New Orleans History -- Lake Pontchartrain
Monday, July 15, 2024
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1948. The Desire Streetcar Ceases Operation

This view taken from the 800 block of Bourbon Street looking up towards Canal shows the legendary Desire streetcar making one of its daily runs from the Central Business District to downtown New Orleans.

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The Desire streetcar became famous worldwide thanks to Tennessee Williams’ hit play “A Streetcar Named Desire.” The line began operation on Oct. 17, 1920. It dropped its passengers off at the bars and nightclubs along Bourbon Street and the shop district along Royal Street. It also traveled to the densely populated area along the lower portion of its route.

The very last run for the Desire streetcar was May 30, 1948. Although it has not run its regular route for 54 years, it’s still a sightseer’s delight. Presently it is on display in the rear of the U.S. Mint, which faces Esplanade Avenue. Its present permanent location is just a few blocks from where it ran for so many years. Tennessee Williams, who immortalized the streetcar in writing his hit play and using the name of the line, was a resident of the French Quarter. He not only lived in the Quarter but said he “loved, admired and was inspired by its charm.”

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