Crescent City Memory--Part Six

Basin Street owes its name to the turning basin at the end of the Carondelet Canal, also known as the Old Basin Canal. The oyster luggers shown in this 1904 postcard disappeared when the waterway was filled in during the 1920s. For years thereafter, though, several oyster wholesalers along nearby Rampart Street served as a reminder of the canal and its uses. The trees visible in the center of this view, by the way, are in historic Congo Square. [Louisiana Postcard Collection: New Orleans Canals] A birds-eye view of the Audubon Zoo, ca. 1936. Originally built in the 1920s, the Zoo was rebuilt with federal assistance in the 1930s, but deteriorated sadly over the next twenty years. In the 1970s, the Zoo began a transformation that has made it one of the most progressive and modern facilities in the country. The construction at left center of the photo shows the elephant barn taking shape. In the upper left of this photo is the old "natatorium," years later renamed the Whitney Young pool; the pool was the largest in the South when it opened in May, 1928. The deteriorating pool was closed in the 1970s and various attempts to reopen or replace it have so far been unsuccessful. [Louisiana Photograph Collection. Municipal Government Collection; Audubon Park Commission Series]

The legendary plan to rescue the emperor Napoleon from his exile on the island St. Helena, to spirit him to la Nouvelle Orleans and to hide him in the home of Mayor Nicolas Girod on Chartres Street did not, of course, materialize. But Napoleon did, in a manner of speaking, find his way to the Vieux Carre from St. Helena. With this letter, the emperor's personal physician, Dr. F. Antommarchi, offered Bonaparte's bronze death mask to the Mayor of New Orleans. City officials accepted the offer and displayed the relic in the old City Hall on Jackson Square. It apparently disappeared during the Civil War and did not find its way back into municipal ownership until 1909. Mayor Martin Behrman subsequently gave the mask to the newly established Louisiana State Museum which now displays it in the Cabildo which was, of course, the old City Hall. [City Archives. Letters, petitions and decrees of the Conseil de Ville]

[Translation from the Original French Manuscript]

New Orleans,
November 12th, 1834

Honorable Mayor,

Impressed by the generous sentiments of the Louisianians in my behalf and thoroughly appreciative of the noble reception accorded me by them, I have the honor to offer to this city the bronze mask of the Emperor Napoleon, cast by me at St. Helena after his death and its pedestal in bronze.

This homage being destined to perpetuate the memory of the greatest man of all centuries among this free people, I am happy to be the medium of uniting my devotion to the great and glorious memory that this illustrious and majestic head recalls to the valiant Louisianians as well to the world.

Awaiting your orders on the matter I have the honor Mr. Mayor to remain with the highest consideration.

(signed) Dr. F. Antommarchi

Honorable Mayor
of New Orleans.

The Greater New Orleans Tourist and Convention Commission used this replica of a ticket to the first Sugar Bowl football game as the ticket to its 1983 annual luncheon. [City Archives. Mayor Sidney J. Barthelemy Records] Before the coming of the automobile and the airplane, railroads were vitally important as a means of transportation from place to place in Louisiana and beyond. One line that served to connect New Orleans to the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain was the East Louisiana Railroad. This 1900 timetable might remind some of us of the arrest eight years earlier of the ELRR's most famous passenger, Homer A. Plessy. [Rare Vertical File: Schedules]

In 1993 news broke that the Mayor and members of the state legislature were awarding Tulane University scholarships to students from across the state. Critics cited the lack of published guidelines as one of the most serious shortcomings in this program. The public scholarship program, as it turns out, has been around for more than 100 years. This brochure, probably from the 1890s, shows that guidelines were in place at least initially. [Rare Vertical File: Resolutions]




<[Page 1]

Extract from Section 6 of Act. No. 43 of 1884

"Besides the waiver of the claim, as aforesaid, as an additional consideration between the parties of this act, the said Board agrees to give continuously, in the academic department, free tuition to one student from each Senatorial and from each Representative district or parish, to be nominated by its member in the General Assembly from among the bona fide citizens and residents of his district or parish, who shall comply with the requirements for admission established by said Board. The meaning of this provision being that each member of the General Assembly, whether Senator or Representative, shall have the right of appointing one student, in accordance with the foregoing provisions. The free tuition herein provided for shall continue until each student has graduated from the academic department, unless his scholarship has ceased from other causes. Whenever a scholarship becomes vacant, from any cause, the Senator or Representative, who appointed the previous student, or his successor, shall, in the manner prescribed by this section, immediately name a successor."

State Scholarships. Under Section 6 of Act No. 43 of 1884, the University gives free tuition in the College of Arts and Sciences (except in the Pre-Medical and Pre-Dental Courses) to one student from each senatorial and from each representative district or parish of the State of Louisiana. By resolution of the Board of Administrators these scholarships are, for the present, allowed also in the College of Engineering.

In accordance with the terms of this Act, the following rules for the admission of appointees to State scholarships have been adopted:

1. As provided in Act 43 of 1884, there shall be one such scholarship for each senator and each representative in the state, and it shall confer the privilege of free tuition in the College of Arts and Sciences (except in the Pre-Medical and Pre-Dental courses), and, for the present, in the College of Engineering.

2. Whenever a vacancy exists in the appointments from a district or parish, it may be filled by the then sitting member from that district or parish, provided, however, that the vacancy must be filled and the appointee must register as a student in either of the above

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mentioned colleges before the expiration of the term of office of the senator or representative making the appointment, otherwise his successor shall fill the vacancy.

3. The candidate must be a bona fide resident of the district or parish from which he is appointed.

4. He must be a white, male youth, not less than sixteen years of age, and prepared for college work.

5. He may enter any regular course in the above mentioned colleges (except in the Pre-Medical and Pre-Dental courses) for which he may be qualified.

6. He must present his appointment on the printed form provided, and in order to identify the signature to such appointment of the senator or representative making it, his signature must be acknowledged by him before a notary public, or some competent state official authorized to administer oath.

7. Accompanying his appointment the candidate must present his Certificate of Recommendation, on the printed form provided, which must receive the written approval of the Admission Committee before the acceptance of the appointment.

8. Appointees to State Scholarships are required to take and to maintain a regular college course leading to a degree, and are required to maintain an average passing grade in their studies or forfeit their scholarships, this forfeiture to take place at the close of the college session in June. When a State scholarship has been forfeited, the legislator shall be notified of such forfeiture and the reasons therefor, and a student may re-enter on such scholarship only when newly appointed by the proper officer in the proper legal manner.

From May 19-22, 1903, New Orleans hosted a huge reunion of the United Confederate Veterans, culminating in a grand parade on May 22 along the city streets. The line of old soldiers, shown here on St. Charles Avenue, stretched for six miles, the parade took more than two hours to pass a given point, and it attracted a crowd, the Times-Picayune said, larger than the numbers that turned out for Carnival. The newspapers for the week are filled with reports of the veterans' doings--parties, dinners, meetings, speeches, and, of course, the grand parade. Even in 1903, New Orleans knew how to entertain conventioneers. [Louisiana Photograph Collection. Alexander Allison Collection] A wide, unimproved stretch of Bayou St. John. During the 1930s, WPA workers cleaned and dredged the bayou, cleared the silted channel at the Lake, and began a program of beautification. This wild stretch of the waterway reminds us of what the bayou may have been like when Bienville first made his way up the old "portage" in 1718 to establish a settlement in the crescent of the Mississippi River. [Louisiana Photograph Collection. WPA Collection]

Congo Square is one of the most historically significant African American sites in the Crescent City. It remains an open space despite repeated threats to its existence over the years. This 1853 letter from Mayor A. D. Crossman to the Common Council recalls that Congo Square came close to being used as the site for a new Louisiana State Capitol building as city officials sought to recapture the seat of government from Baton Rouge. Crossman wisely vetoed the Council's offer to the State. [City Archives. City Council Records]

Mayoralty of New Orleans
?? March 1853

To the Hon. President and Members
of the Board of Aldermen of
the City of New Orleans

Gentlemen, I have before me a resolution which originated in Your Honorable Body, donating the Square of ground formerly called Congo Square and now known as the Place D'Armes, comprised between Rampart, St. Ann, St. Claude and St. Peter Streets, to the State of Louisiana, on condition that the State House or Capitol be guilt thereon.

I fully appreciate the motives that prompted Your Hon'ble Body to the adoption of this resolution, the avowed purpose of which was to restore the seat of government to this city, a measure which under other circumstances would have met with my warmest approval. But I do not conceive it to be legitimately within the power of the Common Council to part with or donate this property, specially set apart as it was in the original plan of the City for the purposes of a Public Square and as such never to be sold or alienated. Apart from these objections which have induced me to withhold my approval from the resolution, I would remark that our city has not many Public Squares to boast of. In the warm summer months the few that we possess constitute the principal resort for those who desire to escape from the heat of the pent up streets of the city, and for this reason, aside from the legal difficulties that interpose to carrying the resolution into effect, I should be disinclined to sanction a measure that would be the means of depriving the inhabitants of that portion of the city of the enjoyment and advantage of a fine Public Square.

In view of these facts, regretting as I do to differ in opinion with your Hon'ble Body, I feel constrained to return the resolution for your further consideration.

Whilst on this subject I deem it proper to acquaint Your Hon. Body with the fact that I am in the possession of information from the members of our City Delegation in the Legislature, that the proposition now before the House of Representatives to amend Art. 107 of the Constitution, so as to remove the seat of government to New Orleans, will be defeated, unless the city will offer to build and donate to the State suitable buildings for the accommodation of the General Assembly and the officers of the State.

Desirable as it undoubtedly would be for many reasons that the seat of Government should be located in New Orleans, yet I am not prepared to recommend a course that would saddle the City with an additional debt of at least 3 to $400,000. We are not in a conditions to indulge in a generous act, which, though it might ultimately redound to our advantage, would be well calculated to inspire our creditors with distrust. And, although I have reason to believe that the Legislature would cheerfully grant to the City the right of issuing Bonds for the purpose of meeting such an expenditure, yet I do not feel at liberty even under such a contingency to urge the consideration of the subject on Your Hon. Body. Indeed I am decidedly of the opinion that the Common Council should for the time being hesitate to engage in any further improvements, as the financial resources of the Corporation are not adequate to any increase in the expenditure of our City Government.

I have the honor to be
with great respect
Your obed't Sevt.

(signed) A. D. Crossman

If nothing else we can appreciate the artistry of the original Louisiana Lottery's tickets compared with the machine produced variety in use by the latest incarnation of the statewide game. Our nineteenth century lottery was infamous for the stranglehold that it had on the state government. The current video poker scandals pale in comparison to the horror stories surrounding the LSL's operations. [Rare Vertical File: Tickets] Our reputation as one of the culinary Meccas of the United States is based on a long history of outstanding restaurants, famous chefs, delectable recipes, and a now-closed grocery store. For many years Solari's, at the corner of Royal and Iberville in the French Quarter, was the place for locals and tourists alike to visit for some tasty souvenirs of New Orleans. Since its demise in 1961 no establishment has come close to replacing the old-time emporium. At least one can still get good food at the old Solari's site--Mr. B's, one of the fine Brennan family restaurants, opened there in 1979. [Rare Vertical File: Letterheads--Twentieth Century Business Firms]

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