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JULIA STREET WITH POYDRAS THE PARROT

THE PURSUIT TO ANSWER ETERNAL QUESTIONS

photo courtesy of the historic new orleans collection

Dear Julia,
In the late 1960s and thru the mid-’70s there was a coffee shop on Royal Street named The Four Seasons. It was very small but very classy with a wonderful atmosphere. It looked like a little French café with a few tables, where tourists stopped to take breaks from sightseeing and shopping and to enjoy a wonderful cup of coffee accompanied by exquisite French pastries, and locals went to enjoy the feeling of feeling like a visitor in the French Quarter. One of my favorites was one that was called something like Croissador or Crusadres. This was before the explosion of PJs and other chain coffee shops came to New Orleans, but none of those compare to having coffee and pastries at The Four Seasons! The shop closed very suddenly and there has never been a place like it in New Orleans.

Susana D. Vargas
New Orleans

Notwithstanding its French Quarter location or the fact that its corporate name was sometimes presented in French as Les Pâtisseries aux Quatre Saisons, the Four Seasons Pastry Shop wasn’t French – it was European, featuring baked goods from many different European culinary traditions. Croissants, for instance, originated in Vienna, not Paris, and are Austrian.

The shop’s founders, Karl August Dingeldein and his wife Katy Metter Dingeldein, were both natives of Germany. In 1961, they devoted a two-month vacation to touring pastry shops in Denmark, Holland, Austria and France, seeking inspiration for their own edible creations.

 Karl Dingeldein, a well-known silversmith and accomplished pâtissier, opened his first pastry shop next to Pat O’Brien’s on St. Peter Street about 1950 but found that sweet shops and bars don’t mix especially well. He and Katy then set up shop at 505 Royal St., a location where business thrived for nearly 30 years.

Karl August Dingeldein died in 1965, and in its later years the Four Seasons management passed to a second generation. In late ’77, citing rising costs and dwindling patronage, daughter Johanna Dingeldein converted the family business into a health food store. The venture was short-lived. In ’81, Johanna’s brother, Carl Dengel, re-opened the Four Seasons at the Royal Street location but the magic was gone and the revival didn’t last. Although 505 Royal St. is no longer home to The Four Seasons, pastries and coffee have returned to that location, which is now home to Antoine’s Annex.


Dear Ms. Street,
I have never read anything, either in history articles or in recollections of New Orleans living, about the “battures” on the Mississippi River or the people who lived there.

Can you refresh my vague memory of this very unusual place and some of the whys and wherefores?

Dora L. Cook
New Orleans

A batture is the alluvial land between the water’s edge and a body of water’s bank. Because they’re created by deposits of sediment and can grow, battures are of great interest to river towns, which may seek to use these reclaimed lands.

Ownership and taxation of batture lands are legally contentious issues that remain relevant. For instance, you may recall the controversy that ensued when a developer proposed building a high-rise hotel on the river side of N. Peters Street, by the abandoned American Sugar buildings. When New Orleans was first settled, the river passed quite close to the present United States Custom House but it later changed course, leaving behind new land between present-day Decatur Street and the river.

This land wasn’t part of the original city and doesn’t fall under the jurisdiction of the Vieux Carré Commission.

Whether your reading tastes run to legal journals, books or popular magazines, there’s no lack of available reading material concerning our local battures, their contentious legal history or their sometimes colorful residents. Tulane law professor Oliver Houck’s recent book Down on the Batture paints a detailed picture of life in the batture and would be a good place to start.

Published by the University of Mississippi Press, the book remains in print and is also available as an e-book. If you’re near a library, you may also want to read Ralph Adamo’s “Batture People” article, which ran in the June 1994 issue of New Orleans Magazine. Current state law regarding battures and their associated property rights can be found in the following section of the state’s legal code: RS 9:1102.


Dear Julia,
One of my favorite and exciting memories of living in New Orleans is the Beatles concert in City Park Stadium in 1964. The significance of being at that concert still astounds me.

One of the things I remember is how the radio stations promoted listening to their programs by giving away prizes. By dialing the station’s number, one could win many assorted things: money, tickets and even a swatch of “Beatles Bed Linen.” The winner received a small piece of “New Orleans Beatles History”: a white square of fabric was enclosed in a sealed plastic bag and accompanied by a true certification that this was indeed an authentic object.

So, my questions are: What radio station gave these away? Is this station still on the air? What was the cost of the ticket? How long did the Beatles actually perform? What other band performed before they did? Is the Congress Inn Hotel where they stayed still in existence?

I look forward to your filling in the blanks for me, Julia. (And I thank my friend Linda’s mom for bringing us to one of the most historical events in New Orleans history.)

Jane Shambra
Biloxi, Mississippi

Radio Station WNOE (1060AM) both promoted the Beatles’ 1964 concert at City Park Stadium and gave away souvenirs, but bed sheets weren’t the only Beatles souvenirs to be had. Following the City Park concert, WNOE obtained the microphones the band had used. Each microphone and cord was cut into little pieces and the fragments were then individually bagged with notarized statements of authenticity. The station now exists under different call letters and has a religious format.

Opening acts for the City Park concert were the Bill Black Combo, The Existers, Clarence “Frogman” Henry and Jackie DeShannon. The Beatles then took the stage and sang for about half an hour.

To the best of my knowledge, the Congress Inn was still standing when this issue went to press. Last used as a retirement home for the elderly, it has since been abandoned and offered for sale.

 

 

Win a Court of Two Sisters Jazz Brunch

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. To take part, send your question to: Julia Street, c/o New Orleans Magazine, 110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, LA 70005 or email: Errol@MyNewOrleans.com. This month’s winners are: Dora L. Cook, New Orleans; and Jane Shambra, Biloxi, Mississippi.

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