New Orleans History -- Lake Pontchartrain
Wednesday, July 24, 2024
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1913 Storyville

1884--1954 - Oscar (Papa) Celestin

William Phillips and Harry Parker had been partners at the '102 Ranch'. Parker sold out to Phillips and promised not to open a competing establishment  in the vicinity but then opened the 'Tuxedo Dance Hall' across the street. A rivalry began and escalated to the point where Parker hired 'Gyp the Blood' to kill Phillips. Parker's plan was to kill Phillips, blame it on 'Gyp' and immediately kill him. While standing at his 'Tuxedo Dance Hall' bar, Phillips was fatally shot in the back. Parker's shot 'Gyp'. The plan backfired when 'Gyp' in turn killed Parker.

A newspaper article on the 24th of March described the Tuxedo Dance Hall in Storyville -- 'The bar faces the street and opens, without screens, the full width of the part apportioned to it, into the street. Here a Negro band holds forth from 8 o'clock at night until 4 o'clock in the morning plays various rags, conspicuous for being the latest in popular music, interspersed with compositions by the musicians themselves.'

Papa Celestine worked at the Tuxedo and named his 'Original Tuxedo Jazz Orchestra' after the dance hall. The band played there from 1910 to 1913, when the club was closed after the shooting.

Sources:  and