New Orleans History -- Lake Pontchartrain
Monday, July 15, 2024
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1967 Vic Schiro and Alton Ochsner

Mayor Schiro boarding plane on trip to Managua, Nicaragua
From left: Mayor Schiro, CAO Thomas J. Heier, Dr. Alton Ochsner, Mrs. Ochsner (?)
Note on reverse says 'See Schiro letter file, May 4, 1967, from TACA Airlines
[Photo by C.F. Weber]

Alton Ochsner's contributions to medical education and health care have made him one of the most revered surgeons in Tulane History. Born in 1896 and raised in a small South Dakota town, Dr. Ochsner was an unlikely hero of Southern medicine. However, a director at the Tulane Medical School had the foresight to recruit Dr. Ochsner from the University of Wisconsin Medical School, and, in 1927, he succeeded the legendary Rudolph Matas as Professor and Chairman of the Department of Surgery at Tulane. Although Tulane did not have its own hospital at the time, Ochsner succeeded in organizing one of America's premier surgical teaching programs at Charity Hospital, an institution that provided invaluable clinical opportunities to Ochsner and his students.

As a teacher, Dr. Ochsner became renowned, perhaps notorious to his medical students and residents, for his intense verbal cross-examinations in the Charity Hospital amphitheater, or 'bull pen' as it is known. He believed the psychologically taxing ordeal programmed students to perform well under stress and kept them on their toes.

Dr. Ochsner's many accomplishment included co-founding the Ochsner Clinic and pioneering the 'war against smoking.' The Ochsner Clinic is now one of the nations largest group practices and academic medical centers. In 1990 alone, the clinic had 650,000 outpatient visits. But it was his leadership in exposing the hazards of tobacco and its link to lung cancer, that remain one of his most important contributions. He maintained this association even though he was vastly criticized and ridiculed by his peers.

Numerous honors and awards were bestowed upon Dr. Ochsner not only for his success as a surgeon, but rather as a New Orleanian. In 1948, he received the highest civic honor New Orleans can bestow upon someone-he was named Rex, King of Carnival. Unfortunately, in September of 1981 Dr. Ochsner passed away. He will long be remembered as one of the paramount contributors to Tulane's prestigious reputation as a leader in medical education.

- Kris Atzeff

Ochsner was born May 4, 1896 in Kimball, South Dakota.



Today's photo reminds me of a story that my dad tells all the time.

He and my mom were going to the Yucatan. They were on the plane when they discovered the place was going to Merida.

The only problem is his luggage was checked to Cancun.

So he claims he say, 'What do you mean, Merida. My clothes are in Cancun.'


Today's picture just cries out for a bubble caption... the style of
Gerald Gardner's* funny balloon captions to serious agency photos -- as do many
of the photos appearing in the forum and elsewhere on the Internet.

example, couldn't Mayor Schiro, pointing at the map of Central America, be
saying: "...and here's where we're thinking of relocating the St Thomas housing
project"? (Or does that violate the forum's "Be nice" rule?)

How about a
lighter-side forum feature in which members caption the photos in Gardner's
style? There must be a simple scan-and-paste technology for superimposing speech
and thought balloon captions on file photos (Mr Lake, please advise?).

Regarding bubble-captioning I believe that photog and humorist Gerald Gardner
more or less invented the genre in the '60s with his first book, "Who's In
Charge Here?", whose cover featured Ike caught sitting at his desk in the Oval
Office looking unusually gormless. Gardner used a lot of news photos of JFK
meeting with de Gaulle, Kruschev, Nixon, and other notables of the day.
Reportedly, President Kennedy had hysterics over the captions.

favorite Gardner recaptioning was of that famous scene of General MacArthur and
the Allied commanders awaiting the Japanese delegation's signature of the
Instruments of Surrender on the battleship Missouri on Sept 2 1945. If memory
serves me correctly, Japanese foreign minister Shigemitsu, all decked out in
formal diplomatic dress with black top hat and tails, signed for the emperor in
front of the stiffly attentive ranks of the Allies and the ship's company.

As he signs dejectedly, in Gerald Gardner's doctored archive, a
"Thinks.." bubble emanates from the top Jap's top hat, reading: "Well, there's
always transistor radios....".