If the Shoe Fits
The front of Haase’s in 1926. The camelback is where the family lived. photo courtesy of Haase’s.
Haase’s was opened in 1921 by Boris and Della Haase. Originally located on Prytania Street, it moved six months later to Oak Street, across from its current location. About a year later, Boris Haase bought a house on the other side of Oak Street, had it raised, reopened the store on the bottom floor, and moved his family upstairs where they lived for many years. At that time, there were streetcars running down Oak Street, and the street itself was as popular a shopping spot as Magazine Street is today. “It was the main Uptown shopping center at that time. There was Magazine Street, Dryades Street and Oak Street,” says Vera May Haase Caliva, the Haases’ daughter.
In 1931, Della Haase opened the Young Folks Shop next to the original shoe store and ran it until 1960 when her daughter, took over. She also started running the shoe store when her brother, Boris Haase Jr., passed away in 1968. Mrs. Caliva has had a hand in running both stores ever since, although they are now officially managed by her son and daughter-in-law, Bruce and Debbie Caliva.
There were five other shoe stores in New Orleans in the 1920s and ‘30s: Junkers and Friedman’s department stores, Schiro, Simon, and Leeds. “But we’re the survivors,” says Mrs. Caliva. Haase’s has been serving the families of New Orleans for five generations, long after the competition has come and gone. They don’t plan on stopping any time soon, because New Orleanians like to stick with what they know. And parents know Haase’s is a reliable place to shop for children’s shoes and clothing, just like their parents and grandparents before them.