JULIA STREET WITH POYDRAS THE PARROT
THE PURSUIT TO ANSWER ETERNAL QUESTIONS
400 block of Decatur St., May 16, 1953
Can you help me to find the business my grandfather and his family had, possibly in the early 1920s or before?
The name of the business was H. C. Bernard & Sons Public Weighers & Gaugers. Older members of the family always said it was above the Reese Candy Co. store near the French Market.
They worked for the sugar plantations, taking samples from the hogsheads of sugar and bringing them to the Sugar Exchange Building to be analyzed. They were respectable gentlemen who also worked on the plantations during the sugar harvest season.
It was a very lucrative business and they lived very well. Relatives said it was near the railroad tracks and they had to climb into boxcars to gauge the syrup.
I published a book all about them in 1985 called In the Land O’ Sugar and it became so popular that I’m working on publishing a second edition and would like to put a picture of their business in it if possible.
I would really appreciate it if you could tell me the address and possible if there’s a picture of the Reese Candy Company somewhere.
Mrs. Mary Louise Johnson
H. C. Bernard’s sons most likely rented or leased the building at 407 Decatur St., which was down the block from the James J. Reiss Candy Company, but not above the confectionery. Although the candy company’s name was pronounced the same as that of the popular national peanut butter cup maker, it was spelled differently.
The building where Henry Clay Bernard’s sons Rodolphe and Victor Bernard operated their business still stands. Sadly, I have been unable to locate an image showing the building during the time the brothers worked there and when their business name may have appeared on the building or attached signage.
I was born and raised in New Orleans, as was my mother. She grew up on Constantinople Street at the corner of Constance Street. She always told me that her boyfriend was killed during the war and that his name was Johnny Lyons. She kept a jewelry box in her closet with athletic medals she said he won in his youth and had given to her. My grandmother also told me that Lyons was killed in the war and that my mother had married later “on the rebound.” I often wonder about Johnny Lyons and if the Lyons Center and playgrounds are named after him.
Can you help me? And if you know of him, do you have a picture or know the whereabouts of any history or memorabilia about him?
Jane C. Scheuermann
According to a detailed biographical profile that appeared in the Times-Picayune’s Dec. 9, 1947 edition, John P. Lyons attended Jesuit High School where he showed a keen interest in sports. As a member of Boy Scout Troop 65, he played on championship basketball and softball teams and received a special award recognizing him as the troop’s outstanding athlete.
During World War II, S-Sgt. John P. Lyons served with the Fifth Armored Division and was killed in action in February 1945, as the tank he commanded was crossing the Roer River, near Aachen, Germany. His brother, Pvt. Patrick Lyons, an infantryman, was killed in October 1944 near Nancy, France. The brothers’ remains were later returned to New Orleans in May ’48, when they were laid to rest in St. Louis No. 3 cemetery. The Lyons Youth Center, named in honor of Sgt. John P. Lyons, was dedicated Dec. 19, ’48.
During the dedication ceremony, Lyons’ brother Daniel presented to Mayor Morrison the American flag which had accompanied Sgt. Lyons’ remains on their journey home. A newspaper account of the ceremony indicates the flag was to be encased in glass and given a place on honor in the Lyons Youth Center. A separate facility, Lyons Playground was in existence prior to Sgt. Lyons’ death and doesn’t appear to have been named for him.
My sister, brother and I used to live Uptown when we were in elementary school, and would love to ride bikes to The Lemon Tree on Maple Street. Whatever happened to it?
We have such good memories of the place, and loved the way it smelled inside. Could you tell me any history of The Lemon Tree? Any information would be appreciated.
The Lemon Tree, located at 7538 Maple St., opened in mid-1969 and remained in business at that location until around August ’81. At that time, owners Rosemary and Bob McCarter elected to focus on oriental imports rather than the general decorative knickknacks found in their Lemon Tree store. The new focus brought with it a new name: the Pickwick Shop. The venture appears to have been short-lived as the Pickwick Shop corporation was dissolved in ’84.
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: Mary Louisa Johnson, Baton Rouge; and Jane. C. Scheuermann, Metairie.