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Julia Street with Poydras the Parrot

Tom Anderson’s Arlington Annex. The William Russell Jazz Collection at The Historic New Orleans Collection, acquisition made possible by the Clarisse Claiborne Grima Fund

 

Dear Julia,

I am intrigued by the Storyville era and its landmarks.Tom Anderson’s Arlington Annex served many a hungry or thirsty bordello patron back in the day but it’s long gone. Do you or Poydras know when or why this local landmark was demolished? Fred Reese (New Orleans)

Tom Anderson’s Arlington Annex, stood at 201 North Basin Street at Iberville Street and was popularly called the “Gateway to Storyville.” Built in 1901, the restaurant and bar was known far and wide in the “sporting” world for offering the finest libations. Boasting what may have been the city’s first electric sign, the Arlington Annex was thoroughly modern and very posh.  

In early June 1931, the Arlington Annex at 201 North Basin Street was one of four properties damaged in a fire which originated at 206 Crozat street, and also spread to 1215-17 Iberville and 209 North Basin Street. Damage to the Arlington Annex, which was described as a soft drink stand and restaurant managed by Billy Struve, was estimated at $1000 (about $16,638 today). Two months later, the Annex was demolished and replaced with a parking lot.

 

Dear Julia and Poydras,

While wandering through the French Quarter, I have seen the iconic crescent water meter covers but am intrigued by rectangular utility covers that are marked CEL&PCo. Do you know anything about their age or the company that installed them? Rena Jones (New Orleams)

The covers were installed for Consumers Electric Light and Power Company and date from the turn of the 20th century.Originally incorporated in 1890 as the Consumers Electric Light Company, Ltd., the firm was led by a group of prominent Canal Street businessmen including H. B. Stevens, Nathan Schwartz, Joseph Mercier, H. D. McCown and Charles Godchaux.

In 1903, Consumers built a massive cement smoke stack standing 209 feet tall as part of a never-completed power plant in the block bounded by North Basin, North Rampart, Bienville and Conti streets. At the time, the New Orleans Terminal Company (formerly the New Orleans & San Francisco Railroad Company) was buying property along Basin Street in the hope of landing a franchise and building a station there. Consequently, Consumers sold their Basin Street property to the railroad and moved their base of operations to a site between Common and Rampart Streets. As things turned out, the New Orleans Terminal Company’s plans also fell through so Consumers’ enormous smokestack was left to languish. Eventually deemed a threat to public safety, the deteriorating stack was razed in 1926.

 

Dear Julia and Poydras,

When my wife and I recently went to the last call at Morning Call in City Park we noted a memorial plaque on the nearby Popp Bandstand. It reads: “To the memory of Alexis Ribet to whose bounty the people are indebted for the music discoursed here. This tablet is gratefully inscribed. 1916” I know the bandstand was made possible by John Popp but who was the lamented Mr. Ribet? Roger McKelly (New Orleans)

Yes, lumber merchant and philanthropist John F. Popp’s $7,500 gift- the equivalent of approximately $174,467 in today’s economy - paid for the bandstand which bears his name. Emile Weil based the Popp Bandstand’s design on that of the Temple of Love at Marie Antionette’s Petit Trianon estate at the Palace of Versailles. The queen’s Intendant of Buildings, architect Richard Mique (1728-1794), designed the garden landmark.   

There is little available biographical information about the man whose name is inscribed on the Popp Bandstand’s base. Alexis Ribet (c.1849-1916) was a native of Castelbiague in southwest France near the Spanish border. Ribet had been a grocer and the 1900 census listed the French native’s profession as “capitalist.” Once he retired from business, Rivet frequently visited City Park. His sizable estate included a bequest in excess of $20,000 to be invested and used for the creation and support of a public band.


Have A Question For Julia?

Send your question to: Julia Street, c/o New Orleans Magazine, 110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, LA 70005 or email: Errol@MyNewOrleans.com.


 

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