Krauss Warehouse Building #KraussFriday

Krauss Warehouse Building #KraussFriday

Krauss warehouse building on Iberville Street supported the store.

krauss warehouse

Krauss warehouse building

The Krauss Company used this seven-story building at 201 N. Front Street (Front and Iberville) as warehouse space in the 1930s to the 1960s. The store, located at 1201 Canal, was only in the block between Canal and Iberville at the time. The building was originally part of the Louisiana Sugar Exchange complex, until that business closed in the 1930s. The photo is undated, but the Frank Studios woody at the bottom right places it in the early 1950s.

Molasses

The Louisiana Sugar Exchange stood on Iberville and Front Streets from 1883ish until the early 1930s. The seven-story warehouse stood next to a ten-story “filter house.” Sugar syrup required filtration to remove impurities. Large plants use gravity to filter the product. Once the syrup was filtered, the plants processed it. They barreled the product as molasses, storing it in the warehouse. Molasses was easy to ship.

By the 1930s, sugar producers moved away from downtown New Orleans. They built larger processing facilities up or down the river. The filter house and warehouse stood unused.

Leon Heymann and Krauss

Krauss Department Store opened on Canal Street in 1903. The company expanded from the original two stories in 1911, adding a five-story extension. Leon Heymann, President of the Krauss company (and brother-in-law to the original four Krauss brothers) eventually acquired the entire 1201 block of Canal Street, back to Iberville. He then acquired the block behind the store, from Iberville to Bienville Streets. While he planned a service/warehouse building for that second block, World War II slowed that down. The second building didn’t happen until 1952. So, the warehouse space down by the river was an important part of the business.

Into the 1960s

The Krauss Company sold the 201 N. Front building after the completion of the service building behind the store. The 201 N. front building changed hands a few times in the 1960s and 1970s. Folks may remember the building as the location of “Victoria Station,” a train-themed restaurant where diners ate in railcars (as well as in the building).

One11 Hotel

The old warehouse building now houses the One11 Hotel, and its Batture Bistro and Bar.

Hat-tips

This photo is via HNOC. Tip of the hat to Mike Scott for his 2020 article about the building in Da Paper.

Krauss Discount Shoes 1955

Krauss Discount Shoes 1955

Krauss discount shoes, a staple of the department store.

Krauss discount shoes

Ad in the Times-Picayune, 27-March-1955, for Krauss Department Store. Krauss announced a new “Discount Shoe Department” here, in a Sunday edition of Da Paper. While I usually prefer to make blog posts that focus on images, maps, etc., there are times when a newspaper ad reveals a lot about the culture of a New Orleans institution. Even Krauss discount shoes.

$2 shoes! This is the stuff for which Krauss was legend. It goes back to the four founding brothers. The Krauss brothers were bachelors. They clearly enjoyed going off on jaunts to New York periodically. On those outings, they scored merchandise from inside the city’s garment district.

Fire sales offered opportunities for Krauss. The usual procedure was to write off an entire lot of goods if it came close to a store or warehouse fire. Sure, a percentage of the lot had to be thrown out. The manufacturer or store recovered the value of the entire lot, however. Insurance covered most, if not all, of the merchandise.

Send it to New Orleans

It wasn’t just fire sales. Stores along the East Coast wrote off things that didn’t sell, weren’t as stylish, etc. Deep-discounting such merchandise didn’t help. Customers avoided those items. Women preferred to wear popular items (imagine that). Going to church in shoes everyone knows were deep-discounted because they didn’t sell? Nah.

The brothers rolled with this. Women in New Orleans never saw those shoes, dresses, etc. Wearing discount shoes to Canal Street? Not a problem. Who knew? And the price was right.

Into the 1950s

So, the brothers jumped at opportunities. The store gained the reputation of quality goods at affordable prices. The company adopted the casual strategy as company policy. While a trip to New York by a Krauss yielded profit, a permanent presence continued it. The company set up a buyer’s office in NYC. The buyer kept his ear to the ground. Krauss jumped at bulk-purchase opportunities.

After the expansion of the store in 1952, this strategy grew. From the original two floors of 1903 to filling out the full block of 1201 Canal, Krauss maintained good warehouse and stockroom space. Then the second building opened in 1952. They moved all the warehouse space to the building between Iberville and Bienville streets. The Canal Street front became more retail floor space. Bring in the $2 shoes!

NOPSI 801 1953 #StreetcarSaturday

NOPSI 801 1953 #StreetcarSaturday

NOPSI 801 outbound to the Cemeteries in the Spring of 1953.

nopsi 801

NOPSI 801

Our friend Aaron Handy III brings us a Canal Street photo with a bit to unpack! Here’s Aaron’s caption from the Facebook group, Vintage New Orleans Transit:

NOPSI Perley car 801, assigned to Tulane Belt, passes Krauss on Canal Street as she heads outbound for the cemeteries in 1953, not long before she was consigned to the scrap pile in April of that year.

The 800-series arch roof cars date back, like the 900s, to 1923-24. New Orleans Railway and Light Company purchased arch roofs from Southern Car Company in 1915. Perley A. Thomas took his designs with him when he left Southern Car Company. The reorganized utility and transit company for the city, New Orleans Public Service, Incorporated (NOPSI), purchased more arch roofs to supplement the 1915 acquisitions.

800s vs 900s

Perley A. Thomas Car Works delivered the 800s first. They received feedback from NOPSI engineers and motormen. This feedback resulted in design modifications. The 900-series reflects those changes. The most visible change from the 800s was powered doors. The motorman and conductor used a manual handle to open 800-series doors, like you see on an old-style school bus. The 900s sport powered doors.

NOPSI 801 Scrapped!

Aaron notes that the company scrapped NOPSI 801 in April, 1953. By that Spring, only the Canal Street and St. Charles Avenue lines ran streetcars. NOPSI replaced streetcars with buses on all other transit lines by then. NOPSI scrapped the 800-series cars still in service. By May, 1964, when Canal converted to bus service, all but 35 of the 900-series were sold or scrapped.

1201 Canal

The unidentified photographer catches NOPSI 801 as it passes Krauss Department Store, at 1201 Canal Street. The streetcar just passed Terminal Station, the passenger terminal used by Southern Railway and the Gulf, Mobile, and Ohio Railroad. Trains for these railroads departed the tracks behind Terminal Station. They turned north, traveling parallel to St. Louis Street in Mid-City. The trains progressed to the “Back Belt,” then out of town over the Southern (now Norfolk Southern) “five-mile bridge” over Lake Pontchartrain.

This photo captures Terminal Station during its last full year of operation. Construction of the new Union Passenger Terminal would be completed in 1954. Terminal Station, along with four other passenger rail stations, merged their traffic into UPT. The city ordered the stations demolished, lest the railroads have second thoughts on the union station.

 

Krauss Sugar Bowl 1955 #KraussFriday

Krauss Sugar Bowl 1955 #KraussFriday

Krauss Sugar Bowl 1955 presented store ads for all sports.

krauss sugar bowl 1955

Krauss Sugar Bowl 1955

Undated photo of a display at Krauss Department Store, December, 1954 to January, 1955. The display presented equipment and memorabilia from the various schools participating in the Sugar Bowl events. The sign at the bottom says, “Whatever your sport, you’ll find ‘Top Flite” EQUIPMENT — in Krauss Fine Sporting Goods Department – 4th Floor.

The 1955 Sugar Bowl Classic

The 20th Annual Sugar Bowl Classic football game featured Navy (the US Naval Academy) versus Ole Miss (the University of Mississippi). The teams played in Tulane Stadium on Saturday, January 1, 1955. The Midshipmen defeated the Rebels, 21-0. Joe Gattuso of Navy earned the MVP award. A crowd of 80,190 watched the game in the Uptown New Orleans stadium. ABC presented the game live.

Other Sports

While the football game is the biggest part of any Sugar Bowl Classic, schools compete in other sports over the holiday break. This Krauss Sugar Bowl 1955 display lists the sports and schools:

  • BOXING – Maryland vs LSU – Dec 28 – 8:30pm – Municipal Auditorium
  • TENNIS – Dec 28 – 29 & 30 – New Orleans Country Club – Matches begin 10am, Tues & Wed – 1pm Thursday
  • BASKETBALL – Wed Dec 29th and Thurs Dec 30th – Loyola U Field House. Games begin at 7:45pm and 9:30pm each night. First Parings – Loyola vs Notre Dame – Bradley vs Holy Cross
  • TRACK – Friday, Dec 31 – 2:30pm – City Park Stadium
  • FOOTBALL – Saturday, Jan 1 Navy vs Mississippi Tulane Stadium
  • REGATTA – Fri Dec 31st 12:30pm & Sunday, Jan 2, 10am at the SOUTHERN YACHT CLUB

So, the Sugar Bowl Classic offered a wide range of sporting excitment.

Sports and Sugar

This display presented more team memorabilia than sports equipment. Let’s face it, visitors aren’t looking to buy basketballs. Photos, autographed balls, and other items attracted the fans. Packages of Domino’s Sugar remind visitors of the connection between sugar and the city.

Railroad Relocation

Krauss Sugar Bowl 1955 was the first classic where the train station next to the store was closed. Terminal Station, a neighbor to Krauss since 1908, moved operations to Union Passenger Terminal in 1954. So, visitors riding Southern Railway and Gulf, Mobile, and Ohio emerged from their trains at the brand-new station on Loyola Avenue.

Hugo Kahn City Council Proclamation

Hugo Kahn City Council Proclamation

Hugo Kahn City Council Proclamation recognized the President of the Krauss Corporation.

hugo kahn city council proclamation

Hugo Kahn City Council Proclamation

In the waning days of Krauss Department Store, appreciations and tributes poured into the store. Mr. Hugo Kahn, President of the Krauss Corporation, accepted most of these on behalf of the store. The New Orleans City Council went one step further, recognizing Hugo personally.

Hugo Kahn

Mr. Hugo Kahn came to New Orleans in 1967. Mr. Jimmy Heymann was President of Krauss at the time. He succeeded his father, Leon Heymann, who died in 1963. Heymann hired Kahn as Controller of Krauss Department Store. Since Jimmy’s son, Jerry, indicated he wasn’t interested in joining the family business, Jimmy sought to bring someone in to take over the store when he retired.

Hugo and his family came to the US in 1938. He told me that, after Kristallnacht, his father packed up the family and they left Germany. Hugo likes to tell people he got his Master’s from UNO. When a University of New Orleans alum like me says, “oh, I went to UNO, too,” Hugo then adds, “I went to University of Nebraska, Omaha.” Or, as both schools say, “the other UNO.” So, Kahn was working in Omaha, and a headhunter called. The headhunter inquired if he would be interested in a position at a department store in New Orleans. He accepted. That began his 30+ year relationship with Krauss.

The Proclamation

Kahn and the Heymanns announced they would close Krauss in October, 1997. Many people and organizations recognized the almost-century run for the store. This proclamation recognizes Kahn, “…with commendations for the exemplary business and civic contributions he made to the community.”

The proclamation is signed by:

  • Peggy Wilson, Council President
  • Jim Singleton, Council-At-Large
  • Suzanne Haik Terrell, District A
  • Oliver Thomas, Jr., District B
  • Troy Carter, District C
  • Roy E. Glapion, Jr., District D
  • Ellen Hazeur-Distance, District E

Hugo Kahn continued on as President of the Krauss Corporation after the store closed. He supervised the sale of the property at 1201 Canal and other locations.

Zoom Talk 2020-03-19 – Golden Age of Canal Street

Zoom Talk 2020-03-19 – Golden Age of Canal Street

Zoom Talk 2020-03-19

Zoom Talk 2020-03-19

https://www.dropbox.com/s/e0mrfn3mftjm4dz/zoom_0.mp4?dl=0

I’ve presented this talk to several groups in the last year or so. With everyone holed up because of Covid-19, I did the talk yesterday (19-March) via Zoom. It’s a bit long, because I was sorting out the use of Zoom, so you’ll need to fast-forward through the first 20 minutes of the talk to get to its actual beginning.

Also, TIL: it’s too long for YouTube. I’ll edit out that first portion and get it up there over the weekend. If you’d like to view it now, the link will let you download the MP4 version.

Enjoy!