Streetcars Canals Baseball #StreetcarMonday in Mid-City

Streetcars Canals Baseball #StreetcarMonday in Mid-City

Streetcars Canals Baseball in Mid-City New Orleans

Streetcars Canals Baseball

Heinemann Park, 1915

Streetcars, Canals, Baseball!

In one of our podcast conversations with Derby Gisclair, we discussed aerial photos of Heinemann Park/Pelican Stadium. Derby explains the neighborhood around the stadium used by the Pelicans baseball club. While Heinemann Park wasn’t the first ballpark used by the AA-club, it was their home for most of their tenure.

This 1915 photo is amazing. It shows a football field, chalked out over the outfield, and a racing oval behind the fence. Derby suspects the racing oval dates from the amusement park the stadium replaced.

City Park Avenue to Tulane Avenue

streetcars canals baseball

Aerial view of the New Canal, running out to Lake Pontchartrain at the top, 1915

The Pelicans played ball at Crescent City Park, later known as Sportsman’s Park, until 1901. They moved to Tulane Avenue that year. Heinemann built the ballpark at Tulane and S. Carrollton in 1915. The team moved there that year.

streetcars canals baseball

Here’s the area behind the Halfway House, City Park Avenue and the New Canal. It’s a bit grainy, but you can see the patch of ground where Sportsman’s Park was located. NORD eventually built St. Patrick’s Park, a few blocks down, at S. St. Patrick and the New Canal.

Getting to the ballgame

streetcars canals baseball

S. Carrollton Avenue bridge over the New Basin Canal. It was demolished when the canal was filled in, late 1940s.

Pelican Stadium sat very close to the New Canal. A set of railroad tracks separated the park from the waterway. So, bridge crossed the Canal there. The streetcars used that bridge, then turned onto Tulane Avenue to continue their inbound run. So, baseball fans from Uptown rode the St. Charles line to get to the ballpark. Folks coming from downtown rode the Tulane line, down Tulane Avenue, to the ballpark.

So, I know we’ve talked about the Tulane line, particularly when it operated in “belt” service with the St. Charles line. It seems line some things pop up regularly. But hey, this is baseball! The area around S. Carrollton and Tulane was a nexus. The Tulane/St. Charles belt crossed the New Canal here. Passenger trains coming to town from the West rolled by, on their way to the Illinois Central’s Union Station. Folks bowled across the street at Mid-City Lanes. Therefore, the corner is important to many folks.

Especially baseball fans.

After the streetcars

streetcars canals baseball

Pelican Stadium, ca 1950

Belt service on the St. Charles and Tulane lines was discontinued in 1950. So, after that time, fans from Uptown rode the streetcar to its new terminus at S. Carrollton and S. Claiborne Avenues. They transferred to the Tulane bus line from there. The Tulane line provided trackless trolley service until 1964. After 1964, Tulane used regular diesel buses. While the railroads worked with the city on the new Union Passenger Terminal, they trains still stopped right here, a convenience for Uptown passengers. The other “belt service” in New Orleans was on Canal and Esplanade, which we discuss in my book on the Canal line.

This photo is likely from 1950, because the city resurfaced Tulane Avenue. So, they removed the streetcar tracks, leaving the overhead wires for trackless trolleys.

After Pelican Stadium

The stadium became the Fontainebleau Hotel after the stadium was demolished. So, the hotel became a mini-storage facility later. Now it’s condos and storage units.

 

 

 

NOLA History Guy Podcast 1-June-2019 – Baseball in New Orleans

NOLA History Guy Podcast 1-June-2019 – Baseball in New Orleans

Talking baseball! Derby Gisclair conversation on NOLA History Guy Podcast 1-June-2019

NOLA History Guy Podcast 1-June-2019

NOLA History Guy Podcast 1-June-2019

NOLA History Guy Podcast 1-June-2019

We have a LONG “long-form” podcast today! It’s our second conversation with S. Derby Gisclair, author and historian, about his book, Baseball in New Orleans. I had a great chat with Derby, up at the French Truck Coffee Shop on Magazine Street in the Garden District.

New Orleans Pelicans Baseball

NOLA History Guy Podcast 1-June-2019

Pelicans manager Jimmy Brown with two Loyola players, Moon Landrieu (l), and Larry Lassalle, 1948.

Most of Baseball in New Orleans focuses on the old New Orleans Pelicans. The club was around, in one form or another, from 1887 to 1977. The New Orleans Zephyrs arrived in 1993. So, the AAA-level club in Denver had to leave that city when they got a team in The Show, the Colorado Rockies. These professional teams anchored baseball interest in New Orleans for over 150 years.

Early ballparks

New Orleanians played baseball at several locations in the 1800s. The early Pelicans teams played at Sportsman’s Park. So, this ballpark sat just behind what became the “Halfway House,” later the Orkin Pest Control Building, on City Park Avenue. The ballpark operated from 1886 to 1900. The Pelicans moved to Athletic Park on Tulane Avenue in 1901.

Pelican Stadium

NOLA History Guy Podcast 1-June-2019

Heinemann Park/Pelican Stadium

In the early years of the Pelicans,Alexander Julius (A.J.) Heinemann, sold soft drinks at Pelicans games. Heinemann eventually joined the board of the club. He acquired the land at the corner of Tulane and S. Carrollton Avenues. So, Heinemann displaced a small amusement park called “White City.” Therefore, the Pelicans had a “serious” home. While the Pels were in the off-season, they moved the bleachers up Tulane Avenue to the new ground. The Pelicans played at Heinemann Park, later named Pelican Stadium, until its demolition in 1957. Derby has lots of stories about the ballpark in NOLA History Guy Podcast 1-June-2019.

Other Baseball Leagues

NOLA History Guy Podcast 1-June-2019

St. Aloysius and Loyola star (later Brother Martin and UNO coach) Tom Schwaner

Numerous leagues played in New Orleans. While the Pels played, amateur leagues also organized. They included workers at stores and businesses. So, these leagues played at local parks. High School and college teams also played. Derby’s books chronicle those teams. Special shout-outs to the “Brothers Boys! So, several BOSH young men appear in the book. So, one of them was St. Aloysius and Loyola Grad Tom Schwaner. Schwaner also coached Brother Martin and UNO. So, Gisclair also mentions the strong teams at Brother Martin High School in the early 1980s.

The Books of NOLA History Guy Podcast 1-June-2019

nola history guy podcast 1-june-2019

Baseball in New Orleans (Images of Baseball) (Paperback)

ISBN: 9780738516141
ISBN-10: 0738516147
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing (SC)
Publication Date: March 24th, 2004
Pages: 128
Language: English
Series: Images of Baseball

Baseball at Tulane University (Images of Baseball) (Paperback)

ISBN: 9780738542089
ISBN-10: 0738542083
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing (SC)
Publication Date: January 2007
Pages: 128
Language: English
Series: Images of Baseball

Early Baseball in New Orleans: A History of 19th Century Play (Paperback)

ISBN: 9781476677811
ISBN-10: 1476677816
Publisher: McFarland & Company
Publication Date: March 15th, 2019
Pages: 271
Language: English

Last Week’s Podcast, where we talk with Derby about Early Baseball. 

NOLA History Guy Podcast 25-May-2019 Doberge and Baseball

NOLA History Guy Podcast 25-May-2019 Doberge and Baseball

Talking Baseball on NOLA History Guy Podcast 25-May-2019

nola history guy podcast 25-May-2019

Early Baseball in New Orleans by S. Derby Gisclair

NOLA History Guy Podcast 25-May-2019

Our first long-form pod in a while! We feature this week a conversation with S. Derby Gisclair on his book, Early Baseball in New Orleans. We also drill in on this week’s “Today in New Orleans History” Pick.

Beulah Ledner

Ms. Campanella notes that Beulah Ledner moved her bakery on Metairie Road on 21-May-1970. I remember Ledner’s well, so it’s our pick of the week from her Today in New Orleans History page/website. I don’t have memories of Ms. Ledner as much as friends of my dad who worked for her. Her first bakery on Metairie Road was just a couple of doors down from American Legion Post 175. My dad was quite active in that post, and he would take us to the club when he wanted to hang out with his friends but needed to entertain the kids.

Beulah Ledner defined the doberge cake in New Orleans. This article by Judy Walker talks about the cookbook Ledner’s daughter wrote and includes some recipes.

Campanella also mentioned Beulah’s son, Albert. He passed away in 2017, at the age of 93. Here’s his obit. Quite the fascinating man!

New Orleans Past dot com

S. Derby Gisclair

This pod features the first of several conversations we’ll have with baseball historian S. Derby Gisclair. Derby is a fascinating man who out to write an autobiography! His first baseball book, Baseball in New Orleans, came out in 2004. He’s also written Baseball at Tulane University, and the book we’re discussing today, Early Baseball in New Orleans: A History of 19th Century Play.

We started our conversation with the Early Baseball book, for two reasons. It’s where the whole thing begins, and also, Derby talks about the book this week. He presents the book and subject at Octavia Books, on Octavia and Laurel Streets, uptown. The talk is at 6pm on Tuesday, 28-May. As Derby says in our talk, you can’t see the props on a podcast. So, go see him in person!

Last week’s pod.

 

Fortier High School football – friday night lights in the forties

Fortier High School football – friday night lights in the forties

Fortier High School football – FNL

fortier high school football

The Alcee Fortier High School football, 1940s

Fortier High School Football

This is a Franck Studios photo of a football team from Alcee Fortier High School. I’m thinking this is from the 1940s rather than the 1950s, but there’s so little to go on in terms of identification. They look like your basic football team from the time before integration.

Alcee Fortier High School

Fortier High School Football

Fortier High School, on Freret and Nashville, Uptown. The facility is now Lusher High School.

The school opened in 1931. Fortier occupied the Uptown block bounded by Freret, Joseph, Loyola, and Nashville, The main entrance fronted Freret Street. Fortier opened as an all-boys, all-white school. It integrated as part of the school district’s plan, in 1961. The student body lost lost white students steadily through the 1960s and 1970s, due to white flight.

Fortier offered German language classes prior to World War II. It was one of the few schools in the city that taught the language.

Hurricane Katrina

Fortier declined dramatically in quality in the 1990s. By the early 2000s, it was rated as one of the worst schools in the city. The Louisiana Legislature pointed to schools like Fortier and demanded changes. They created the Recovery School District. The state tasked RSD with taking over public schools in Orleans Parish. They believed the Orleans Parish School Board could not handle the job any longer.

Within a year of the RSD’s creation, Hurricane Katrina struck. The storm’s aftermath changed all the plans for public schools. RSD permanently closed many schools. Fortier was one of them. RSD authorized charter schools across the city. Those new schools occupied the buildings of many older, failing schools.

Lusher High School

Lusher Elementary School opened on Willow Street in Carrollton in 1917. The school board expanded Lusher, opening a middle school, in 1990. The middle school used the old Carrollton Courthouse. That building housed Benjamin Franklin High School until that school moved to the University of New Orleans campus.

Lusher Elementary and Middle converted to a charter school in the wake of Katrina. The community planned a high school, going back to 2003. The charter enabled them to move on those plans. They opened the Fortier Campus as Lusher High School in 2006.

Donald Newman, BM ’75, 1957-2018

Donald Newman, BM ’75, 1957-2018

Donald Newman

Donald Newman

Brother Martin High School Varsity Basketball Team, 1973-1974. LHSAA AAAA State Champs. Don Newman is #11, bottom right. (courtesy Brother Martin High School)

Donald Newman, BMHS Class of 1975

We lost a good guy yesterday. Don Newman was a year ahead of me at Brother Martin. He was a basketball player, a member of the 1973-1974 Louisiana LHSAA 4-A championship team. Newman was point guard for that team, and the next year, as a senior. He also played baseball while at BMHS.

After Brother Martin, Don went to LSU, for a year, where he played basketball and baseball. He transferred to Lake City, then Grambling, he played one game at Lake City and not at all for Grambling. Newman landed at University of Idaho, where he played from 1978-1980.

Pro Career

Don was drafted by the Boston Celtics in the third round in 1980. He was the last person they cut before the start of the 1980 season. He signed with the Montana Golden Nuggets of the CBA.

In 1981, Newman tried out for the Seattle Seahawks of the NFL, as a cornerback. He never played football in high school or college. He didn’t make the team, but did play in Canada,first for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Montreal Concordes, Ottawa Roughriders, and Hamilton TigerCats. He began his coaching career at high schools in Idaho. Newman got his degree from Idaho in 1987, and moved up to collegiate coaching.

Coaching

After coaching at Moscow (Idaho) High School, Newman took an assistant job at Washington State. He moved from there to head coach at Sacramento State, then Arizona State. He moved to the NBA from ASU, working as an assistant for the Bucks, Nets, Spurs, and Wizards. While with the Spurs, he earned two rings, as an assistant coach on the 2005 and 2007 championship teams. Newman was still with the Wizards when he passed yesterday.

High School Memories

Don was point guard on the “Robey team” in 1973-1974. Rick Robey was the classic big-man-in-the middle, and Don was the ball handler. Don was as important to the team as Robey, because when Rich would get into foul trouble, it was up to the rest of the guys to pick up the slack. Newman was the leader. Mind you, the rest of the team was pretty good as well, but Don was the best athlete, and I’ll go as far to say that he was a better overall athlete than Robey.

1974-1975

After the state win, Robey graduated and went on to the University of Kentucky, and then the Boston Celtics. That next year, it was up to the four juniors from the state team to keep it going. Newman, along with LeRoy Oliver, Reggie Hadley, and Rodney Montgomery were the subjects of many a “can they do it without Robey” articles. Junior Mike Litwinowicz stepped into the center position, when they weren’t running more of a small-ball offense. Sophomore Dwayne Vantress also got a bit of varsity time in 74-75.

The team didn’t repeat as state championships, but they did win the Catholic League a second year. While many at the school and in the media considered that a let-down, I was proud of those guys. They were under incredible pressure. Brother Martin won state in 1969-1970, 1970-1971, then again in 1974. The school also won state in football in the 1971 season. The combining of Cor Jesu and St. Aloysius made the teams from those early years powerhouses.

Statistician Memories

I didn’t know Don well, even back on Elysian Fields. I had one class with him, a one-semester religion class. I pretty much kept my head down in religion, but that’s a story for another time. I knew a lot about Don even though we weren’t really friends because I was a sports statistician. In the days before even electronic calculators, you had to be able to do two-digit division in your head to knock out shooting percentages. When Johnny Vitrano (JV coach and assistant Varsity coach) was breathing down your neck to get the halftime percentages back to Head Coach Tommy Kolb, you had to think fast!

But having coach bug us was part of the fun. The best perquisite of the statistician’s job was you got to sit at mid-court, at the scorer’s table. Front-row center to see these guys play. While Robey was gone, my junior year was much more exciting. There were a number of games in my sophomore year where I didn’t get to do the book for varsity. There were juniors and seniors who got the mid-court seats. By junior year, though, I was one of the lead statisticians. Keeping the score book or the shot chart for Don, LeRoy, Reggie, Snake, Mike, Bean (Vantress) was a blast. Yelling our lungs out for them up front, even on the other team’s home side–don’t tell Brother Neal, SC, but he should have charged us a fee for doing the games.

Rest in Power, Don. You were one of the good guys.

New Orleans History Books for Christmas – Part 3

New Orleans History Books for Christmas – Part 3

New Orleans History books make great gifts!

New Orleans History Books for Christmas – Part 3

Third part of a series. Part 1 here, Part 2 here.

Three more books you can run out to local stores or the usual online suspects to get before Christmas.

Baseball in New Orleans by S. Derby Gisclair

New Orleans History Books

Baseball in New Orleans by S. Derby Sinclair

Catchers and pitchers in The Show report on February 13, 2018. Know your New Orleans baseball history before it warms up! From the description:

In 1887, local businessmen and promoters secured a minor league franchise for the city of New Orleans in the newly formed Southern League, beginning the city’s 73-year love affair with the New Orleans Pelicans. From Shoeless Joe Jackson, to Hall of Famers Dazzy Vance, Joe Sewell, Bob Lemon, and Earl Weaver, to today’s stars such as Jeff Cirillo and Lance Berkman, the road to the majors brought many notable players through New Orleans. From these early beginnings to the present-day New Orleans Zephyrs of the AAA Pacific Coast League, local fans have continued the tradition of baseball in New Orleans.

Yeah, the “Babycakes” is an awful name, but it’s still baseball.

Crescent City Snow: The Ultimate Guide to New Orleans Snowball Stands (Paperback) by Megan Braden-Perry

new orleans history books

Crescent City Snow by Megan Braden-Perry

It’s chilly enough outside that you’re likely not thinking about snowballs right now. It’s still a great time to give this book to someone, to be prepared for the summer! From the description:

Crescent City Snow is part guidebook, part diary, and part biography of fifty snowball stands and their customers in the greater New Orleans area. Keep a copy of Crescent City Snow in the car for when you want to try a new place, and use the table in the back to record your own observations.

I was at a pop-up with Mz Megan last weekend. She’s looking really good, in spite of becoming a snowball expert! 🙂

New Orleans: The Canal Streetcar Line by Edward J. Branley

New Orleans History Books

New Orleans: The Canal Streetcar Line by Edward J. Branley

My first history book! I wrote this book in 2003-2004, and it marked the return of streetcars to Canal Street. From the description:

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.

So much fun to write, and it’s a great introduction to the city’s Main Street.

Links are to Octavia Books on Laurel and Octavia, uptown. You can find these books at all the usual suspects.

 

Krauss – The New Orleans Value Store

by Edward J. Branley

For almost one hundred years, generations of New Orleans shoppers flocked to Krauss. The Canal Street store was hailed for its vast merchandise selection and quality customer service. In its early days, it sold lace and fabric to the ladies of the notorious red-light district of Storyville. The store’s renowned lunch counter, Eddie’s at Krauss, served Eddie Baquet’s authentic New Orleans cuisine to customers and celebrities such as Julia Child. Although the beloved store finally closed its doors in 1997, Krauss is still fondly remembered as a retail haven. With vintage photographs, interviews with store insiders and a wealth of research, historian Edward J. Branley brings the story of New Orleans’ Creole department store back to life.