New Orleans History -- Lake Pontchartrain
Thursday, January 21, 2021
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February


February 11, 1825 - Jefferson Parish is Established

Jefferson Parish, Louisiana was established in 1825 and was named in honor of Thomas Jefferson, commemorating his role in purchasing the Louisiana territory from France in 1803. The Parish originally extended from present day Felicity Street in New Orleans, Louisiana, to the St. Charles Parish line. As Orleans Parish grew, it annexed from Jefferson Parish such established areas as the Garden District, Lafayette, Jefferson, and Carrollton. The present boundary was set in 1874, and in 1884 the seat of Parish government was transferred to the West Bank, Gretna, where it has remained.

Once a largely rural area of farms, dairies and vast tracts of undeveloped land, Jefferson Parish today is New Orleans' first suburb - a bedroom community west of the city that received the first great migration of middle-class families from the 1950's to the 1970's.

Pictured is a map from the 1895 World Atlas

Sources: http://www.livgenmi.com/jeffersonLA.htm & http://www.jeffparish.net/index.cfm?DocID=1371

February 11, 1825 - Jefferson Parish is Established

February 12, 1733 - The First Wine Cellar

Ordonnature Salmon reported on this date, that behind his house on Toulouse Street, between Chartres and Levee (Decatur) Streets, he had made plans to construct a brick vaulted wine cellar. Actually, the structure, designed by Royal Engineer Ignace Francois Broutin, was a two-story archway with the upper portion used as an office, and the lower, or ground portion used as a wine cellar. The upper room also contained a bedroom and was apparently intended as a living quarters for the quartermaster in charge of the wine. Salmon explained the purpose of the cellar was mainly to provision the hospital. He did not explain why he had it built behind the Intendant's house, rather than at the hospital, which was several blocks away. Construction was completed on April 19, 1735. Thus, this structure became New Orleans' first wine cellar. (Although it no longer exist, the largest wine cellar in the south still exits today a few blocks away on St. Louis Street in Antoine's Restaurant.)

Pictured is Antoine's wine cellar. Founded in 1840, Antoine's is the oldest restaurant in New Orleans, and the oldest restaurant under single-family ownership in America. It's wine cellar is said to be one of the largest in the world. It is 165 feet long and seven feet wide. Fully Stocked it will hold approximately 24,783 bottles. Antoine's normally maintains a supply of 17,000 to 20,000 bottles.

Sources: http://www.yatcom.com/neworl/dining/antoines/netscape/winecellar.html - http://www.historyneworleans.com/index.php - http://www.foodhistory.com/foodnotes/road/cs3/

February 12, 1733 - The First Wine Cellar

February 28, 1849 - The Odd Fellows Dedicate Their New Cemetary

By BUDDY STALL

The Independent Order of Odd Fellows began meetings in New Orleans in 1831. It was a secret benevolent society. In the next 10 years, enough members had been enrolled with enough dues collected for the society to purchase land to be used as a cemetery. A triangular tract between Canal Street and Metairie Road (now City Park Avenue) and St. Patrick Cemetery was purchased for $700. Members of the organization were pleased with their purchase; the land was high and was one of the few places in the city to stay dry during the serious flooding of 1849.

Odd Fellows Rest had a well-organized design with “wall ovens” on two sides of the triangular piece of land. To honor some of its members, walks were laid out and named for those who served as past grand masters in the State of Louisiana. The dedication plans were discussed, and great pomp and ceremony were planned for the dedication date on February 28, 1849. The plan called for a grand procession led by two circus band wagons; one from Stone and McCollum’s Circus, to be drawn by sixteen magnificent horses, and the second from the circus of S.P. Stickney, drawn by four horses. The band wagons were followed by a funeral “car.”

It carried the remains of 16 deceased members of the organization gathered from various cemeteries throughout the city.

After leaving the Place d’Armes the procession traveled through Chartres, Canal, Esplanade, Camp and St. Joseph Streets. Members then headed to the New Basin Canal, where the Odd Fellows boarded 35 chartered omnibuses for the trip along the New Basin shell road to the site of the cemetery three miles away. At this point, the procession stretched out for a mile. Leaders of the grand lodge did not go by way of the shell road; instead they made the trip by water, after boarding passenger barges on the New Basin Canal that took them to within a short distance of their own cemetery.

Although the society is no longer active, the secret benevolent society of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows made a lasting impression on Feb. 28, 1849.

Source: http://clarionherald.org/20001123/stall.htm

A lot of people wonder where black people bury their families. This is the South, after all, and we had our share of segregation in New Orleans. For Catholics, this wasn't a big deal, since the Church never tolerated segregation. In church parishes, segregation was de facto, by neighborhood, but if you were Catholic, you could buy a tomb in a Catholic cemetery and bury your dead right next to the white folks. This is how a family like the Morials came to have a tomb in St. Louis Number One. If you weren't Catholic, however, you could run into some difficulty. That's why benevolent societies like the Odd Fellows purchased land just outside of town for a cemetery. The Odd Fellows were a benevolent society, not unlike the Masons or Knights of Columbus. The best way to avoid the problem of where to bury your family is to buy your own cemetery.

Odd Fellow's Rest is probably the least-known or least-explored of the cemeteries at the foot of Canal, for two reasons: First, since those buried there are primarily non-Catholic black folks, the people who will come to visit the graves of family are limited. Second, the cemetery is surrounded by a ten-foot concrete wall, making it very uninviting. The location is prime space, being right on the foot of Canal, but it's still pretty much a mystery to many.

Source: http://www.yatcom.com/neworl/lifestyle/cemfootcanal.html http://www.bestofneworleans.com/dispatch/2002-07-23/blake.html

February 28, 1849 - The Odd Fellows Dedicate Their New Cemetary

February 13, 1872 - The First Rex Parade

The official anthem of Rex is "If Ever I Cease to Love", a hit song of the early 1870's era from a musical comedy named "Bluebeard". The musical's leading lady, Lydia Thompson, was performing in New Orleans at the time of the first Rex parade. The visiting Grand Duke Alexis of Russia, who had seen "Bluebeard" during his national tour, was also familiar with the song and with Thompson, to whom he had once sent a gift bracelet.

Bands in that first Rex parade serenaded the Grand Duke Alexis with the Russian national anthem as they marched past City Hall. When Rex, having dismounted at the Henry Clay statue on Canal Street, reviewed the parade, the bands played "If Ever I Cease To Love". Today, this song is played when Rex enters his Grand Ball and after the meeting of the Rex and Comus courts Mardi Gras night, signaling the end of the Mardi Gras celebration.

Reigning that day over the parade who's theme was "Triumphal Entry" was Mr. Lewis J. Salomon.

Sources: http://www.rexorganization.com/traditions.htm http://www.picturehistory.com/find/p/7789/mcms.html

February 13, 1872 - The First Rex Parade

February 14, 1789 - Cornerstone Laid for the St. Louis Cathedral

A fire on March 21, 1788, started when a candle ignited the lace draperies of an altar in the home of the military treasurer of the colony, Vincente Jose Nunez, on Chartres Street. Among the buildings burned to the ground were the Church of St. Louis, the priests' residence, and the Casa Principal, which housed the Cabildo.

In a letter written on March 28, 1788, Father Antonio de Sedella (Pere Antoine), who was pastor of the church, described the rapidity with which the fire made headway. He wrote that he had sent some of the church records to the home of the tobacco director, "distant from the Presbytere about two rifle shots," but they were lost when that house caught fire.

Nearly a year elapsed before the charred remains of the church were cleared away and construction of a new church began in early 1789. More than five years were to pass before the new church was completed in December, 1794.

The second Church of St. Louis was the gift of the wealthy Don Andres Almonester y Roxas, a native of Andalusia who had acquired numerous properties since his arrival in New Orleans in the wake of Governor Alejandro O'Reilly.

As Louisiana and the Floridas had been created a diocese in 1793, and Luis Pefialver y Cardenas appointed first bishop with New Orleans as his See city, the new church was dedicated as a Cathedral and put into service on Christmas Eve, 1794.

Sources: http://www.saintlouiscathedral.org/HistoryE2.htm http://nutrias.org/~nopl/spec/pamphlets/slc/slc.htm

February 14, 1789 - Cornerstone Laid for the St. Louis Cathedral

February 15, 1868 - Submarine Races?

During the Civil War (1861) a 30 foot two-man submarine was built on Bayou St. John to be used in the lake in an attempt to destroy the Union steamers New London and Calhoun on Lake Pontchartrain. One man propelled the submarine by turning the manual crank. It was armed with clock-work torpedo, carried on top which was to be screwed into the bottom of the enemy's ships. Named "Pioneer", the sub made several descents in Lake Pontchartrain and succeeded in destroying a small schooner and several rafts during experiments. Before doing harm to enemy ships, Admiral Farragut captured the city and the sub was sunk to prevent it from falling into Federal hands.

The February 15, 1868 New Orleans Picayune, morning edition, reported that the sub was "to be sold at public auction today....It was built as an experiment and was never fully perfected, and is only valuable now for the machinery and iron which is in and about it.' The Picayune afternoon edition reported that it had been sold as scrap for $43. See http://www.stphilipneri.org/teacher/pontchartrain/content.php?type=1&id=239 for more details about the subs in Lake Pontchartrain.

February 15, 1868 - Submarine Races?

February 16, 1840 - Margaret Haughery Opens the first of Four Orphanages

The first statue erected in the United States in honor of a woman is the statue to Margaret Haughery at the corner of Prytania and Camp in New Orleans. It is fondly called "The Margaret Statue".

Haughery immigrated from Ireland in 1835 and soon lost her husband and child in the yellow fever epidemic. She opened her first orphanage in a previously dilapidated house in the 1400 block of Clio Street which was said to be haunted. When the owner planned to sell the property, Margaret convinced him of the value of charity and the orphanage was granted free rent from that day on. She then purchased several cows to provide milk for the children. This purchase developed into a booming dairy whose products she sold through the city from her milk cart. Haughery's investments and loans were highly profitable and her wealth grew. As a result of earlier loans to businessmen, she found herself the major stockholder of a bankrupt bakery, which she transformed into a highly successful venture known as Margaret's Bakery (later the Klotz Cracker Factory).

She tended to the victims of the many yellow fever epidemics in the city without consideration of race, religion or class and her generosity was well-known throughout the city. After the epidemic of 1853 she was approached with the need for an orphanage for just infants. Her answer was, "Build the asylum, and God will pay for it" and it was thus that St. Vincent De Paul Infant Asylum at Race and Magazine Streets was started. The debt was paid in sixteen years, largely through Haughery's milk cart sales.

Margaret also established St. Theresa's, St. Elizabeth's and the Poydras Asylum, several homes for the elderly, and at her death in 1882 she willed the bulk of her estate (over $600,000) to New Orleans' orphanages. The crowd at her funeral stretched for a block outside the church doors and her pallbearers included former governors and mayors. All stores, city offices and business establishments were closed for the day in respect.

Source: http://landrieu.senate.gov/newsite/whmhaughery.cfm

February 16, 1840 - Margaret Haughery Opens the first of Four Orphanages

February 17, 1885 - Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show comes to Mardi Gras

"The New Orleans 1885 Mardi Gras was extraordinary. On the streets were large numbers of international visitors connected with the [World's Industrial and Cotton Centennial] Exposition, several Central American Indian groups, and some fifty to sixty Plains Indians from the [Buffalo Bill] Wild West Show, including four chiefs, all of whom were likely on the street in native dress. For [locals of African descent, particularly groups who took to masking as Indians,] Mardi Gras translated nicely into a freedom celebration, a day to commemorate their own history and spirit, to be arrogant, to circumvent the hostile authorities, to overturn the established order, and now and then to seek revenge."

Source: Mardi Gras Indians (Pelican Publishing Company, 1994), by Michael P. Smith

February 17, 1885 - Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show comes to Mardi Gras

February 18, 1924 - Swing is Born?

Armond (A.J.) Piron's New Orleans Orchestra recorded Lou'siana Swing, written by Peter Bocage and Piron. It is believed to be the first use of the term "swing" in a recording.

February 18, 1924 - Swing is Born?

February 19, 1921 - Cannonball hits Algiers

A four inch cannonball crashed through the front wall of Mrs. A. Stenhouse, 73, of 317 Alix Street in Algiers. Apparently several young pranksters had loaded a Civil War Era cannon in Jackson Square and fired it across the river. Windows and glass light were broken in the square.

Sources: http://www.enlou.com/time/year1921.htm & http://fido.cpmc.columbia.edu/naveen/nola-00/

February 19, 1921 - Cannonball hits Algiers

February 20, 1995 - Bordello of Blood

Director Gilbert Adler was gearing up to film BORDELLO OF BLOOD (formerly DEAD EASY) in New Orleans. Starring Dennis Miller, Chris Sarandon, Whoopi Goldberg, and Corey Feldman (among other lesser known names) the trailer says "The bloodsucking beauties who ply their trade in this "gorehouse" offer their clients the night of their lives..." .

February 20, 1995 - Bordello of Blood

February 21, 1831- The Pontchartrain Railroad (aka Smokey Mary)

This newspaper clipping from the February 21, 1831 issue of the United States Weekly Telegraph newspaper published in Washington, DC by Duff Green is part of a 1/2 page report about the Pontchartrain Railroad in New Orleans. The report describes the route and construction of the Railroad that connected Lake Pontchartrain and the city of New Orleans, Louisiana.

February 21, 1831- The Pontchartrain Railroad (aka Smokey Mary)

February 22, 1936 - Ernie K-Doe is Born

Ernest Kador, Jr., the self proclaimed "Emperor of the World", was born at Charity Hospital on this day in 1936. See http://www.k-doe.com/bio.shtml for a biography of this colorful New Orleans character.

February 22, 1936 - Ernie K-Doe is Born

February 23, 1934 - Huey P. Long's National Radio Address

Then a Senator, the former Governor and self proclaimed "King Fish" bought air time for a national radio broadcast to spread his "Share Our Wealth" ideology--to make "Everyman a King". Long was gearing up for a probable run in the 1936 presidential election.

February 23, 1934 - Huey P. Long's National Radio Address

February 24, 1912 - Carnival Visitors

The Daily Picayune, in that era, reported guests in town at various hotels. Here we see that Mr. Cline stayed at the DeSoto (now Le Pavillion). Source: http://theoldentimes.com/cline.html

February 24, 1912 - Carnival Visitors

February 25, 1967 - Garrison JFK Investigation

Jim Garrison and his followers have long claimed that it's an open secret in New Orleans that "Clay Bertrand" was actually businessman Clay Shaw. But in 1967, NODA staffers told a different story. Just four days before Clay Shaw's arrest (at which time Jim Garrison formally alleged Shaw to be "Bertrand"), one of Garrison's top investigators, Lou Ivon, filed a memorandum indicating that he could find no trace of a "Clay Bertrand" in New Orleans. Furthermore, he said, Dean Andrews had confided to an associate that "Bertrand" didn't exist -- that he'd made the story up. Andrews told Garrison himself the same thing, as Garrison confided to journalist Richard Billings. (Richard Billings, investigative notes, February 23, 1967 [p. 13].) Credit: http://www.jfk-online.com/nobertrand.html

February 25, 1967 - Garrison JFK Investigation

February 26, 1906 - Katz & Besthoff Drug Store

732 Canal Street. From the John N. Teunisson Photograph Collection at the New Orleans Public Libray. Credit: http://nutrias.org/photos/jnt/teun2.htm

February 26, 1906 - Katz & Besthoff Drug Store

February 27, 1949 - New Orleans Wedding

The Margaritae Schott and Michel Daigrepont Wedding. Credit: http://www.angelartbyeve.com/daigrepont2_photos.html

February 27, 1949 - New Orleans Wedding