JULIA STREET WITH POYDRAS THE PARROT

A MONTHLY PURSUIT OF ANSWERS TO ETERNAL QUESTIONS

Andy Warhol’s “Raid the Icebox” show on exhibit at the Isaac Delgado Museum of Art in 1970.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY NEW ORLEANS MUSEUM OF ART

Dear Julia,
I seem to recall an event that no one else remembers. That means that either my memory is better than that of my friends and relatives or ... well, you know. So tell me I’m not “losing it,” as my mother used to say.

At the Delgado Museum of Art, Andy Warhol displayed his collection of shoes, which filled several of the upstairs rooms. I remember looking over the balcony and seeing Warhol in a black outfit talking to some unusually dressed young women. It was the late 1960s or early ’70s and no one, including the people I seem to recall going with, remembers this at all!

Perhaps Poydras remembers that far back with a bird’s eye view. Was Warhol here with his shoe collection, or was it all a strange dream that has remained with me all these years?

Betty Bordelon
Kenner


Betty, Andy Warhol is a painful subject for Poydras, who claims that Warhol passed over him in favor of Marilyn Monroe for his pop art subject. Poydras says that he cannot see what appeal Monroe had that he doesn’t have. He insists it was all politics.

As for your recollection, it’s a real memory, not a psychedelic dream. You are definitely not losing it, but you really should have saved the exhibit program. It was early 1970, and I have no doubt it was Andy Warhol’s brilliant white hair you spied from your lofty perch.

Warhol’s “Raid the Icebox” show was on exhibit at the Isaac Delgado Museum of Art, now known as the New Orleans Museum of Art or NOMA, from Jan. 17 to Feb. 15, 1970.

An exhibit of eclectic items from Rhode Island School of Design’s basement, Warhol’s “Raid the Icebox” show is known to have included a tiered tableau of various types of shoes. Warhol himself appeared at the late-night preview party on Jan. 16.

Dear Julia,
With all the controversy surrounding the planned construction of a new medical center, can you tell me when the existing “Big Charity” was built and what was in its footprint before the construction?

Lynn Arruebarrena
Gretna


The main building of the existing Charity Hospital, vacant and idle since Hurricane Katrina, was built in 1939 replacing the previous Charity Hospital, which had stood on the same site since 1832.

The main hospital building sits on Square 367 of the First District. Construction of the present Charity Hospital building wasn’t done on expropriated land but, over the course of about 30 years – from the late 1890s to the mid-1920s – Charity Hospital’s administrations undertook two major expansions that required the closure of public streets and the purchase or expropriation of private property in two neighboring blocks.

In the 1890s, the hospital closed on S. Robertson Street between Tulane Avenue and Gravier Street and took possession of what had been Square 402 of the First District. At the time, the block included gas company storage space along Gravier Street, a Memorial Home for Young Women facing Tulane Avenue and no fewer than a dozen private residences.

The acquisition of the private property taken in the 1890s seems to have gone smoothly. Only one “friendly” suit is said to have been brought because George T. Gernon’s property involved a minor’s property rights. The acquisition of the Claiborne Avenue frontage in the 1920s may have been more litigious.

Around 1924, Charity Hospital sought to expand its campus another block towards the lake by closing a block of Magnolia Street and taking what had been Square 405 of the First District, a block bounded by Tulane and Claiborne avenues and Magnolia and Gravier streets. The block was full of one- and two-story private homes, a few small businesses, a single rowhouse and the original St. Mark’s Fourth Baptist Church. On Nov. 26, 1924, The Times-Picayune reported that the hospital, through the firm of Kernaghan and Cordill, had made unsuccessful offers to buy out 17 property owners in that block and would be resorting to expropriation.

The land that Charity took in the 1890s and 1920s was immediately adjacent to the medical complex and was used exclusively for healthcare and the hospital’s physical plant. Acreage was minimal but hospital administrators needed what they took and took what they needed. A very small number of homes and businesses were lost, but the surrounding neighborhood remained intact and viable.

Dear Julia,
I am doing a genealogical study of my family and my great-grandfather was Bernard Gaillardanne.

According to The Times-Picayune in August of 1907, an article announcing his death in the French community stated that in addition to being a pioneer in the grocery and saloon business, he was a proprietor of the old Exchange Café at the corner of North Peters and Bienville streets. (Maybe Poydras could do a fly-over?)
Can you tell me anything about the Exchange Cafe? To my knowledge, there is no other “Gaillardanne” in the United States.

Mildred Gaillardanne
Metairie

I can verify that your great-grandfather was associated, late in his life, with a saloon at the corner of North Peters and Bienville streets. In the mid-1890s and early 1900s, Bernard Gaillardanne and John S. Debat ran a saloon at 241 N. Peters St. City directories from the period list the business as Gaillardanne & Debat, not as the Exchange Café.

Believed to have been built around 1834 for Lucien Hermann, the building at 241 N. Peters St. predates Gaillardanne’s arrival in New Orleans. It doesn’t appear to have ever been owned by a member of the Gaillardanne family.

Abial D. Crossman, who served as Mayor of New Orleans from 1846 to ’54, once owned the property, which his estate sold to John A. Turnell in early ’60. At the time of that sale, the building was being used as a residence and barroom which a Mr. Eicholz was leasing on an annual basis. Turnell soon sold the property to Ira Holden whose heirs then sold it, in ’67 to Owen Eugene McGuiness in whose family the property remained until 1936.

Dear Julia,
Is it true there was a person called the “Waffle Man?” Can his recipe be obtained from the library? Was it ever printed in The Times-Picayune?

Mrs. David Hamm
Carriere, MS

There was not a single person known as the “Waffle Man.” There were multiple waffle men who, presumably, used differing recipes to conjure up the morning munchies. Local waffle men have included Matthew Dekemel Sr., his sons Maurice and Matthew, better known as “Bugling Sam, the Waffle Man,” and Louis Gandolini.

In the early 1960s, Times-Picayune columnist Howard Jacobs reported that Louis Gandolini, said to be the last of the waffle men, had recently retired. According to Jacobs, Gandolini kept his original recipe, which was said to have been available for the right price. While waffle recipes have most certainly appeared in the local press, I’m not aware that any recipes known to be identical to those used on the local waffle wagons have appeared in print.

As early as 1916, a waffle man was roaming the streets of New Orleans, playing a cornet to announce his arrival. In ’19, the New Orleans Item reported that a man known as Old Joe sold waffles along Royal Street while sounding “retreat” on a military bugle.

So inspirational was the waffle man that, in 1924, OKeh Records released a recording of “The Waffle Man’s Call,” a foxtrot performed by Johnny Bayersdorffer and His Jazzola Novelty Orchestra. A local musician, Bayersdorffer was the son of Joseph Bayersdorffer and Mary Flattery and was born and raised in the 4th Ward. An architecturally endangered area whose main thoroughfares include Iberville, Bienville and Conti streets, the 4th Ward was once home to many musicians, artists and craftsmen of German, Irish or mixed German-Irish heritage.
 

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