Greenwood Cemetery 1930s via a Franck Studios photo.
Greenwood Cemetery 1930s
The Fireman’s Charitable and Benevolent Association (FCBA) incorporated in 1834. Its purpose was initially as a burial society. Firefighting was a volunteer job in the 19th Century. If a firefighter lost his life on the job, there were no survivor benefits. The family was left having to bury their loved one.
The fire companies recognized this problem. They formed the FCBA to take care of their fallen colleagues. Ten years after its founding, FCBA operated two cemeteries. Cypress Grove Cemetery stands on Canal Street and City Park Avenue, on the “river-uptown” side. FCBA built Greenwood Cemetery across from the end of Canal Street. Greenwood Cemetery stands witness to all the changes and developments in the Canal streetcar line in its 160-year history.
We’ve detailed the history of Greenwood and described its main monuments. This photo features two of those monuments, the Firemen’s and the BPOE Lodge 30 tumulus. FCBA built the Fireman’s Monument in 1884. By then, FCBA sold a number of plots in Cypress Grove and Greenwood. While Cypress Grove contained a number of “society” mausoleums, Greenwood sold more plots to families. Additionally, the demand for affordable cemetery plots increased in the wake of the Southern Rebellion. Greenwood’s design focused on offering plots large enough for one- or two-place tombs. The distance between tombs is minimal.
Even though the firefighter tombs were in Cypress Grove, the front of Greenwood offered the grand view. The Fireman’s Monument is a cenotaph, rather than a grave. Sculptor Alexander Doyle created the fireman statue. The statue represents firefighters of the time, rather than a specific fire company.
Lodge 30 of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks desired a “society” tomb. They constructed a classic “mound” tumulus, similar to the Army of Tennessee (Louisiana Division) structure in Metairie Cemetery. The Lodge #30 tumulus features a massive statue of an elk on the top. Greenwood Cemeteries 1930s presents other large tombs in its front area.
Streetcars operated in all directions at Canal Street and City Park in the 1930s. The Canal/Esplanade Belts used tracks going right in this photo, heading on City Park Avenue. The West End line turned left at the end of Canal Street. Its streetcars traveled along the front of Greenwood Cemetery 1930s, then turned right to head out to the lakefront.
Greenwood Cemetery 1930s is a Franck Studios photo via HNOC.
Sacred Heart Old/New – view of the new church before the old was demolished.
Sacred Heart Old/New
John Tibule Mendes shot this photo of Sacred Heart Old/New on 2-March-1924. He captured a moment, just after the completion of the parish’s new church and before the old building was demolished.
Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish
Located in the 3200 block of Canal Street, between S. Lopez and S. Rendon Streets, the Archdiocese created the parish in 1879. By 1882, Sacred Heart Old/New operated out of a three-room building. That first building housed both the rectory and the church. The parishoners built their first church in the 1880s. Additionally, the parish opened a school, first in a two-room classroom building.
Louis Armstrong was baptized in the “old” church of Sacred Heart Old/New.
By 1920, the parish desired a larger church. They built the “new” church next to the existing building. The new church stands to the left in this Mendes photo. Archbishop Shaw dedicated the completed church in 1924. Sacred Heart Old/New saw the old church demolished in 1924. The parish replaced the church with a new school building.
Sacred Heart of Jesus operated an elementary school in their buildings for decades. They closed the school in the 1940s. It reopened as a high school during the war. The school initially admitted both boys and girls. As the war progressed, however, fewer boys enrolled. So, the school adjusted. It became an all-girls school.
Since New Orleans already had a girls school named “Sacred Heart,” a second school required explanation. The first school, Academy of the Sacred Heart, operates on St. Charles Avenue. Locals referred to this school as “Sacred Heart Academy,” or Sacred Heart Uptown. When Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish opened their high school, it became “Sacred Heart on Canal.”
The Canal Street school re-branded as “Seton Academy” in the 1980s, in an attempt to eliminate the same-name confusion. The school closed in 1998. Many of the girls of Seton Academy moved to Redeemer High School in Gentilly. The merged school re-branded as “Redeemer-Seton.” The combined school closed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
This photo’s caption, via HNOC:
View of the 3200 block of Canal Street showing two churches and other buildings along the street. The view is made from the far side of the street and shows the neutral ground with streetcar tracks. A streetcar and automobile are also in view.
The streetcar to the left of the churches is a “Palace” car, built by the American Car Company and operated by NOPSI. It’s running on the Canal/Esplanade belt, or the West End line.
NOPSI 801 outbound to the Cemeteries in the Spring of 1953.
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.
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.
NOPSI 968 on the South Claiborne Line in 1949
One of the 1923-vintage arch roof streetcars, NOPSI 968 traveling along S. Claiborne Avenue. The streetcar approaches the end of the line
on October 30, 1949. The Claiborne line ran from downtown/CBD out to S. Carrollton Avenue. Photograph by William T. Harry.
South Claiborne Line
New Orleans Railway and Light Company (NORy<) opened the South Claiborne line on 22-February-1915. The original route wound its way uptown, but ran all the way on S. Claiborne after 1916:
- Start – Canal and St. Charles
- Up St. Charles to Howard
- Turn from Howard to S. Rampart, then Clio, then S. Claiborne
- Out S. Claiborne to S. Carrollton
- Return the same basic route, going on Erato instead of Clio.
S. Claiborne ran this route from 1916 until it was converted to buses on 5-January-1953. Note that the Claiborne (North) line operated on the “downtown” side of Canal, separate from this line.
S. Claiborne originally operated Ford, Bacon, and Davis streetcars. The FB&D engineering firm designed these streetcars specifically for New Orleans. NOPSI upgraded the line with the 1923 arch roofs. The arch roofs ran on S. Claiborne until it switched to buses.
Neutral Ground operation
While neutral ground operation was common in New Orleans, the S. Claiborne line did it with style. The wide neutral ground on this avenue offered a wonderful view of Uptown/Backatown. As you can see in this photo, the inbound track isn’t visible. It’s out of frame on the right. S. Claiborne and S. Carrollton Avenues serves uptown as a major terminal. The St. Charles line terminates here, as do a number of bus lines, including S. Claiborne.
This streetcar operates on the St. Charles line to this day. It was one of the 35 900-series arch roofs retained by NOPSI when they converted the Canal line to bus service in 1964.
Thanks to Mike Palmieri for sharing this photo!
NOPSI 943 departing Canal Station, a month before the Canal line converted to buses.
NOPSI 943 departing Canal Station
The 1923-vintage arch roof cars operated on the St. Charles and Canal lines in the early 1960s. This photo shows car 943 departing Canal Station on April 24, 1964. NOPSI 943 spent the night on the outdoor track next to the station’s buildings. The operator eases the streetcar into the Canal Street neutral ground, for another day of moving New Orleanians.
Canal Station serviced both buses and streetcars in 1964. Warren Easton Senior High looms in the background. Buses rest in the lot between the streetcar facilities and the school. NORD owned that bus parking for decades. A baseball park occupied that block. NOPSI acquired it in the 1930s. The block originally provided outdoor space for streetcars. As the company converted transit routes from streetcars to buses, the block became bus parking.
The buildings comprising Canal Station date back to 1861. NOPSI’s stewardship of the station left a great deal to be desired. The company adopted a policy of “demolition by neglect” with respect to streetcars. By 1959, the company sold the city on eliminating streetcars altogether. When neighborhood groups along the St. Charles line learned of this, they forced a compromise. They agreed to allow NOPSI to convert the Canal line without opposition, so long as the company continued streetcar operation on St. Charles.
The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority demolished the Canal Station complex in the 1990s. They built a bus storage and maintenance facility on they site. NORTA returned the Canal line to streetcar operation in 2004. They installed new track on the line. NORTA also built a new streetcar barn behind the bus facility. Streetcars enter and exit the barn via tracks right across from Warren Easton, on N. Gayoso.
The iconic “Public Service” sign was similar to the one at Carrollton Station, on Willow Street, uptown.
Thanks to Aaron Handy, III, for sharing this photo on Facebook.
NOPSI Canal Station is usually photographed from Canal Street.
NOPSI Canal Station
The New Orleans City Railroad Company (NOCRR, the first incarnation) built the streetcar barn/station on Canal Street in 1860-61. This photo, from 1954, offers an interesting perspective, from the rear. The original facility consisted of three parts. NOCRR built an actual barn, for the mules, pre-electrification. Next to that, they built the streetcar facility. Additionally, they constructed a steam-train engine house. The engine facility stood right behind the buildings facing Canal Street. So, steam engines exited their shed, heading to West End. NOCRR ran steam from N. White Street out to the cemeteries, then the lake. Since that part of Canal Street was less ti at the time, they got away with the smoke and noise.
I came across an aerial photo of NOPSI Canal Station from 1921 during research for the streetcar book. New Orleans Railway & Light operated the streetcars at that time. While the steam operations vanished with electrification, the company expanded the streetcar facilities into the block between Iberville and Bienvile. In 1921, a New Orleans Recreation Department (NORD) ballpark separated Canal Station from the Boy’s High School (now Warren Easton). I hired a photographer to get me some contemporary shots of the facility. By 2004, the ballpark vanished. The current facility runs all the way to the school.
Railroad historian Mike Palmieri shared this photo on a Facebook group. Here’s his caption:
NOPSI – NEW ORLEANS – APR 1954 – WILLIAM T. HARRY image
This was a view of the streetcar storage yard at the New Orleans Public Service’s CANAL STATION and BUS GARAGE in the 2900-block of Canal Street, as seen from Iberville Street, and the cars which can be identified were the 942, 931, 943, 932 and 930. The first three of these were scrapped after the CANAL car line was discontinued 10 years later, but the other two survive on the ST. CHARLES line. The trolleybus parking area was off to the right, on the opposite side of Iberville.
So, by the 1950s, NOPSI converted that ballpark to outdoor bus and streetcar parking. Mr. Harry got photos of that side as well that we’ll share as we go along.