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Julia Street with Poydras the Parrot

Plan of the City of Lafayette (detail showing Washington/ Fifth Street)

artwork courtesty of the historic new orleans collection

Dear Julia and Poydras,

Why are a series of streets in the Garden District named First Street through Ninth Street? They start after Jackson and Philip. Washington Avenue appears to be the equivalent of Fifth Street. I assume these streets were named when this area was a separate entity, then incorporated later into New Orleans. Thanks, Mary L. Pretz-Lawson (New Orleans)

In the early 1830s, when Jefferson Parish was in its infancy, the area in question was Faubourg Livaudais, which included sequentially numbered streets. The same area soon formed much of the City of Lafayette, which existed from 1833 to 1852, when it was annexed to the City of New Orleans. An undated plan of the City of Lafayette is the sole published source I have found which clearly shows the street between Fourth and Sixth Streets was once known as Fifth Street. The Zimpel Map of March 1834, drawn soon after the City of Lafayette was established, labels the street as Washington.

The exact date or circumstances under which the street name changed from Fifth to Washington may be impossible to determine. Subdivision and street dedication regulations, such as those used in present day New Orleans, were not the norm in the 19th century; sometimes an early map or plat may be the only written evidence that a particular street name was planned or used.


Dear Julia,

In the mid-1980s, my wife and I had an incredible meal at an elegant Indian restaurant located in a shopping mall somewhere around the Riverbend. I have been widowed many years but I still have fond recollection of the gracious host and his wonderful muligatawny soup. Does any of this ring a bell with you? Jackson Miller (Alexandria)

You are remembering Keswany’s Indian Cuisine, located in what was then the Uptown Square shopping center at 200 Broadway. The upscale restaurant operated from 1985 to 1988 and occupied a third-level space above Godchaux’s department store and was owned by Har Keswani, who had previously operated Taj Mahal on Causeway Boulevard.  


Dear Julia,

I am reading Dave Fulmer‘s latest novel “Eclipse Alley” and was wondering if any part of that street still exists? I don’t see it listed on a map but they is an unnamed small street that would be close to where the street is depicted in the novel (Liberty and St. Louis) where Treme Street is now. Thank you, Jon Lubitz (New Orleans)

Eclipse Alley was a narrow passage immediately behind St. Louis Cemetery No. I. It extended from Marais to and N. Liberty (now Treme) and divided the block between Conti and St. Louis. The passageway was eradicated in the early 1930s to make way for part of the Iberville Housing Development.  

For most of the second half of the 19th century, the passage was called Sturcken’s Alley in honor of H. F.  “Papa” Sturcken, who lived nearby and operated the Marais Street Steam Brewery at Marais and Conti. A native of Hanover, Sturcken had been in New Orleans since the 1830s. A former city assessor, he was active in numerous benevolent associations. H. F. “Papa” Sturcken died in 1887 at the age of 71.

The area around Sturcken’s Alley became progressively rougher in the years following Strucken’s death as the neighborhood was earmarked to become a legalized prostitution zone. In 1901, Sturcken’s grandchildren petitioned the city to change the alley’s name because the neighborhood had ceased being respectable. Councilmen disagreed about whether the alley should be renamed Eclipse or Story, but Eclipse was quickly ratified as the new name.


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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