Hi Julia,I’ll bet that Poydras has turned a deaf ear to all of the talk about partially hydrogenated fats, and eats as much food containing them as he can. With that in mind, I am sure that he remembers and misses Dickey’s potato chips, which I recall were crisp, greasy and salty. I loved them and, for lunch in high school, I would get a bag of Dickey’s chips and drink a Coke. A high calorie, not to mention the fat content, but inexpensive lunch – it cost only 10 cents! Where was Dickey’s actually located? I think it was in New Orleans. Whatever happened to it, and when? Do you know how close Charles and Zapps chips are to the original Dickey’s?Which one does Poydras eat now?
Barrie, to Poydras potato chips are a health food so he shuns them. His favorite snack is fried pork rinds with extra salt dipped in mayonnaise. The locally made chips were originally named Dickey’s Vita-Seald Potato Chips, I don’t believe that either Charles Chips or Zapps are similar to the old Dickey’s potato chips. Zapps is an entirely different style of chip – being far thicker and more flavorful than the Dickey’s I remember. In my opinion, plain Lay’s chips are a far closer contemporary match. William W. Dickey founded his New Orleans-based potato chip company in the mid-1930s – having registered the Dickey’s trademark in 1932. Originally based at 1537 Canal St., Dickey’s would later relocate to a modern factory at 501 Elysian Fields Ave. Dickey died in 1972. Although Dickey Foods, Inc. continued operating after its founder’s death, it appears to have gone out of business or have been purchased during the 1980s.Dear Julia,I made the mistake of following Poydras to Sicily Island for meatballs but when we got there, all they had was matzoh balls! First, how did Sicily Island get its name? Second, why was it home to so many European Jewish immigrants?So as not to ruffle Poydras’ feathers by asking two questions, tell him his check is in the mail.
First things first: I’ve heard two different versions of how Sicily Island got its name. In one version, its geographic outline is said to resemble Sicily’s. In the other version, an early landowner in Spanish Colonial times was a homesick Sicilian who named the area after his birthplace. Considering that the vast majority of Sicilians who came to Louisiana did so about a century after the end of the Spanish Colonial era, I put a little more faith in the first explanation. Now for the truly interesting part of the story: How did a bunch of Russian Jews find themselves living in north Louisiana – in Catahoula Parish – at a place called Sicily Island? In the early 1880s, the Hebrew Foreign Mission Society of New Orleans joined forces with the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Association to establish an agricultural colony. The Newman brothers, prominent members of the local Jewish community, owned 2,800 acres of land at Sicily Island and offered the partially-cultivated property as a site for the proposed settlement. Located about 350 miles from New Orleans and 75 miles from Natchez, Miss., the Newman lands could be reached from either the Mississippi or Ouachita rivers. Russian Jews, fleeing religious persecution in their homeland, were brought to Sicily Island. Oppressive heat, malaria and farming difficulties soon afflicted the colony. In the spring of 1882, the Mississippi River flooded. Although Sicily Island was on high land, nearby flooding further discouraged its already dispirited inhabitants and help seal the short-lived colony’s fate. Having found great hardship instead of a safe haven, the colonists scattered. Dear Julia,I finally got around to reading A Confederacy of Dunces and am hoping you can answer a question for me. What did the soft drink Dr. Nut taste like? I seem to remember an attempt to revive the brand in the mid-1980s. Do you know if the new bottlers used the old formula? Brad ChambersMetairieI’m not sure precisely when Dr. Nut first appeared on the market, but I know that by 1930, the New Orleans-based World Bottling Company was already promoting its product as being “famous.” By the 1960s, the Wright Root Beer Company was manufacturing the almond-flavored soft drink. In the early 1980s, a company in Jennings attempted to reintroduce Dr. Nut, in order to cash in on the interest generated by A Confederacy of Dunces. Old-time Dr. Nut enthusiasts quickly found – much to their disappointment – that the new drink shared only its name with the old nut-flavored beverage; the short-lived new product has been described to me as having a cherry cola flavor. Dear Julia,While looking though an old family scrapbook I came across an ad for the steamer New Camellia.Could you please tell me a little bit about this boat? It seems to have been an excursion boat that took tourists on day trips to the Northshore. There was no date on the newspaper clipping, but it is very old.
Originally christened the Zephyr, the boat was built somewhere on the East coast during the Civil War. The vessel was rebuilt and renamed in later years, first serving as the Camellia and then as the New Camellia. From 1878 to the time of the First World War, the New Camellia carried travelers from Milneberg to Northshore communities, including Mandeville and Covington. The vessel sank at her moorings at Madisonville in 1920. Dear Julia and Poydras,Have you ever heard of the Court of the Two Lions? Where is it? Are those the lions in City Park?
The lions in City Park grace the Peristyle and face a scenic lagoon. The lions you are seeking grace the entrance to the Vincent Nolte House, located at 710 Toulouse St., in the heart of the French Quarter. Architect Benjamin Latrobe built the residence in 1819, for the cotton merchant and real estate investor, Vincent Nolte.During the late 1930s, the New Orleans City Guide mentioned a number of reasons for stopping to see the Nolte house and its photogenic lions. The heroine in Winston Churchill’s The Crossing, is reputed to have lived there. In addition, the house was the birthplace of silent-era actor Robert Edeson, who played in Cecil B. DeMille’s 1923 film The Ten Commandments as well as the 1925 western Braveheart, directed by Alan Hale, Sr.