Crescent City Memory--Part Three

The New Orleans Police Department's first motorcycle unit on display in 1911, an early indication of the NOPD's continuing effort to modernize operations. [Louisiana Photograph Collection. Municipal Government Series; NOPD Series]The unveiling of the McDonogh Monument in Lafayette Square, December 28, 1898. In more recent times, the monument and the man it honors, John McDonogh, benefactor of New Orleans' public schools, have encountered controversy--first in the late 1950s, when the segregated McDonogh Day ceremonies were boycotted by African American students, and, in the late 1980s and 1990s, when many of the schools removed the name of McDonogh, a slave holder, from above their doors. The statue still stands in Lafayette Square, but McDonogh's legacy to the city's children has been given a second, more critical examination. [Louisiana Photograph Collection. Louisiana Photograph Collection]

This 1841 letter from Thomas F. Jenkins in New Orleans to James Emile Armor in Covington includes a brief comment on the yellow fever epidemic that struck the city that year. 594 New Orleanians died in the 1841 visitation of the dread disease and thousands more would fall victim to the "Saffron Scourge" before its eradication in 1905. [Louisiana Manuscript Collection. James Emile Armor Papers]
New Orleans 28th Septr. 1841

Dear Emile,

As you will not be coming over for some time yet on account of the fever:- I have taken the liberty again to communicate a line= I have the pleasure to inform you that Jacob has had the fever and is entirely recovered, having been down town now six days - He was confined to the house only ten days - Every remedy took effect, so that he had an easy time of it considering the malignancy of the fever this season - It has been very fatal among clerks and other young men in business - and would subside only that it will be fed by new arrivals of strangers that are now coming into town on every vessle [sic] [sic] - I have been quite well since I last wrote you, and so is your Pa & Ma. - Your Mother was a little frightened at the sickness but I believe at this time is under no apprehension of anger - though she would not have you to come over for some time yet - ...

Mr. Bransford's partner - G. W. Parsons - died on the 22d of the fever - There has [sic] been six cases in those three houses on Orange St. - four of which were in Mr. Bransford's family - and none fatal except Mr. Parsons - Mrs. B. seems to hold out a long time - being unacclimated. ... I have had two letters from Henry since I came over - He is still well, and the health of Mobile also continues good - and they are in hopes that they shall not have any sickness.

Now you must write and let us have something from the Pine Woods - Joseph & Jacob wish to be remembered to you - wishing you good health - Tell us how the Buildings & fence progress &c -

I am sincerely yours &c
(signed) Thomas F. Jenkins

New Orleans is known for its extensive medical facilities, from Charity Hospital and Touro Infirmary to University Hospital and Tulane University Hospital. This 1915 postcard reminds us that many older hospitals have not survived the modernization of medical care. The Presbyterian Hospital site is now occupied by Rabouin Vocational School. [Louisiana Postcard Collection: Hospitals] The annual "Orphan's Day" picnic in City Park, ca. 1950s. Although the picnic shelters in the park have changed little, nuns in heavy habits are no longer a familiar sight in New Orleans, and the city's once numerous orphan asylums have also largely disappeared. [Louisiana Photograph Collection. Municipal Government Collection; City Park Commission Series]

This notice reminds us that boxing was a popular spectator sport in the Crescent City during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It also recalls the existence of a premiere gymnasium facility at the corner of Prytania Street and Washington Avenue. Benjamin Franklin High School later used the old Southern Athletic Club facility as the remote site for its gym. Recently the structure's new owners converted the prime location in the middle of the Garden District to residential use. [City Archives. Dept. of Police and Public Buildings Records]
NEW ORLEANS, January 28, 1902


The Southern Athletic Club offers for the entertainment of its members and the PUBLIC a 10-round boxing contest between Danny Duane of New York, and Jack Robinson late of Chicago, both men to weigh under 138 pounds.

The contest will be decided at our Gymnasium on Friday evening, February 7th; and an interesting and closely contested match is expected. As a preliminary a 10-round boxing contest (catch weights) has been arranged.

The ringside seats, 1st row, are $3; second and third rows $2; while a good reserved seat may be had for $1.

Trusting that you will be present, we remain,

Very truly yours,

Seats on sale at the St. Charles Hotel Cigar Stand, B. P. Sullivan, 233 Baronne St., and at the Club House.

The S.S. President is pictured on this 1964 postcard. The vessel provided harbor tours during the daytime hours and dance trips at night. For several years it was one of the most popular venues for the evening concerts presented by the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. The President left the Crescent City riverfront in 1988 and now functions as a dockside casino on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. [Louisiana Postcard Collection: Boats] The Crescent City owes its unique character to a succession of ethnic groups that have melted down to make us what we are today. Some groups have been so completely assimilated into the local fabric that we have few, if any, physical reminders of their contributions. All the more important, therefore, are paper memories such as this program for what was a memorable event for Germans in New Orleans during the nineteenth century. The Saenger-Halle itself did not stand for long at Lee Circle and not too many years after its demolition New Orleans Public Library's main Carnegie building rose on its site. [Rare Vertical File: Programs--Concerts]

One of the real characters of the Crescent City's past was "Count" Arnaud Cazenave, founder of Arnaud's Restaurant in the Vieux Carre. In this 1939 letter to Mayor Robert Maestri, Cazenave discusses the condition of a property next to the restaurant and alludes to difficulties with the fledgling Vieux Carre Commission over his plans for the structure. His simultaneous contribution of $100 to the Maestri campaign fund is, to say the least, verrrrrry interrrrrresting! [City Archives. Mayor Robert S. Maestri Records]


Main Dining Room MA.5433
Grill MA. 8058
Second Floor MA. 8862

New Orleans Dec 7 /39

Honorable Robert S. Maestri
Mayor of New Orleans

Dear Mr. Maestri,

I don't like to worry you during these trying days, but I don't believe that the following will take much of your time.

There is an old building fronting Bourbon Street corner Bienville with its back against my restaurant, in, I believe a great state of dilapidation. I don't own it, because some way or other, it can't be bought, but I am renting it.

I like to know if the building is sound or needs reinforcing before anything happens that will endanger human life or adjacent buildings.

If its really found unsound as I sincerely think it is, I will not have so much trouble with the vieux carre association which is going nutty, about fixing it and changing a bit its present structure.

I have not seen you in quite a while and I understand the reason why, but I believe after this [?] is over things will become normal once more.

Enclosed 100 dollars for campaign funds - with my best regards to Mrs. Maestri and your mother I remain very sincerely yours,

(signed) Arnaud Cazenave

[MSS note on reverse: "301-303 Bourbon
Nothing wrong with strenght [sic] or dangerous condition of this building
needs painting."]

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