New Orleans History -- Lake Pontchartrain
Wednesday, July 24, 2024
Search this site.View the site map.

1952 The Falstaff Weather Ball is First Lit

On Aug. 1, 1952, at exactly 8 p.m., a New Orleans landmark was lit for the first time.

The Falstaff Brewing Company, located at 2601 Gravier St., installed a 126-foot tower with an electrical sign on top of its new brewery. The man given the honor of throw-ing the switch was U.S. Weath-er Bureau meteorologist, the renowned and highly beloved Dr. Isaac Monroe Cline. Joining Dr. Cline for this auspicious occasion was New Orleans Mayor deLesseps “Chep” Morrison. Falstaff’s advertising to the metropolitan New Orleans area informed the locals that the tower would forecast the next day’s weather.

The changing colors of the massive ball on top of the sign were:

GREEN – fair weather.

RED – cloudy.


WHITE – showers.

RED AND WHITE FLASHING – approaching storms.

Temperature changes that were predicted were indicated by the lights on the vertical Falstaff sign.

Letters on the sign, spelling FALSTAFF from top to bottom, flashed on and off when temperatures remained constant.

Letters would light from bottom to top when temperatures were expected to rise.

When letters lit top to bottom the temperature was dropping.

The sign went dark on Dec. 7, 1978. On that day the facility was closed, at first temporarily, then permanently.

Source: Buddy Stall at