St. Aloysius, 1925 #BOSH

St. Aloysius, 1925 #BOSH

St. Aloysius 1925

st. aloysius

St. Aloysius College, 1925. (Frack Studios photo, via HNOC)

St. Aloysius – New School for 1925

St. Aloysius College moved into their new home on Esplanade and North Rampart in 1925. The original building was a lovely mansion that was owned by the Ursuline Sisters. In 1892, the Ursulines decided to move their school uptown. The Brothers of the Sacred Heart were in a house on Barracks and Chartres at the time. The BOSH jumped on the Esplanade Avenue house, The Aloysius student body grew now that the Institute had some room to grow.

Streetcars!

The corner of Esplanade and Rampart was an active transit location. The Canal and Esplanade Belt lines turned there. When the streetcars ran in “belt” service, they ran continuously in one direction. In this case, the Canal Street line ran out Canal, then turned right onto City Park Avenue at the Cemeteries. The streetcars went down City Park Avenue to the Bayou Bridge, then crossed Bayou St. John. They then went down Esplanade Avenue to N. Rampart. From Rampart, they turned right to go up to Canal Street. The streetcar turned left, went around Liberty Place, which turned them around do it all again.

The Esplanade line did the opposite run. From Canal and Rampart, Esplanade streetcars went down Rampart, then turned to go up Esplanade to the Bayou. From there, they went up City Park Avenue, turning left at Canal Street. They then went down Canal, to Liberty Place.

That’s why they were called “belt” lines. The St. Charles and Tulane lines are the more well-known belts in town, since they operated into the 1950s. Canal/Esplanade belt service was discontinued in 1931.

Eminent Domain

Streetcar ridership increased through the early 1920s. New Orleans Public Service, Incorporated (NOPSI) worked with the city to expand and improve the streetcar system. When it came to Esplanade and N. Rampart, NOPSI wanted to expand the neutral ground on Rampart. They sought city approval to widen the street. That required the city to acquire about a foot of right-of-way from the property owners.

The Institute were smart men. They didn’t voluntarily sell that foot of ground on the corner. The BOSH forced the city to use its “eminent domain” authority. They made the city pay to demolish the old mansion when buying the right-of-way. The Brothers then built the building most of us know as St. Aloysius College.

Back to School

This is one of the earliest photos of the new building. Franck Studios took it for either the city or NOPSI. You can see the street work just completed on Rampart. The boys started the 1925-26 school year in their new home. By the 1960s, the rush to build caught up with the school. That’s the prologue to the story of Brother Martin High School, which began its 50th year, educating young men, this week.

Brothers of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans

by Edward J. Branley

st. aloysius

When New Orleanians ask Where did you go to school? they aren t asking what university you attended but what high school. That tells a native a lot about you. For over 150 years, the Brothers of the Sacred Heart have educated the young men of New Orleans, giving them the opportunity to answer the question proudly by replying St. Stanislaus, St. Aloysius, Cor Jesu, or Brother Martin. Images of America: Brothers of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans showcases photographs, illustrations, and maps tracing the role of the institute in making New Orleans a vibrant and dynamic city, able to overcome even the worst of adversity. From their roots in the French Quarter, moving to Faubourg Marigny, and finally settling in Gentilly, the Brothers of the Sacred Heart continue to make a major contribution to metro New Orleans and Southeast Louisiana.
Product Details

ISBN: 9780738585673
ISBN-10: 073858567X
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing (SC)
Publication Date: April 12th, 2010
Pages: 127
Language: English
Series: Images of America (Arcadia Publishing)

NORTA 933 on the Riverfront Line? #StreetcarSaturday

NORTA 933 on the Riverfront Line? #StreetcarSaturday

NORTA 933 on Riverfront?

NORTA 933

900-series NORTA 933 on the Riverfront line, 20-Jan-2008 (courtesy Commons user KimonBerlin)

NORTA 933 on Riverfront?

I don’t remember seeing this photo before. After Hurricane Katrina, it took some time to get both the St. Charles and Canal lines back to fully operational status. The green arch roofs were, for the most part OK, but the red, 2000-series cars flooded.

Getting the streetcars running

The overhead wiring on St. Charles was a mess, but it was for the most part fine on Canal. The rail department borrowed a voltage rectifier from MBTA in Boston, connected it to Entergy power, and was able to deliver power to the Canal line in December, 2005. After a few test runs, it was decided to run the 1923-vintage cars on Canal while the Von Dullens were repaired/rebuilt.

Historic Landmark concerns.

The designation of the St. Charles line and its 35 900-series streetcars as a National Historic Landmark is very important for NORTA and the city. The decision to operate the green streetcars on “revenue runs” off St. Charles was technically a violation of the landmark designation. The line and those streetcars were supposed to be frozen-in-time at the point it was put on all the lists.

Yeah, that’s important, but Hurricane Katrina was quite the exception. The city, and NORTA knew that running those streetcars was essential for showing that the city was on the road to recovery. Things were indeed looking less dire by December, 2005.

900s on Canal Street

Seeing the green streetcars run on Canal Street was a flashback for those of us who remember them from 1964 and earlier. The arch roofs had been a mainstay on the Canal iine since the “Palace” cars were retired in the mid-1930s. They ran on Canal until the line was converted to bus operation in May, 1964. From the 1930s, the Canal and West End lines ran the 800s and 900s. West End converted to buses in 1948.

New Places for the 900s

In addition to once again running up and down Canal Street, the aftermath of Katrina saw the green streetcars run on track that didn’t exist when they were limited to St. Charles in 1964. One year after Canal re-opened in 2004, the “Carrollton Spur” went operational. Every third 2000-series Von Dullen car on the line made a right turn, running down N. Carrollton Avenue, to City Park. They pulled into a two-track terminal there at Esplanade Avenue and Bayou St. John, then returned to downtown.

Riverfront

Since the 400-series arch roofs were also damaged in the storm’s flooding, the Riverfront line had the same issues Canal did. NORTA decided to have the 900s make a left turn at Canal and the riverfront. They ran down to Esplanade Avenue, along the riverfront edge of the French Quarter. When they hit the French Market Terminal (stop 1 on the Riverfront line), they changed directions and returned to Cemeteries and City Park.

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

cemeteries terminal

New Orleans: The Canal Streetcar Line

The clanging of a streetcar’s bell conjures images of a time when street railways were a normal part of life in the city. Historic Canal Street represents the common ground between old and new with buses driving alongside steel rails and electric wires that once guided streetcars.
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.

Product Details

ISBN: 9781531610920
ISBN-10: 1531610927
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing Library Editions
Publication Date: March 24th, 2004
Pages: 130
Language: English

Carrollton Station – NOPSI 813, 1948

Carrollton Station – NOPSI 813, 1948

Carrollton Station

Carrollton Station in 1948

New Orleans Public Service, Incorporated (NOPSI) streetcar 813, on the ladder tracks on Jeanette Street, behind Carrollton Station. Streetcars based uptown returned to the barn by turning onto Jeanette Street from S. Carrollton Ave. They approached the barn, then turned in on one of the “ladder tracks”. Those are the tracks you see in the foreground.

Over the years, NOPSI operated several streetcar stations. By 1948, the Arabella Station on Magazine Street focused on “trackless trolleys”, or “trolley buses”. The streetcars were stored and serviced at Carrollton Station.

NOPSI 813

NOPSI 813 was a steel, arch roof streetcar. The transit company acquired the 800- and 900-series arch roofs in 1923-1924. The designer was Perley A. Thomas. Thomas worked for the Southern Car Company of High Point, North Carolina, when he created the arch roof design. New Orleans Railway and Light Company, the forerunner to NOPSI, bought arch roofs from Southern from 1910-1915. They became the 400-series streetcars.

The roll board on NOPSI 813 in this photo indicates it operated on the Tulane Belt on this day.

Southern Car Company folded in 1916. So, Thomas started his own company in the wake of the closure. He refined the design and NOPSI placed an large order in 1923. Thomas subcontracted some of the construction to other companies. The arch roof streetcars roll along the St. Charles Avenue line to this day.

800s and 900s

While the arch roofs were similar, the main visible difference between the 800 and 900 series streetcars was the doors. On the 800s, the doors were manual. The motorman (front) and conductor (rear) had to manually operate the doors, like a school bus driver, with a big mechanical handle. On the 900 series streetcars, the doors were powered, so the motorman could just hit a switch.

In 1964, when NOPSI discontinued the Canal Street line, the company kept 35 of the green arch roof streetcars. They were all from the 900 series. A few of the 800s were sold to private concerns like trolley museums, but most were cut in half and destroyed.

 

Retail Giants – Tennessee Williams / New Orleans Literary Festival – FRIDAY!

Retail Giants – Tennessee Williams / New Orleans Literary Festival – FRIDAY!

Retail Giants

Retail Giants at the Tennessee Williams Festival!

The Tennessee Williams / New Orleans Literary Festival is a fantastic annual event. It’s in the French Quarter. I’ve been asked to be part of a panel titled Retail Giants. The panel will be on Friday, March 23, at 10am. It will be in the Queen Anne Ballroom of the Hotel Monteleone.

The Festival runs from Wednesday, March 21 to Sunday, March 25. Festival HQ is open on the Mezzanine level of the Hotel Monteleone. The hotel is at 214 Royal Street. HQ operates from Thursday-Sunday, from 9am to 4pm. There’s lots of interesting talks, discussion panels, and other events. Check out the full festival schedule.

Retail Giants – The Panel

Here’s the blurb on the panel:

 

New Orleans is a nostalgic town that cherishes its diehard institutions, particularly the retailers who became household names over multiple generations. David Johnson of the New Orleans Museum of Art moderates a panel of authors whose work chronicles where New Orleanians made groceries, furnished homes, and browsed for bric-a-brac. David Cappello is the biographer of John G. Schwegmann; Ed Branley writes about Krauss Department Store, and John Magill is the author of a recent book about that popular commercial and social thoroughfare, The Incomparable Magazine Street.

I’m looking forward to this. The authors know their stuff! So, I’ll be the lightweight in this group.

Krauss, Maison Blanche, and Streetcars!

mb book

Maison Blanche Department Stores, by Edward J. Branley

I was invited to participate on this panel because of the latest book, Krauss – The New Orleans Value Store, but my earlier book, Maison Blanche Department Stores, fits the subject wonderfully. I’ll be talking both Krauss and MB, and how retail evolved on Canal Street. There’s lots of New Orleans history here, as Canal Street was the nexus of many separate communities, as folks came downtown to shop. Therefore, we’ll talk a bit about streetcars as well, since they were an integral part of shopping on Canal and Magazine Streets.

There will be a lot of stories and fun on Friday. I’m looking forward to seeing y’all there.

Cemeteries Fog on Canal Street #canalstreetcar

Cemeteries Fog on Canal Street #canalstreetcar

Cemeteries Fog

Fog at the Cemeteries

NORTA2017 at Canal Street and City Park Avenue, preparing to turn right. (Edward Branley photo)

Cemeteries Fog

It’s a beautiful morning now (0938CST), but around 0715, fog blanketed Mid-City New Orleans. Cemeteries fog is at once beautiful and dangerous. Misty, foggy cemeteries are wonderful for writers and poets. That same fog is awful for drivers!

NORTA Cemeteries Terminal

NORTA2017 (above) waits to turn right onto City Park Avenue. This is the new, “extended” route of the line. Prior to August, streetcars stopped where 2017 is now. NORTA completed road construction on the new Cemeteries Terminal two weeks ago. The Canal Street line still turns off on the Carrollton spur, though. NORTA and its contractors continue work on the streetcar portion of the project. It looks like they’re still working on the electronics and switching. Cemeteries fog takes a technical operation into the ethereal plane.

Terminal Testing

cemeteries fog

NORTA2021 at the New Cemeteries Terminal (Edward Branley photo)

Almost daily, now, a streetcar travels down to the new terminal. The contractors test various aspects of terminal operations. Yesterday (20-December), NORTA2024 had the duty. The terminal has two streetcar tracks. The streetcars turn from City Park Avenue, onto Canal Boulevard, then stop on one of those two tracks. The inbound trip begins there. The terminal tracks merge into a single inbound track. The streetcar turns right onto City Park, then left onto Canal.

Riders disembark when the streetcar pulls into the terminal. They then walk up the neutral ground, to the two bus lanes, if they want to transfer to a NORTA or Jefferson Transit bus. The safety improvements here are excellent.

Return to Regular Operations

I’m not sure exactly when the streetcars will resume regular operations on Canal Street. The re-opening of auto traffic was the “big story” for the media. Once the intersection’s closure ended, the terminal went out of sight, out of mind. The “Cemeteries Shuttle” continues to connect riders from the foot of Canal to Carrollton and Canal.

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

Cemeteries Fog

The clanging of a streetcar’s bell conjures images of a time when street railways were a normal part of life in the city. Historic Canal Street represents the common ground between old and new with buses driving alongside steel rails and electric wires that once guided streetcars.
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.

NORTA Cemeteries Terminal – Almost Done

NORTA Cemeteries Terminal – Almost Done

NORTA Cemeteries Terminal

(cross posted to Canal Streetcar (dot com))

norta cemeteries terminal

Canal Blvd, before construction on the Cemeteries Terminal began.

NORTA Cemeteries Terminal is almost finished

The terminal at the foot of Canal Street, NORTA Cemeteries Terminal, is nearing completion. Construction began back in August, and it all appears to be coming along on schedule.

When the Canal Street line opened in 2004, the NORTA Cemeteries Terminal was a single-track affair. The outbound and inbound tracks merged to one. The operator changed the poles at the terminal, and went back downtown on the inbound (right-hand side if you’re looking towards the river) track.

1964

norta cemeteries terminal

The pre-1964 Cemeteries Terminal

When the line switched to buses in 1964, the terminal was two-track. It looked like the terminal at S. Carrollton and S. Claiborn Avenues. Canal Street’s auto traffic increased over the years, so they city cut back the neutral ground at the foot of Canal. There wasn’t enough space left to build a two-track terminal.

Rider Safety

NORTA Cemeteries Terminal

Plan for the new terminal

The additional traffic presented an additional complication. Streetcar riders were trapped in the middle of an incredibly busy intersection. Crossing Canal Street on either side is dangerous for pedestrians, even with crosswalks and Walk/Don’t Walk signs. Listen to our podcast on this subject for more details.

The city always planned for the NORTA Cemeteries Terminal to be temporary. The original funding for the Canal Street line included $10M to build an off-street terminal. The best plan called for outbound streetcars to make a right-turn onto City Park Avenue, travel that street for a block, then turn left onto Canal Boulevard. The actual terminal would be in that first block of Canal Blvd. The streetcars would loop around, go up City Park Avenue for a block, then left-turn onto Canal Street for the inbound run.

Opposition

norta cemeteries terminal

Car Stop Sign on Canal Street

The residents of Lakeview fought the project for over ten years, complaining that the construction would inconvenience them. Liability issues, combined with the possibility of losing the federal money forced NORTA’s hand. The project got the green-light earlier this year.

Progress – Canal Street

norta cemeteries terminal

Cemeteries Terminal progress, 22-Nov-2017 – Canal Street

This is Canal Street, looking lakebound, with Greenwood Cemetery in the background. The track and overhead catenary is fully double-track.

NORTA Cemeteries Terminal

Canal Street at City Park Avenue, 22-Nov-2017

Moving up from the last photo. The track and overhead wires make a right-turn at City Park Avenue from Canal Street. Streetcars haven’t turned right onto City Park Avenue since belt service ended in 1932.

City Park Avenue and Canal Boulevard

The view from City Park Avenue. Looking down City Park Avenue, towards Canal Boulevard. The track is complete, and a test run of a 2000-series streetcar took place this morning.

NORTA Cemeteries Terminal

Canal Street, from City Park Avenue.

Looking back on Canal Street, from City Park Avenue.

NORTA Cemeteries Terminal

Canal Street line terminal on Canal Boulevard.

The end of the line on Canal Boulevard. This design allows riders to get off the streetcar, then board buses, without having to cross busy streets.

Now that all the track is complete, we’ll try to get photos of Von Dullens on the move!