Colorized Sherman and his staff during the Southern Rebellion
I just love good colorization of old photos. Came across this one today, via a group I moderate (and I encourage you to consider) on the Book of Zucker, Vintage America Uncovered. The artist is Benoit Vienne. He posted it to the FB group, History Pictures.
Sherman and Staff
The caption of the original, black-and-white photo, at the Library of Congress:
Photograph shows Civil War general William Tecumseh Sherman with his staff including Oliver Otis Howard, John A. Logan, William B. Hazen, Jefferson C. Davis, Henry Warner Slocum, Joseph A. Mower and Francis P. Blair Jr. (Source: researcher J. Butler, 2017 and National Portrait Gallery)
So, the photo is listed as from the Southern Rebellion, but no additional specifics.
Sherman in Louisiana
So, what’s the big deal, other than it’s a colorization? Sherman has a significant antebellum connection to Louisiana. He was the first Superintendent of the Seminary of Learning of the State of Louisiana. That institution would later become Louisiana State University. LSU recognizes this heritage. Historians acknowledge that Sherman is, for all intents and purposes, LSU’s first President.
In 2017, the legendary political consultant (and Brothers Boy) James Carville wrote an opinion piece in Da Advocate that is part informational and part trolling, about Sherman and LSU. From the article:
Sherman served as “superintendent and professor of engineering, architecture, and drawing” at a time when LSU was nothing more than a single building populated by 40 ill-mannered students. “Of course,” Sherman said anyway, “I promise to be a father to them all.” And he was.
With so many people frothing at the mouth over removal of monuments to human trafficking in the city, this article raised quite the chuckle.
Sherman and New Orleans
The Seminary of Learning (also known as the “Men’s Seminary”) was near Pineville, Louisiana. So, Sherman didn’t have much contact with folks in the city. In his memoirs, however, Sherman writes of the process of resigning from the Seminary and heading back to the North. He traveled to New Orleans, calling on then-Captain PGT Beauregard, USA. Gus was, at that time, the “Superintending Engineer” for the Army in New Orleans. He maintained an office in the Custom House on Canal Street. It was logical and proper for Sherman to call on Beauregard, since both of Gus’ sons attended the Seminary. Sherman felt a sincere sense of responsibility towards all of the students.
I’ve written a draft of a fictionalized version of this meeting. I feel like I’ve got Gus down, but Sherman is an enigma. I’ll keep at it.
Cemetery scene with railroad tracks along I-10. (cross-posted to Pontchartrain Railroad – N Scale)
Local architect and artist Jeffrey H. Goldman painted this “Cemetery Scene” in 1985. It depicts a cemetery from the other side of a single railroad track. This painting and several others by Mr. Goldman are now held by the Historic New Orleans Collection.
I try to post three or four images of old New Orleans daily to social media. It’s a great way to promote my books. The process of choosing those photos is rarely simple. While it’s easy to find images and tie them to themes in my books, I end up going down rabbit holes. For example, I may find a great image of the Lakefront, then see another with details that merit further research. Then I look at other images related to that one, and down and down I go. It’s fun, even though it can be time consuming.
Finding this Goldman painting is typical. I sought Boyd Cruise paintings, since he did so many of buildings in the French Quarter. I expanded the search to include other artists, and Goldman came up.
This “Cemetery Scene” is of Greenwood Cemetery, viewed from the other side of the New Orleans Terminal Company track running parallel to the cemetery. Greenwood opened in 1852. Its western side was on the east bank of the New Basin Canal. The trains ran between the cemetery and canal.
Norfolk Southern Railroad owns the track. The ownership runs through the old New Orleans Terminal Company. Southern Railway acquired NOTC in the early 1900. Now, it’s all Norfolk Southern.
This particular track connected old Union Station with the “back belt” tracks that run from Metairie, out to New Orleans East. Now, it’s only used by passenger trains coming and going from Union Passenger Terminal. While several trains used the track prior to the Amtrak consolidation, now it’s only used by the Amtrak Crescent. The video above shows the Amtrak Crescent traveling the track shown in Goldman’s Cemetery Scene. It’s shot from the other side of I-10, for safety reasons.
This video is from a couple of days prior to the cemetery scene. It shows the Crescent after it’s switched onto the Back Belt and is heading out of town.
Mr. Jeffrey H. Goldman was born on February 11, 1941. He was an architect, photographer, writer, and artist. He passed away on September 4, 2010.
Spanish Map 1798 is a copy image created in 1875.
Spanish Map 1798
My friend Derby Gisclair posts old New Orleans images that catch his eye daily on social media. I love this, because the more of us that promote the city’s history, the more people come around to the subject. And the more books we sell! Derby posted this map yesterday. The wording on the image caught my eye, so I gave it a deep dive.
Plan of the city
The title of the map:
Plan of the City of New Orleans and adjacent plantations.
Compiled in accordance with an Ordinance of the Illustrations Ministry and Royal Charter, 24 December, 1798
Signed: Carlos Trudeau
But this is not the original! It is a copy. The copy illustrator made this note:
COPY and TRANSLATION
From the Original Spanish Plan dated 1798,
City of New Orleans
Its Fortifications and Environs
A note at the bottom says, “Drawn by Alex’ DeBrunner N.O.”
Notes on Plantations
The Spanish Map 1798 offers detailed notes on the various property holdings around the city. While the detail of what is now the French Quarter is accurate, the detail outside the Quarter enhances its usefulness. The map shows the “first cemetery,” inside the bounds of the Quarter, as well as St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, on Basin Street. The cemetery sits just west of the turning basin of the Caroldelet Canal. The linear canal stands in stark contrast to Bayou St. John and other waterways in the area.
The map presents what is now St. Louis Cathedral as the “parish church.” While this may be a translation issue, it’s possible that Don Carlos named it that on his original. The city re-built the church after the fire of 1788. It became a cathedral in 1793, when Louisiana became a separate diocese.
Just outside the French Quarter
Land of John Gravier, part of the plantation of the Jesuits, confiscated through his very christian Majesty ; 15 arpents front on the Mississippi River.
The Society of Jesus received a land grant from the King of France, operating a plantation just upriver. The Spanish suppressed the Jesuits in Spain in its colonies in 1763. John Gravier received the Jesuit land. By 1798, the Spanish planned to fully develop what is now the Central Business District.
The Spanish Map 1798 confuses royal titles. While the Spanish controlled colony in 1798, the map references the French king’s title. The king of France used the title, “His Most Christian Majesty.” The king of Spain, “His Most Catholic Majesty,” and the king of Great Britain, “His Most Brittanic Majesty.” Debrunner likely translated the title wrong, since the reference is to the king of Spain.
Don Carlos Trudeau created the Spanish Map 1798
Trudeau was Surveyor General of Spanish Louisiana. While the dominant language of Colonial New Orleans was French, Spanish records list him as Don Carlos Trudeau. Trudeau surveyed and designed what is now Lafayette Square, in Faubourg Ste. Marie. This Spanish Map 1798 fits the pattern of extensive documentation by the government of the Viceroyalty of New Spain.
Trudeau was born in New Orleans, in 1743. France owned and governed New Orleans at the time. He became Surveyor General in the 1780s (the Spanish assumed control of New Orleans in 1763). Trudeau held the post until 1805. He resigned after the Americans took over New Orleans. So, Charles returned to public service a few years later, serving as Acting Mayor for six months in 1812, and on the City Council.
Trudeau’s family followed a French naming tradition of the time honoring distinguished women. Charles received the honorific, “dit Laveau,” recognizing his paternal great-grandmother, Marie Catherine de Lavaux, of Montreal. Trudeau married Charlotte Perrault. So, the couple had four daughters. Additionally, Trudeau engaged in a relationship with Marguerite Darcantel, a gen de couleur libre. He had a daughter with Darcantel, Marie Laveau.
Department stores and train stations on Basin Street on NOLA History Guy Podcast 27-July-2019
NOLA History Guy Podcast 27-July-2019
Two segments on NOLA History Guy Podcast 27-July-2019. First, our “Today In New Orleans History” for 20-July, and then we’ll unpack a photo from 1955. Both focus on Canal and Basin Streets.
This week’s pick from Today in New Orleans History goes back to 20-July-1954. The city demolished Terminal Station on Canal and Basin Streets. Union Passenger Terminal opened in April, 1954. The Southerner, Southern Railway’s passenger service from New Orleans to New York City, departed from Canal and Basin Streets on 16-April-1954. Then-mayor “Chep” Morrison implemented a scorched-earth policy with respect to the passenger railroad stations. He ordered the four remaining stations demolished. (The IC Union Station was already partially demolished, to make way for Union Passenger Terminal.)
Trains ran on Basin Street since the late 1870s. The excursion train to Fort St. John (Spanish Fort) on Lake Pontchartrain terminated at Canal and Basin. The Spanish Fort train (which was steam-powered) departed from that station, turned onto Bienville Street, traveling out to the lake.
Leon Fellman bought the property right next to that small station in 1899. Clearly he knew that New Orleans Terminal Company planned to build a grand passenger station in its place. Fellman tore down the buildings in the 1201 block of Canal Street in 1902. In their place, he built the two-story, block-long building that became Krauss Department Store.
Canal and Basin, 1955
Un-packing a photo from almost a year later, 17-April-1955. The demolition exposed all of Krauss to folks walking down the street. The size of the original building (Canal to Iberville Streets), combined with the warehouse building, stunned many folks. Terminal Station obscured the full view of the store since 1908.
The Terminal Cafe, 1911. Here’s Todd’s entry on his page, Food Krewe:
The men look like conductors. The hand-written note on the photo says Terminal Cafe, and — in smudged letters — May 11, 1911. The address written in the margin puts the bar between Basin and Crozat streets, on the edge of Storyville and near the Kraus Building. Searching the archives, I could find nothing more. #tbt
You want to go “like” Food Krewe on Facebook. Then go subscribe to Todd’s email list, to keep up with what he’s doing. At the same time, go join our YatCuisine group on Facebook. It’s an alternative to the hot mess that “Where NOLA Eats” has become.
New Orleans Uncovered
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The last years of the Steamboat President in New Orleans
Midland Barge Company built the President in 1924. The steamboat operated in overnight packet service, running from Cincinnati to Louisville. Streckfus Steamers acquired the steamboat in 1933. They renovated it and renamed it from Cincinnati to President. Streckfus originally operated the boat out of St. Louis. They moved President to New Orleans in 1941. World War II put constraints on purchase of fuel oil. Therefore, the company kept President close to home. They offered port tours and dance cruises. That business continued through the 1980s. The President left New Orleans in 1989.
The Steamboat President offered a mix of “dance” and “concert” cruises during its time in New Orleans. Touring bands and musical acts played the boat as they passed through town. When there were no headline acts in the area, the President featured local bands for floating dances. Ticket prices for these dance cruises were affordable, even for high school kids. A number of well-remembered local bands played the boat in their formative years. Occasionally, local “oldies” bands attracted older audiences to the President.
This ad from 1982 presents a lineup typical of the holiday season. With dozens of live-music venues, New Orleans attracted touring bands. Bands avoided the colder climes in the northern states by traveling I-10, from Florida to California. The Steamboat President offered a change of pace from the typical roadhouse venues these bands played. B. J. Thomas, the English Beat, and Romeo Void all sat on the charts at one time or another. Thomas appealed to an older crowd. As a 24-year old in 1982, I can say with confidence, he wouldn’t be an artist I’d go out for a night on the boat.
Pros and Cons
The upside to an evening at a concert or dance on the President was that the evening was a cheap date. The biggest con was being trapped on the boat for the evening. One exercised caution who one went on the boat with. Blind dates on the President were risky. Double- and triple-dating provided safety in numbers, lest you end up stuck in a situation where you had nothing to talk about.
End of an era
1989 marked the end of an era. The President was the last large riverboat used as a concert venue. While riverboats like the Natchez and Creole Queen offer dinner cruises, none of the current boats hold the same number of passengers.