Red streetcars uptown aren’t as common a sight as they used to be.
Red streetcars uptown
David Mora (@davidmora on Twitter, @davidnola on Instagram) shares some absolutely wonderful photos of New Orleans. He always posts stuff that lifts my spirits, like this photo of NORTA 2022, inbound on Carondelet Street. He’s right when he says, “You don’t see a red streetcar on Carondelet Street every day!”
New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (NORTA*) built the 2000-series Von Dullen streetcars in 2003-2004. The transit system planned to run them on the new Canal Street line. The basic design of the 2000s is quite similar to Perley H. Thomas’ 1910ish arch roof design. Elmer Von Dullen, Manager of the NORTA Rail Department, added the faux monitor deck to the top of the 2000s, to obscure the air-conditioning unit and electronics package on the roof. Those units blocked the smooth lines of the arch roof.
Prior to the return of the Canal line, NORTA’s rail operations originated at Carrollton Station. The station stands between Willow and Jeanette Streets, one block up from S. Carrollton Avenue.
In 1997, NORTA expanded the original plan for Riverfront. They needed a fleet of streetcars that were all wheelchair accessible. The Rail Department renovated the shop portion of Carrollton Station. They built the 400-series streetcars there. The shops stayed in business, building the 24 Von Dullens for Canal.
The 1997 expansion of the Riverfront line included the new streetcars and two-track operation. Additionally, Riverfront tracks were connected to the St. Charles tracks. From 1964 to 1997, Canal Street track consisted of the one-block turn, between Carondelet Street and St. Charles Avenue. To connect the two lines, the old two-track line on Canal was restored to the river. A crossover just up from Carondelet Street linked this new track to the outside turn track. So, the red streetcars built at Carrollton Station could come and go through Uptown.
In 2004, NORTA brought streetcar service back to the Canal line. Those connector tracks from Carondelet to the river expanded all the way to City Park Avenue. The Rail Department built a streetcar barn on Canal, behind the A. Phillip Randolph bus terminal.
In 2018, the department changed daily operations. They now park all the streetcars, green and red, at Canal Station. The red 400- and 2000-series streetcars only travel uptown now for major maintenance. So, David’s right, we don’t see the red streetcars on Carondelet like we used to.
Stephen B. Massicot was a “promising young Orleanian.”
Obituary for Mr. Stephen Massicot (click for a PDF copy), who passed away on June 4, 1898. This column ran in the Daily Picayune on Wednesday, June 8, 1898. Massicot graduated from St. Aloysius College in 1897.
St. Aloysius in 1898
St. Aloysius opened in New Orleans in 1869. The original campus was a house on Barracks and Chartres in the French Quarter. By 1890, the school outgrew that first location. In 1892, the Brothers of the Sacred Heart acquired a mansion just outside the Quarter from the Ursuline Sisters. The nuns desired an uptown location. They moved to State Street. Their campus, at the corner of Esplanade and North Rampart. reverted back to the Archdiocese. The archbishop leased it to the BOSH.
So, Stephen Massicot entered St. Aloysius in its second year on Esplanade Avenue. That mansion remained until 1924. That’s when the building known to generations of Crusaders was built.
Life after St. Aloysius
Stephen Massicot was valedictorian of the Class of 1897. After graduation, he went to work for Gotfried & Muller. They were cotton buyers. While cotton plantations no longer used the enslaved for labor, cotton was still huge in New Orleans. Riverboats still brought cotton down from the plantations. Mule -drawn wagons transported raw bales to cotton presses along the riverfront. Those presses compressed cotton for transport. Wagons returned the pressed cotton to the riverfront. Ocean-going ships took it up the east coast or to Europe.
So, cotton was a commodity. Buyers purchased cotton, either at the source (the plantation), or upon arrival in New Orleans. The grower moved on. The buyer then flipped the commodity, selling the pressed cotton to ship owners. They carried the product to textile mills. Those mills transformed raw cotton into bolts of fabric.
The obit describes how Stephen Massicot complained of discomfort and a fever two weeks before his passing. Doctors diagnosed his discomfort as typhoid fever. Five days after the diagnosis, the young man died.
The paper reports that the student body of St. Aloysius attended the funeral. His surviving classmates served as pall bearers. After the funeral, his mates laid him to rest in St. Louis Cemetery.
St. Aloysius Academy advertises in the Daily Picayune in 1875.
St. Aloysius Academy
Ad in the Daily Picayune, 19-September-1875, for St. Aloysius Academy. The school opened for the 1869 school term in 1869. The first campus was a house on the corner of Chartres and Barracks in the French Quarter.
Here’s the text of the advertisement:
St. Aloysius Academy.–The next session of this excellent educational institution will commence on the first Monday in October. In commending it to parents and guardians we take pleasure in saying that the course of studies there pursued is thorough and complete. The system adopted by the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, has been generally approved by friends of students who have had the good fortune to claim St. Aloysius Academy as their alma mater. The principal aim of the institution is to enable pupils to acquire a sound moral and Christian training, and to prepare them in a particular manner for the business of commercial life. The director, Brother Flormond, will furnish any further information at the Academy, corner Chartres and Barracks Streets.
Note the name of the school, St. Aloysius Academy. This later evolved, first to St. Aloysius College, then to St. Aloysius High School. St. Aloysius closed in 1969, merging with Cor Jesu High to become Brother Martin High School.
The first school
The Brothers of the Sacred Heart founded St. Stanislaus College, in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, in 1854. When Louisiana seceded from the Union in 1861, the Brothers sent boarders from New Orleans home. So, they dispatched several Brothers to the city, so those young men could continue their education. Annunciation Parish in the Marigny took in the Brothers. So, the first BOSH presence in the city was there.
While the setup at Annunciation worked during the Union occupation, the Brothers desired a permanent presence in New Orleans. After the rebellion, Archbishop Jean-Marie Odin invited the BOSH to open a full school in the city. The Institute acquired a large house owned by the Church. It was originally built to house officers of the Spanish Colonial garrison in the city. St Aloysius Academy operated at Chartres and Barracks from 1869 to 1892. In 1892, the school moved to Esplanade Avenue and N. Rampart Street.
This New Orleans Map 1764 shows the city as the Spanish took over.
New Orleans Map 1764.
“Plan de la Nouvelle Orleans,” published by Jacques Nicolas Bellin, Paris, 1764. Given that the map was published in Paris, it was likely drawn in 1763. This puts it at the end of the Seven Year’s War. France turned Louisiana over to Spain, as part of the Treaty of Fontainebleau. While the Spanish didn’t take control of New Orleans until 1767-69, we usually recognize 1763 and the treaty as the transfer.
The main feature of this map is that it’s an actual depiction of the city, rather than a plan or layout. While Adrien du Pauger planned out the French Quarter in 1826, the city actually grew from the river north over time.
Before the fires
New Orleans developed outward from two points. The French built Fort St. Charles along the river, where Esplanade Avenue is now. The city placed the convent for the Ursuline nuns close to the fort.
du Pauger set the location of the town church six blocks to the east. He designated the block in front of the church as a parade ground. That assured the church would be visible from the river. The legend of New Orleans Map 1764 lists the church as “L’Eglise Paroissiale desservie par les Capucins,” “The parish church served by the Capuchins.”
While this description seems trivial given the position we now ascribe now to St. Louis Cathedral, it is accurate for 1763. The Capuchins and the Society of Jesuits established presences in Louisiana. The Vatican considered the colony as missionary territory. After establishing control in Louisiana, the Spanish expanded the Archdiocese de San Cristóbal de la Habana to include Louisiana.
The French garrisoned troops closer to the church, so they could drill on the Place d’Arms. They also built a prison next to the garrison. The now-familiar sight of the Pontalba Buildings flanking the Place d’Arms doesn’t happen until 80 years later.
Amtrak Northbound Advertisement 1984 in the Loyola Maroon
Ad in the Loyola University student newspaper, 3-February-1984
Amtrak Northbound Advertisement 1984
Ad in the Loyola Maroon, 3-February-1984, promoting travel to Jackson, MS and Memphis, TN, by train. The route isn’t mentioned in the ad, but one travels to Jackson and Memphis on the “City of New Orleans.” Amtrak acquired the route from the Illinois Central Railroad when passenger travel was nationalized in 1971. The route continues on to this day.
$45 Round-trip to Jackson
Amtrak to Jackson is an easy afternoon trip from New Orleans. Memphis is a late-arrival, but same day. The full trip to Chicago is an overnight run. Currently, the City departs at 1:45pm from Union Passenger Terminal (NOL) in downtown New Orleans. The train arrives at Jackson (after stops at Hammond, LA, then McComb, Brookhaven and Hazelhurst, MS) at 5:28pm. Prior to the pandemic, the City ran every day of the week. Now, the train departs NOL on Wednesday/Friday/Sunday. This is train #58, northbound. Train #59, southbound, departs Chicago at 8:05pm Monday/Thursday/Saturday. So, my choice, had I been motivated in 1984 to go on an adventure–New Orleans to Memphis. Get there and to a hotel by 11pm-ish. Do The Things for a day and a night. Head home early the third day of the adventure.
Spreading out on the train
When Amtrak began operations in 1971, the railroad used “heritage” equipment from the various railroads operating passenger trains. In 1975, Bombardier delivered the first generation of two-level, “Superliner” cars. So, 1984 train travel meant sitting in a coach car, two seats, a center aisle, then two seats on the other side. You ate in the “Amdinette” car. Now, Amtrak operates “lounge” cars, with lots of windows on the sides and overhead, and snack bar service. Covid restrictions are tight on dining. Passengers order food via a mobile app. When it’s ready for pickup, they receive a notification, and bring it back to their seats. \
Superliners to/from Chicago
Amtrak #58 reaches Central Avenue in Jefferson around 2pm. I caught the northbound train on 30-September:
Not long after #58 passed Central Avenue, the southbound train, #59, went by:
Colorized Sherman and his staff during the Southern Rebellion
Colorized photo of Sherman and his staff during the Southern Rebellion. Colorization by Benoit Vienne
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.
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, 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.