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Shoo-Shoo and Making Tracks

Re: “In Search of a Shoo-Shoo,” Streetcar column by Errol Laborde; and “Rolling Along: New Orleanians and their streetcars,” Chronicles column by Carolyn Kolb. November 2013 issue.

I finally got a chance to read the November issue of New Orleans Magazine. In your Streetcar column you discussed the term “shoo-shoo.” When I was a child in New Orleans, we called a firecracker that fizzled instead of exploding a shoo-shoo. I thought that was a universal term, one other thing that I found out wasn’t shared by the rest of the country only much later – like Mardi Gras not being a federal holiday.

Also, in the Local Color article “Rolling Along” about streetcars, I was surprised that the concept of the streetcar party wasn’t included. When we were kids, our parents used to rent out a streetcar for our birthday parties and get little ice cream cups from the dairy on Carrollton Avenue. As I remember it, the streetcar was usually on the St. Charles line and the party lasted for the entire round trip from Carrollton and Claiborne avenues to Canal Street and back. I remember enjoying the parties tremendously, in part because we got to play with the dry ice in which the ice cream cups were packed.

Mike Huete
Montclair, VA

Ed. Response: “Shoo-shoo” as applied to describe dud firecrackers is a very popular use of the term. It was an oversight that it wasn’t included – a shoo-shoo on our part. Yes, streetcars are used for parties, although track reconstruction over the last couple of years has made the process more difficult. The best known rolling party is that of the Phunny Phorty Phellows’ Twelfth Night ride to announce the arrival of the Carnival season. That is no shoo-shoo.

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