Stores like 1303 St. Ann Street were a common sight in the Treme.
1303 St. Ann Street
Painting of the corner store at 1303 St. Ann Street by Boyd Cruise. Here’s the description of the painting from THNOC:
View of a corner building in Faubourg Tremé with a grocery sign. Parts of the rain gutter and gallery railing are missing.
The location is currently part of Armstrong Park, across from the Mahalia Jackson Theater. Chase painted 1303 St. Ann Street in 1938. Chase painted a lot of locations at this time for various federal projects.
This building displays a “Grocery” sign and two coffee advertisements, one for Luzianne and one for French Market. Even though Prohibition ended five years earlier, the store may not yet have returned to alcohol sales.
The owners chose not to put a name on their sign. That’s not surprising for the 1930s. Most customers shopping here walked from around the corner. While the big stores on Canal Street installed air-conditioning in the early 1930s, this store likely relied on fans and open windows. Without refrigeration, they offered dry goods, canned foods, flour, spices, etc. Neighbors looking for meat and seafood still walked over to the Treme Market. The transition to a wider inventory would have started at this time, but WWII slowed the process down for ten or so years.
Alvik Boyd Cruise was born in 1909, and came to New Orleans in 1928. Read this great profile of him at 64 Parishes. His body of work contains a number of architectural paintings commissioned for a Historic American Buildings Survey of the French Quarter. The National Park Service started the HABS project in 1933. It’s currently administered by the NPS and the Library of Congress. The HABS survey of Canal Station is a great example of the product.
64 Parishes notes that Cruise made use of “plan books” archived at the Orleans Parish Notarial Archives to create representative portraits of various structures. While 1303 St. Ann Street isn’t explicitly listed as one of HABS paintings (the survey was for the Quarter), it’s certainly of that style.
Cruise later became the first director of The Historic New Orleans Collection.