JULIA STREET WITH POYDRAS THE PARROT

THE PURSUIT TO ANSWER ETERNAL QUESTIONS

The Claiborne Towers under construction in 1950.

Dear Julia,
The New Orleans Fair Grounds housed a painting by Theodore Moise and Victor Pierson in the Clubhouse. There were many horses and men in the painting, and I’ve read that all the men were prominent men from New Orleans. The painting burned in 1993, but has been recopied. I would love to know who the men are. I think my husband’s great-grandfather, Moise, bald and standing, is located in the middle to the right.

Sandra Moise
Houma


Yes, your husband’s great-grandfather, the famed portraitist Theodore S. Moise, included his own likeness in the 1867 painting “Life on the Metairie,” which depicts a race meeting at the old Metairie Race Course; but I think you may have identified the wrong bald man. According to an article appearing in the Jan. 10, 1868 edition of The Daily Picayune, “... The two artists themselves modestly appear on the extreme left, thus completing the portraitures.”

In January 1868, The Daily Picayune wrote about the painting, which includes portraits of more than 40 notable horsemen and important men of the day. The painting’s central figure, sitting in an open carriage in a patch of bright light at the middle of the work, is Gen. P. G. T. Beauregard, accompanied by Mr. Hernandez. While the article identifies many, but not all, of the more than 40 notable horsemen and important men of the day who appear in the painting, it skips erratically around the work and provides only partial names for most of the subjects.

Dear Julia,
In the late 1960s my date and I visited a bar located near the marina at the Lakefront. It had windows where you could sit and watch the boats. I recall it being located near the Hong Kong restaurant. I enjoyed many delicious drinks and pleasant conversations while admiring the view. I questioned many friends, but no one can recall the name of the bar. Any recollection of this bar?

Karen Boudreaux
Marrero


The Anchor In Lounge was located at 7410 West End Blvd., just up the block from the Hong Kong Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge. While the lake view from inside Anchor In Lounge was a nice one, the establishment itself wasn’t a showplace of outer beauty; it was located in an industrial steel-constructed building that also housed the Scariano family’s marine supply and hardware business.

Dear Julia,
 I saw in The Times-Picayune that a blighted hotel called The Grand Palace will be torn down for the new medical center. Could you give me its history? It must have been one of the largest hotels with 1,032 rooms in its day (at the corner Canal Street and S. Claiborne Avenue). Thank you in advance.

Rick Reiners
New Orleans


Originally an upscale apartment complex known as the Claiborne Towers, the building dates from 1950 and is the work of architects William Nowland Van Powell (’04-’77) and Henry Ehrensing (’07-’55). When the Claiborne Towers opened to extensive newspaper coverage, The Times-Picayune noted FHA district manager L. J. Dumestre’s praise for the project. Dumestre pointed out that the land on which the complex was erected had previously belonged to Tulane University and, as such, had enjoyed tax-exempt status. As Claiborne Towers, the property was expected to generate significant tax revenue.

Located in the block bounded by Canal Street, South Claiborne Avenue, South Derbigny Street and Cleveland Avenue, the building cost $10 million and had 1,036 individually air conditioned luxury apartments. Rents, including utilities, originally ranged from $68 to $135 per month, depending on apartment size and location; all units had outside exposure. Designed as a self-contained mini-city, the Claiborne Towers was to include on its ground level a pharmacy, a restaurant and lounge, clothing shops, a florist and a loan office. Interior decoration for the model units was provided by Hemenway, a local firm located on Royal Street.

Dear Julia,
My family and I enjoyed many Mardi Gras days in front of the Le Dale Hotel on St. Charles Avenue; it was a combination bar and hotel with some colorful patrons. Sadly one day it was closed and for sale. Any information on the owner or building history would be appreciated. I am quite sure there were some old pirates Poydras might have known in the bar.

John Laughlin
Port Neches, Texas

 
John, the only pirates Poydras is familiar with are from Pittsburgh. He became a fan of the team as a kid when he thought they were the Pittsburg Parrots.

The three-story building at 739 St. Charles Ave. was built in late 1921, replacing an earlier structure that had stood on the site until that time. The ground floor of the new structure was leased as stores while Miss Annye Stringer leased the upper two stories, which she operated as an apartment house known as The Stratford. Stringer, a well-known landlady, had run boarding houses in the neighborhood for more than a decade and had a reputation for renting rooms to local workers rather than transient guests. Over the years, the property changed hands and changed names multiple times. By ’60, it had become the Ward Hotel.      
       
The hotel’s last incarnation, as Le Dale Hotel, was incorporated in January 1978 with Leonard L. Dale Sr. and Betty Fulton Dale as its officers.

The corporation was dissolved in mid-May 2008.
 
Dear Julia and Poydras,
In the late 1960s and early ’70s there was a place on the corner of Frenchman Street and Esplanade Avenue. It was named Ruby Tuesdays. Was that the mothership of the now-popular chain? During the same time frame there was a restaurant and bar near the tracks at the edge of the French Quarter (I’m thinking maybe Iberville Street or Conti Street). It was in an old railroad car and the name Victoria’s Station comes to mind. I believe the owner/manager was named Joe, if that’s of any help. Any information will be appreciated, as this old brain can’t remember everything on its own.

Lyon Hammer
Melbourne, Fla.


The names may be similar, but you’re recalling Ruby Red’s, not Ruby Tuesday’s. The popular burger joint, Ruby Red’s, formerly located at 435 Esplanade Ave., was a joint famous for allowing its patrons to throw their empty roasted peanut shells on the floor. A Ruby Red’s location survives on the West Bank, on Lapalco Boulevard near Manhattan Boulevard in Harvey. Ruby Tuesday’s is a more upscale national dining chain that started in Tennessee.

The brainchild of Cornell hotel and restaurant administration graduates Dick Bradley, Peter Lee and Bob Freeman, Victoria Station was a national chain of restaurants specializing in prime rib. The New Orleans location, which opened in 1971, was located in several railroad cars and part of the former American Sugar Company at 111 Iberville St., between North Peters Street and the river. The railroad cars were not local but had been brought from various locations out of state. The local eatery was the fourth of a total of about 90 Victoria Stations to open throughout the United States. New Orleans Mayor Moon Landrieu ceremoniously carved the first piece of prime rib at the restaurant’s October ’71 grand opening.

Win a Court of Two Sisters Jazz Brunch or Lunch at the Rib Room
Here is a chance to eat, drink and listen to music, and have your curiosity satiated all at once. Send Julia a question. If we use it, you’ll be eligible for a monthly drawing for one of two Jazz Brunch gift certificates for two at The Court of Two Sisters in the Vieux Carré or a lunch for two at the Rib Room at the Omni Royal Orleans. To take part, send your question to: Julia Street, c/o New Orleans Magazine, 110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, LA 70005 or e-mail: Errol@MyNewOrleans.com. This month’s winners are: Lyon Hammer, Melbourne, Fla.; Sandra Moise, Houma; and Rick Reiners, New Orleans.

Julia on TV
Look for the Julia Street question on “Steppin’ Out,” every Friday at 6:30 p.m. on WYES/Channel 12. The show features reviews, news and features about the New Orleans entertainment scene. Viewers who can answer Julia’s weekly question can call in for prizes. Tell ’em you read about the show in New Orleans Magazine.
 

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