Railroad Advertisements (2)

Railroad Advertisements (2)

More Railroad Advertisements from 1925.

railroad advertisements

Railroad Advertisements

Two more ads from November 3, 1925. That makes five railroad advertisements in the first section of the Times-Picayune newspaper for that day. Railroads, like streetcars, hit a peak of activity in the 1920s. WWI ended. The economy boomed. Americans embraced public transportation. Businessmen traveled by train, then took families on excursions. While many excursion trains operated seasonally, some destinations appealed to the traveler year-round.

Gulf Coast Lines

The Gulf Coast Lines operated as a system. GCL consisted of three railroads:

  • St. Louis, Brownsville, and Mexico Railway – The railroad opened in 1904. They operated from Robson, Texas (near Corpus Christi) to Brownsville. In 1907, the railroad extended to Houston, then further west to the Rio Grand Valley
  • Beaumont, Sour Lake, and Western – B. F. Yoakum, owner of St. Louis, Brownsville, and Mexico, purchased this railroad. He joined the two in 1905. This extended the system eastward.
  • New Orleans, Texas, and Mexico Railway – Yoakum acquired this company in 1909, extending his trackage to New Orleans.

The Gulf Coast Lines system fell into bankruptcy in 1913. The entities were rolled up into the New Orleans, Texas, and Mexico by the receivers. Missouri Pacific acquired GCL in 1925. So, this ad dates from the MoPac ownership.

railroad advertisements

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Louisville and Nashville

The New Orleans & Florida Limited, “Carries Through, Drawing Room, Compartment, Section Sleepers from New Orleans to Jacksonville. This overnight train operated as a “Limited” route. That meant fewer stops, not every small town along the way. L&N trains arrived and departed from their passenger terminal by Canal Street and the River, where the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas stands now. Their trains ran down the river to Elysian Fields, then turned north, then East at Florida Avenue. So, L&N trains crossed the Industrial Canal, then followed (more or less) Highway 90, crossing Lake Pontchartrain at the Rigolets Pass.

Amtrak attempted to extend the Sunset Limited eastward from New Orleans, following the L&N route to Jacksonville. Additionally, the railroad plans to resume this portion of the route in 2022.



NYC 3 – New York Central Executive Car

NYC 3 is a restored Executive Car from the New York Central.

nyc 3

NYC 3 on the Crescent

The northbound (#20) Crescent delivered a treat on Tuesday, 2-November. A “private varnish” car brought up the rear, NYC 3, named “Portland.” This railcar served a different purpose than “business cars” operated to this day by the railroads. NYC-3 was an “executive car.” The NYC built it specifically for one of the New York Central’s owners, Harold S. Vanderbilt. From the NYC-3 dot com website:

This railroad car, New York Central 3, was built for Harold Sterling Vanderbilt, who worked as a director of the railroad founded by his family three generations previously. The car, built in 1928, was a typical executive car of this grand era. Such cars were called “private varnish” because of their varnished woodwork and exclusive uses; they served as traveling offices and hotels, and were used for railroad inspections as well as for personal travel and for business entertainment. NYC 3 frequently played host to film celebrities, wealthy tycoons, and even presidential campaigners in what politicians of the day called “whistle-stop” tours: Trains would stop in small towns and politicians would give speeches from the back platform before waving goodbye as the train departed. Adlai Stevenson campaigned on NYC 3 in this manner in his 1956 campaign against President Eisenhower and, far more recently, opera singer Cecilia Bartoli enjoyed its comforts between New York and her West Coast debut in Los Angeles.

VarChandra, Inc. currently owns NYC 3.

Private Cars in New Orleans

Like many aspects of the pandemic, private varnish re-appears on the rails. Train-watchers report sightings on Amtrak fan pages (Facebook). New Orleans offers three opportunities to catch private cars. Charters come down from the Northeast on the Crescent. Some make a loop, traveling north again on the City of New Orleans, then return to New York Penn or other points in the NEC. The cars usually travel the Broadway Limited to get back east.

Some cars continue west on the Sunset Limited. Back in the early part of the 20th century, the Southern and Southern Pacific offered “through car” service from New York to Los Angeles. Private varnish currently follows the Crescent-to-Sunset path.

901 Canal Then/Now

901 Canal Then/Now

901 Canal Then/Now shows the block in 1910 and present day.

901 canal then/now

901 Canal Then/Now

Two views of the 901 block of Canal Street, one from an old postcard from 1910, the other from this afternoon. While the contemporary shot appears timeless, the old postcard is a very specific time-shot. It presents the block after the Grand Opera House was demolished. That building made way for the S. H. Kress store. The space between the Audubon Building (on the corner of Canal and Burgundy) and the Maison Blanche Building (corner of Canal and Dauphine) stood empty. While the Kress facade appears original, the building inside now serves as a parking garage. Cars for the Ritz-Carlton New Orleans, in the MB building, pull into the Kress building.

Re-imagining the block

901 canal then/now

Processed By eBay with ImageMagick, z1.1.0. ||B2

In the early 1900s, the 901 block of Canal Street consisted of, from Burgundy to Dauphine, two small American-style buildings, the Grand Opera House, and the Mercier Buildings. In 1907, Maison Blanche, decided to demolish the Mercier Buildings. Owner Simon Shwartz desired a larger and more modern store. Other investors purchased the other corner, Canal and Burgundy. Additionally, a third group acquired the French Opera House. Everything on the block was demolished. The Mercier Buildings went in stages, as Maison Blanche demolished the rear first, building the back office tower. When that was complete, they moved everything from the old storefront to the new section. Then they tore down the front section. The front office tower and retail space appeared in its place.

Construction began on the eight-story Audubon Building on the other side of the block. After it was completed. The Kress company filled in the middle with their store.

The images

The postcard shows the block looking river-to-lake. My photo from this afternoon approaches the block from the opposite direction. So, I walked from the temporary end of the Canal streetcar line at Liberty Street, up to Magazine Street. The three buildings called out, demanding a photo.

Amtrak Crescent 6-October-2021

Amtrak Crescent 6-October-2021

The Amtrak Crescent runs from New Orleans to New York City daily.

Amtrak Crescent

Amtrak Crescent, train #20 on the timetable, departing New Orleans on 6-October-2021. There are a couple of things about this particular run of note to train fans, so why not make a blog post about them! This train is pulled by two GE P42DC “Genesis” locomotives. Outside of the Northeast Corridor, the Genesis locos are the backbone of Amtrak operations. This train consists of the two locomotives, three coach cars, a cafe car, two sleepers, and a full baggage car. When the pandemic forced schedule changes, the Crescent cut back to 3-days-a-week service. Then it returned to daily service with two coaches. Now it’s back to daily with three. The Crescent departs New Orleans daily at 9am Central time.

New Orleans to New York

amtrak crescent

Viewliner coach on the Amtrak Crescent

The Crescent’s roots go back to 1891. In 1906, the route was named the New Orleans and New York Limited. By 1925, it was dubbed the Crescent Limited. Amtrak operates the Crescent in “local” service, so they dropped “Limited” from the name.

The train departs Union Passenger Terminal in New Orleans (Amtrak code NOL) at 9am Central. It reaches this point, the underpass at Canal Boulevard, about 9:26am. The Norfolk Southern “Back Belt” has no grade crossings in Orleans Parish. The Amtrak Crescent won’t stop until it reaches Slidell.

amtrak crescent

Baggage car

This full baggage car is atypical for the Crescent lately. The train usually runs a “Bag Dorm” car at the end. That car is half-baggage compartment, and half “roomettes.” The crew takes rest breaks in those compartments.

Dining and sleeping

amtrak crescent

Viewliner Cafe car

The Crescent operates Amtrak’s “Viewliner” equipment. While the other two trains running out of NOL use the two-level “Superliner” cars, the Crescent requires single-level equipment. The Superliners won’t fit in the tunnel going to Penn Station in NYC. So, passengers booking full bedrooms or roomette compartments ride in cars like the one above.

amtrak crescent

Viewliner sleeper car

Amtrak discontinued full diner cars on the Crescent in 2019. The train ran both a diner and Cafe cars like the one above. So, to cut back on expenses, the railroad only uses the Cafes

Marching Festival, 2007

Marching Festival, 2007

LMEA Marching Festival brings local bands together to perform.

LMEA Marching Festival

Each year, District 6 of the Louisiana Music Educators Association (LMEA) holds a “Marching Assessment” in the Fall. Crusader Band (along with other local bands) call it “Marching Festival.” At the end, when the scores are announced, the officers of the participating bands gather on the field to accept their awards.  For the 2007 Festival, Crusader Band’s Drum Major and two Band Captains, along with the co-Captains of the Dominican Debs wait for wait for their scores. I don’t have names for these young men and women at this time. If you know them, let me know. (I sent the photo to my class of 2012 kiddo, who was Brass Captain in his senior year, but he’s in Palo Alto and not awake yet).

Football Season for Crusader Band

In the Fall, Crusader Band is a football band.Going back to the beginning, the band turned out to perform in the stands at games. While some band programs place football as a second priority, behind band competitions, the Crusader Band’s mission was to support the team. The school and the Athletic Department recognized this, and funded a good bit of the program’s expenses. So, as a five-year band dad, I remained silent when parents whose kids attended other schools fussed about money. They were going out of pocket for trips to competitions. I paid a $50 uniform cleaning fee.

The late Mr. Marty Hurley, long-time Band Director, had a solid strategy for preparing for Festival. The festival program called for performance of three tunes and a percussion performance. Hurley chose a theme, picked three tunes, then worked up the drum routine. One of the tunes always featured the auxiliary unit. Crusader Band partners with the “Debs” of Dominican High School.

The band wore the NJROTC service dress blues in those early years. When NJROTC became an elective course track, Crusader Band switched to a classic-style uniform. The style changed over the years. They wore this set of uniforms through my son’s senior year (2011-2012).

Stein’s Canal Street

Stein’s Canal Street

Stein’s Canal Street occupied three different locations over the years.

stein's canal street

Stein’s Canal Street

Ad for Stein’s Clothing in the Times-Picayune, September 21, 1972. Stein’s was originally located at 800 Canal Street, corner Carondelet Street, but moved up in the 800 block in 1948. By the 1960s, the store returned to the corner, but on the 700 block side of Carondelet. The store, part of a national chain, featured men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing. Stein’s first came to New Orleans when Feibelman’s Department Store moved from 800 Canal to the corner of Baronne and Common Streets, in 1931.

Fellman’s to Feibelman’s to Stein’s

stein's canal street

The old Pickwick Hotel building, now Stein’s Clothing, 1940

When retailer Leon Fellman split with his brother Bernard in 1886, he opened his own store at 901 Canal. This was the old Mercier Building, which replaced Christ Episcopal Church, at the corner of Canal and Dauphine. By 1897, S. J. Shwartz acquired the entire Mercier Building for his new department store, Maison Blanche. Shwartz evicted Fellman. Leon went across the street. He convinced the owners of the Pickwick Hotel at 800 Canal to let him convert their building into a department store. They agreed, and he opened Leon Fellman’s.

Name change

Leon passed away in 1920. His family dropped the Fellman surname, returning to the German version of their name, Feibelman. The family changed the name of the store from Leon Fellman’s to Feibelman’s. In 1931, the family acquired the old NOPSI building at Baronne and Common. They demolished the building (it had been severely damaged by fire) and constructed a new store there. That left 800 Canal available. Stein’s leased the building, bringing the chain to New Orleans.

Gus Mayer takes over

Stein's Canal Street

Stein’s, 810 Canal Street, 1948

In 1948, another out-of-town chain, Gus Mayer, bought the old Pickwick Hotel. Their New Orleans store was in a small building on the French Quarter side of the 800 block of Canal. Gus Mayer demolished the old building, constructing their flagship store in the city. That building remains at 800 Canal, occupied by a CVS Drugstore.

Moving out

Gus Mayer’s purchase of the Pickwick building meant Stein’s had to find a new location. They moved next door, to 810 Canal Street. The store re-located a second time, to 738 Canal. So, by the 1950s, Stein’s stood on the river side of Carondelet and Canal, and Gus Mayer on the lake side of the corner.

stein's canal street

Stein’s Gentilly Woods, 1960

In the late 1950s, Stein’s opened a second location, in Gentilly Woods. That explains the “Downtown Store Only” reference in this 1972 ad. The chain folded in the 1980s. Kid’s Footlocker currently occupies 738 Canal Street.