New Orleans History -- Lake Pontchartrain
Sunday, June 25, 2017
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The Camps


1910s Alcide Nunez plays at a camp

Alcide Nunez, right, with his nephew, violinist Harry Nunez, in the early 1910s. In this photo they were playing at one of the old camps on Lake Pontchartrain with Frank Christian's Band. Nunez worked in the bands of his friends cornetist Frank Christian and trombonist Tom Brown. At least on occasion, Nunez put together a band under his own name. But for years his most important work was with bandleader Papa Jack Laine. Source: http://www.geocities.com/BourbonStreet/5135/NuStart.html

1910s Alcide Nunez plays at a camp

1914 Postcard

Reads "CAPTURING OF AN INHABITANT OF THE MARSHES NEAR LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN"

1914 Postcard

1917 The First Jazz Recording

1889-1961 - Dominic (Nick) LaRocca The Italian Connection? ...all citizens had access to the music which was performed on the streets, at the camps at West End, and in the cabarets and dance halls...The Original Dixieland Jass Band (ODJB) was, in 1917, the first jazz group to be recorded. It included Nick LaRocca and Tony Sbarbaro. Other notable Italian jazz originators are Leon Roppolo, Tony Parenti, Charlie Scaglioni, Santo Pecora, Sherwood Mangiapane, Joseph Manone, Curly Lizana, Charlie Cordilla, Joseph "Wingy" Manone, Sharkey Bonano, Tony Parenti, and Louis Prima. Source: http://members.aol.com/ODJBjazz/odjbhistory.html

1917 The First Jazz Recording

1910s & 20s - Alcide (Yellow) Nunez' Moonlight Serenaders

Alcide (Yellow) Nunez (1884-1934) and his band, The Moonlight Serenaders ...played regularly along the lakefront north of New Orleans at places like Milenburg and Little Woods. They accompanied the Boswell Sisters early in their carrer. Source: http://www.geocities.com/BourbonStreet/5135/WCBE.html

1910s & 20s - Alcide (Yellow) Nunez' Moonlight Serenaders

Jazz on the Lake

Tom Brown played Jass on the Lake & steamers crossing to the North Shore 1888-1958 - Tom Brown Brown claimed to be the first to use the word "Jass" to descibe the music that was coming out of New Orleans. For a while, both black and white bands had found plenty of seasonal employment at the beachfront restaurants, pavilions, and cabarets lining the south shore of 635-square-mile Lake Pontchartrain, less than five miles north of the city. Tom Brown's band was even one of the few that got to play on the excursion steamers that took tourists to the more exclusive north shore. But Pontchartrain's heyday ran in cycles, subject to sometimes violent weather and changing fashion. It ended forever when, in the mid-1920s, construction began on a seawall to extend the existing shoreline out several hundred feet, protecting it from storms and flooding--and leaving the former resort area stranded inland. Source: http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/s/sudhalter-chords.html Like most early White New Orleans Jazz musicians, trombonist Tom Brown was a veteran of Papa Jack Laine's Reliance. Brown's Dixieland Jass Band consisted of Tom Brown on trombone; his brother Steve on bass, Ray Lopez on cornet; William Lambert on drums; Arnold Loyacano on guitar; and Larry Sheilds on clarinet. Once in New York, Brown's clarinetist, Larry Sheilds exchanged jobs with Yellow Nuñez who had just been fired from The Original Dixieland Jass Band. Nuñez joined Browns band. In New Orleans he played with Johnny Bayersdorffer and his Jazzola Novelty Orchestra. Source: http://www.redhotjazz.com/brown.html

Jazz on the Lake

1926 The beginning of the end of the Camps between West End and the Airport

The entire eastward stretch of the Lake was bordered by clusters of fishing shacks on pilings, until the initiation in 1926 of the 51/2 mile, 2000 acre land fill called Lakefront Improvement Project. This ultimately provided not only the boulevard and ample strip of landscaped park but also the residential developments of Lake Vista (1936, modeled after the famous cu/-de-sac scheme of Radburn, New Jersey), Lakeshore (1951), Lake Terrace (1953), Lake Oaks (1964), plus New Orleans Airport (1929-34) and the University of New Orleans campus. Source: New Oleans Online-Culture

1926 The beginning of the end of the Camps between West End and the Airport

1928 - West End Blues Sheet Music Cover

During the hot summers in New Orleans, music fans headed to camps on Lake Ponchartrain. The camps consisted of shacks built on stilts on the lake which allowed for cooler breezes to help beat the heat and humidity. Source: http://www.jass.com/place.html

1928 - West End Blues Sheet Music Cover