffee break.”

Buy Books!

Buy Edward Branley’s books, Catherine Campanella’s, and Buddy Stall’s!

 

 

Southern Rebellion Irish – NOLA History Guy Podcast

Southern Rebellion Irish – NOLA History Guy Podcast

Southern Rebellion Irish – talking about the Irish socially in Antebellum New Orleans

Southern Rebellion Irish

Stained glass window in St. Alphonsus Church, the “Irish church” in the Irish Channel neighborhood of New Orleans

Southern Rebellion Irish

While a number of Irish families in New Orleans rose to the upper levels of society by the Southern Rebellion, those in the city who wanted to maintain an economy based on enslaved African labor did not accept newer Irish immigrants as equals. They didn’t mind the Irish taking jobs they didn’t want to do, in the army, doing labor such as working to build the New Canal, and working on the riverfront. By 1860, the Know-Nothings (yes, that was a real party and political movement) pushed immigrants away to the point where the Irish felt strong Unionist sentiments.

Southern Rebellion Irish

The Rogue’s March by Peter F. Stevens

The Irish immigrants felt the resentment of the WASPs in the United States antebellum most in the Army. WASP officers commanding units during the Mexican War treated immigrants horribly. This led to a large desertion. Hundreds of Irish soldiers crossing the Rio Grande river joining the Mexican Army. The book, The Rogue’s March: John Riley and the St. Patrick’s Battalion, 1846-48, details the history of the “St. Patrick’s Battalion” of the Mexican Army in 1847-48. While life in the Army improved overall by the Southern Rebellion, the rebels still treated the Irish on their side poorly.

Not just the Irish

As the Irish community in New Orleans grew from downtown, along the riverfront to further uptown, German immigrants settled in the same area. What we call the “Irish Channel” was home to a large German community. These Germans were mostly Rheinlanders and Bavarians, who were Catholic, like the Irish. They formed the core of the “Redemptorist” parish, worshipping at St. Mary’s Assumption Church on Constance and Josephine Streets. So, by the time of the Southern Rebellion, both the Irish and German communities were more supportive of the Union than the Confederacy.

Defending the City

southern rebellion irish

Mutiny at Fort Jackson by Michael D. Pierson

So, these immigrants lost their jobs with the closure of the Port of New Orleans in 1861. To provide their families, they joined the rebel army. While many were sent off to fight in Tennessee and Virginia, others stayed behind, to defend Forts Jackson and St. Phillip, down the river from the city. At the time of Farragut’s capture of New Orleans in April, 1862, Fort Jackson’s defenders included three battalions: one Irish, one German, and one made up largely of men from the white planter class. It should come as no surprise that two of those three units mutinied and walked out of the fort, making it easier for Farragut to come up the river and Butler to bring his occupying army behind the ships. For more reading on this, check out Mutiny at Fort Jackson: The Untold Story of the Fall of New Orleans, by Michael D. Pierson.

Reading on the Irish.

southern rebellion irish

The Irish in New Orleans by Laura D. Kelly.

If this topic interests you, you definitely want to get Dr. Laura Kelly’s book, The Irish In New Orleans.

Royal Street Photo Breakdown – NOLA History Guy Podcast

Royal Street Photo Breakdown – NOLA History Guy Podcast

Royal Street Photo Breakdown on this week’s podcast!

Royal Street Photo Breakdown

100-200 Blocks of Royal Street, 1916.

Royal Street Photo Breakdown

Derby Gisclair shared a neat photo from 1916 earlier this week on social media. The photographer stands in the middle of the 100 block of Royal Street, looking down into the 200 block. As I was looking through some other photos, I came across a 1956 photo of Royal, where that photographer stood almost in the same place. Time for a Royal Street Photo Breakdown!

At the top of the page is the 1916 photo, with Solari’s on the left, an electric sign for Fabacher’s Restaurant hanging over the street, then the Commercial Hotel and Union Bank on the right.

Royal Street Photo Breakdown

Franck-Bertacci Studios photo of the 100-200 blocks of Royal Street, 1956.

Fast forward to 1956. Solari’s is still on the left. The Commercial Hotel is now the Monteleone Hotel. Fabacher’s Restaurant, which was the hotel restaurant for the Commercial, is long closed. Walgreen’s drug store replaced the bank building in the late 1940s. That drug store remains today.

Streetcar changes

In the 1916 photo, streetcar tracks and the overhead wiring are visible. The Desire streetcar line ran inbound on Royal Street. The streetcars turned right onto Canal Street. They ran up one block, then turned right again. They ran down Bourbon Street for the French Quarter portion of the outbound run. We’ve talked about the Desire line before, and how it was the main connector for the Quarter.

Buses replaced streetcars on Desire in 1948. So, by the 1956 photo, the tracks and wires are long gone. The maroon-and-cream NOPSI buses serviced Desire.

NewOrleansPast.com – January 15th

Royal Street Photo Breakdown

NOPSI 817, operating in Belt Service in the 1940s.

Our pick of the week from NewOrleansPast.com (Facebook page, Today in New Orleans History) is Ms. Campanella’s entry for January 15th. The Tulane streetcar line rolled for the first time on 15-January-1871. Mules pulled the streetcars then. The line switched to electric streetcars in the 1890s. Tulane operated in “belt service” with the St. Charles line from 1900 to 1951. Listen to our podcast episode on “Riding the Belt” for more details on that.

NOPSI converted the West End streetcar line to diesel buses on 15-January, 1950, as part of the trend away from electric street rail operations. West End operated as steam train service until the 1890s. After that, electric streetcars ran out to the lakefront, along the east bank of the New Basin Canal. NOPSI retired streetcars on West End in 1950. The line ran until the 1960s, when it became the Canal-Lakeshore line.

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NOLA History Guy Podcast 22-June-2019 – WWI, Voudou

NOLA History Guy Podcast 22-June-2019 – WWI, Voudou

Two short segments on NOLA History Guy Podcast 22-June-2019

nola history guy podcast 22-june-2019

Exhibit from the WWI Museum

NOLA History Guy Podcast 22-June-2019

We’re back after a week off, while we celebrated LT Firstborn’s master’s degree! The submariner earned a master’s in Military History from the US Army Command and General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. He spent the year as a student living in Kansas City, MO. So, we went up to see him graduate and have him show us around.

On the last day of the adventure, last Monday, we went to the National WWI Museum and Memorial. While it’s natural for New Orleanians in particular to compare the museum here with the one in KC, they’re quite different.

St. John’s Eve

NOLA History Guy Podcast 22-June-2019

Clip from the New Orleans Times, 25-June-1870

Our pick of the week from Today in New Orleans History is a bit of a cheat. We picked Sunday, 23-June, because it’s St. John’s Eve. Pre-Christian religions celebrated the Summer Solstice for thousands of years. When Christianity moved into Northern Europe, the priests integrated pre-Christian celebrations into the church’s liturgical calendar. Mid-summer, the solstice, became the Feast of St. John. The night before offered pagans a chance to hold their rituals.

nola history guy podcast 22-june-2019

St. John’s Eve on Magnolia Bridge

In New Orleans, those “pagans” were Afro-Caribbeans, free and enslaved. They worked their spirits, their Loa, into the Christian framework.Those who respect the spirits of Voudon go out to Magnolia Bridge over Bayou St. John to celebrate the solstice on St. John’s Eve.

WWI Museum

nola history guy podcast 22-june-2019

WWI Memorial in Kansas City

TheĀ  memorial part of the WWI Museum and Memorial is over seventy years older than the museum. The foundation created to make the memorial broke ground in 1926. Generals, Admirals, politicians, and 60,000 members of the American Legion witnessed the event. The LibertyTower and adjacent buildings opened in 1926.

nola history guy podcast 22-june-2019

Exhibit from the WWI Museum

Until 2002, the museum portion operated from the two Beaux Arts buildings on either side of Liberty Tower. Kansas City followed New Orleans’ D-Day Museum, along with others, in upgrading. While the museum in KC isn’t as large as the WWII Museum, it’s comprehensive.

Link to my lecture from last week at the National World War II Museum.