Julia Street With Poydras the Parrot

A MONTHLY PURSUIT OF ANSWERS TO ETERNAL QUESTIONS

The Turning Basin area as it looked from a low-flying airplane on Oct. 29th, 1941. The Plaza Tower was built at the site in 1969.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY THE HISTORIC NEW ORLEANS COLLECTION

Dear Julia Street,
I have been looking without success for an aerial photo of the New Basin Canal Turning Basin to try and pin it down in regards to our current streets and buildings.

There are two old oak trees outside of the Union Passenger Terminal that I thought might be leftover from canal days, but I was able to find these in a 1955 publication showing the new Union Passenger Terminal with new plantings in the Rose Garden.

I have photos of the Union Passenger Terminal (currently), and older ones showing the oak trees after planting, as well as the cover of “1954-1955 Annual Report to the Mayor.”

The 1864 Banks Map shows the Turning Basin ending on South Rampart at Howard Avenue.

Do you have any aerial photos of this location pre-Union Passenger Terminal?

Bob Lovinggood
Metairie


I don’t have what you’re seeking, but I know where it can be found. The Charles L. Franck Studio Collection at the Historic New Orleans Collection contains just such a photograph, accession No. 1979.325.6427, showing the Turning Basin area as it looked from a low-flying airplane on Oct. 29th, 1941. The modern street grid has changed considerably since that time but the turning basin was located where South Rampart Street meets Howard Avenue.

In 1964, the Plaza Tower was built at the site.

Dear Julia,
My grandmother, who was born in the 1890s, told me that it was customary for apartment-dwelling New Orleanians to move into a new apartment every October. This probably seems very natural to Poydras, except that October isn’t in the spring. Do you know why the city’s families went to all that trouble?

Barbara Mattingly
Covington


When your grandmother was a small child, Oct. 1 was still observed as a traditional moving day, not only in New Orleans, but in other cities as well. The reason for what was once an annual mass-migration was that Oct. 1 marked the beginning of the rental year, when old leases expired and new ones went into effect. Whether they simply desired a change of surroundings or because their landlord was terminating their lease, New Orleans renters typically secured new living quarters on or around Oct. 1. By World War II, cities throughout the country were abandoning the single moving day tradition and adopting a staggered system under which residential leases no longer expired on the same day.

Dear Julia,
As a child in the 1950s, I attended Catholic School. Uniforms and saddle oxfords were mandatory. I remember going to Crane’s Shoe Store on Tulane Avenue. There was a sign on the building for Buster Brown shoes.

The salesperson would measure your feet and check for any corrections you might need in the shoes. There was an elevated platform with stairs. The salesperson would check the shoes for growing room and have you walk in them.

This was a yearly routine shopping trip for me. Can you tell me the exact location of Crane’s on Tulane and when did the store close? Also, did Crane’s move to Metairie, and is it still in business?

Karen Boudreaux
Marrero

Poydras is concerned that you forgot all about Tige, Buster Brown’s pet bulldog, as well as the ads for Red Goose Shoes, – all of which were part of the shoe-buying experience of our youth. Since the 1950s, Crane’s was located at 1726 Tulane Ave. In ’72, the company moved from Tulane Avenue but operated stores at 4426 Trenton, in Metairie, and 3835 Frenchmen, in Gentilly. Both locations have since closed.

In November 1963, Crane’s received some visitors who were looking for information rather than children’s shoes.

The Warren Commission dropped by 1726 Tulane and interviewed Judson Crane Jr., who indicated that Lee Harvey Oswald had never applied for employment or worked at the Crane’s family-run shoe store.

Before the “Miracle Mile” of the early 1950s eliminated much of the area’s residential streetscape, the section of Tulane Avenue below Broad was a mix of 19th century family homes and businesses run by neighborhood families.

Crane’s was located only a block away from one area’s most famous and now-demolished landmarks, Rosenberg’s furniture store at 1825 Tulane. While the neighborhood was not predominantly Jewish, families from Russia and Eastern Europe could be found there. The Rosenberg family was only one of several Russian Jewish families to operate businesses along Tulane Avenue in Lower Mid-City.

We have asked and asked to no avail and thus are relying upon our wise Julia. Who was the street Gen. Meyer named after? We look forward to seeing a response!

Judy D’Agostaro
New Orleans


General Meyer Avenue, a major Algiers thoroughfare, is named for General Adolph Meyer (1842-1908). A native of Natchez, Miss., Meyer attained the rank of adjutant general during the Civil War. He then returned to civilian life where he engaged in cotton planting and banking. After Reconstruction, Meyer served in the Louisiana National Guard, to which he was elected colonel in 1879 and appointed brigadier general in 1881. A decade later, Adolph Meyer was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served until his death. The husband of Rosalie Jonas and brother-in-law of U.S. Senator Benjamin Franklin Jonas, Adolph Meyer died March 8, 1908, and was laid to rest in Metairie Cemetery.

Dear Julia,
I once was a resident in New Orleans but was forced to move out due to Hurricane Katrina. I now live in Memphis.

My question is why was the wishing well at St. Jude Catholic Church taken from the public? I would visit the church quite often when I was in New Orleans.

Yvonne Rugon
Memphis, TN


It is a technicality, but Our Lady of Guadeloupe is a chapel, not a church, and is home to the International Shrine of St. Jude. Although generations of New Orleanians were accustomed to tossing coins over the chapel wall or into the “wishing well” you recall, the practice was ended because thieves were led into temptation by the money lying in plain view and easy reach.
 

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JULIA STREET WITH POYDRAS THE PARROT

THE PURSUIT TO ANSWER ETERNAL QUESTIONS

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