Dear Julia and Poydras,
I recently came across an old damaged photograph of an establishment on Magazine Street that bears our family name, which is not a common name. Our father had said a relative had owned a store a long time ago but that’s all that was said to my brother, who was 9 at the time. I believe it’s around the time of 1861, from the little information I was able to get from the Internet. There was a J. A. Braselman that was on the board of directors of the Lafayette Insurance Company but I couldn’t find any information on this establishment. I hope you can tell us a little more about the store and the owner.
Also a note to Julia and Poydras, before it was Ralph’s on the Park it was also a bar in the 1980s called Parkview. I could hear the music from my house.
You’ve come to the right person, Mona. John A. Braselman (1826-1907) was native of New Bern, N.C. He and his parents moved to New Orleans in the 1830s. As a young man, he bought the store where he had been employed, at the corner of Magazine and St. Andrew streets. For nearly 40 years, Braselman ran the dry goods business at what is now 2000-2006 Magazine St. In recent years, that address has been the location of a discount market.
Although once in common usage, the term “dry goods” may need a little explanation to modern readers. Dry goods stores sold fabric, notions and ready-to-wear clothing. (Notions are little useful things such as zippers and buttons.)
Just before 1890, Braselman left the business to pursue a career in real estate and insurance. The dry goods business survived Braselman’s departure but changed its name, operating under new ownership as Johnson, Grehan & Co. It doesn’t appear that the new venture lasted very long.
John A. Braselman was a prominent Episcopalian. According to his obituary, he served 38 years as treasurer for the Children’s Home of the Protestant Episcopal Church. Shortly before his death, Braselman had asked to be relieved of his duties as orphanage treasurer but Bishop Davis Sessums encouraged him to stay, promising that Braselman would receive whatever assistance he needed.
John A. Braselman was married twice, first to Elizabeth French (1845-’83) and then to Eudora Brooks (1857-1929); he was survived by his second wife, three children and his brother, Charles Calhoun Braselman.
Dear Julia Street,
Is Baronne Street named after Luis Francisco Hèctor, Baron de Carondelet? If not, how did it get the name?
John P. Rehak, MBA, DVM
A “baronne” is a baroness – a baron’s wife or widow. Baronne Street is named for María de la Concepción Castaños y Aragorri, wife of Luis Francisco Hèctor, Baron de Carondelet. The couple wed in Barcelona, Spain, in 1777.
Dear Poydras and Julia,
I would like to know the present condition of the Naval Armory on Camp Street (about 600 blocks on the lake side of the street), Last time I saw it, about 15 years ago, it looked to be in a state of disrepair. It was made of brick and had a courtyard in the back.
Before World War II, it was used by the USMCR 10th Battalion as a place for their weekly evening drills. FDR activated the 10th (it was in November 1940, I believe the 9th). The day they left, Col. Walters (later a police sergeant under former Mayor Chep Morrison) had the men stay there all day packing their gear. That evening, they marched out of the entrance with full pack, Smokey the Bear hats, green uniforms, leggings and rifles on their shoulders, and this whole group of New Orleanians marched over to Annunciation Street and the Texas Pacific railroad station. The relatives were then allowed to talk to the Marines before they boarded the train. The Warren Easton Band serenaded their departure. The train at that time used a ferry to get to Gretna and then and on out to San Diego and Monne Division, first to Ireland in 1941, then in ’42 went on to Guadalcanal, Tairua … Okinawa and after D-Day to Nagasaki, Japan. Many during that five-year period never got back to New Orleans. It is a great irony that the D-Day Museum of this country is situated just a few blocks from where these New Orleanians drilled and departed. During the World War II and sometime after, it was used as the Navy’s Shire Patrol Headquarters. It is in my opinion (like Jackson Barracks) a real piece of World War II history for New Orleanians. What does it look like today? Is it still there and in what condition?
Norman J. Blessey
I am sorry to report that the historically significant building at 829 Camp St., sustained heavy wind damage in Hurricane Katrina and was demolished. It appears that high-end condominiums are to take its place.
Formerly home to Ozanam Inn, which remains in operation next door, 829 Camp St., had seen action as a military building, a music school and a boarding house. Once owned by Loyola University, the three-story building was, in the 1950s, considered as a possible home for WWL-TV but the station decided against the Camp Street location, choosing instead to build the studio at 1026 North Rampart St.
Where did Tulane University move Baldwin Wood’s sailboat, Nydia, after they built the new recreational center? It used to sit in a glass house next to the old pool.
If you’re familiar with the gentleman and his history, you know he was the engineer who helped New Orleans and Holland with their water pumping problems. He died in 1995 and left $1 million to the university – under the condition that it would store his boat for 99 years.
Originally there were plans to relocate the vessel on the Tulane campus. The vessel, however, remains out of public display and there is reportedly sensitive dialogue between Wood’s family and the university. Until that is resolved, we may not be seeing the Nydia.
What do you know about “Over the Rhine” restaurant and bar at the mouth of Bayou St. John? It was still serving sandwiches in the early l940s, but I know nothing about its previous history.
Over the Rhine (established in the late 1800s) served visitors to the Spanish Fort amusement park. It can be frustratingly difficult to thoroughly research the ownership, name and years of operation for bars and many eateries. Quite often, they escaped entry in city directories and even in tax records where they may be listed by the owner’s name rather than the manager’s name or the name of the establishment.
In July 1903, when rail service to Spanish Fort was discontinued, the Daily Picayune proclaimed, “Spanish Fort is dead. The funeral took place yesterday.” Once styled as the “Coney Island of the South,” the resort’s popularity had declined due, in part, to racial issues. While restaurants at Spanish Fort served white patrons, the park area had become a favorite destination for black families holding picnics and for black church congregations conducting baptismal rituals at the water’s edge.
It appears that the dining area near the lake had several notable restaurants and that, by 1903, the term “Over the Rhine” applied to the general dining area at Spanish Fort, not just the specific restaurant whose name was Over the Rhine. According to the Daily Picayune, the restaurants continued to appeal to groups of diners who journeyed to Spanish Fort by carriage. In the years that followed, Spanish Fort’s hard times continued, with fire and storms further battering the struggling resort. Spanish Fort rallied but the 1915 hurricane and World War I were the amusement park’s death-knell. The Over the Rhine Restaurant survived long past the park’s heyday but it was demolished many years ago.
Win a Court of Two Sisters Jazz Brunch or a night at the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel
Here’s a chance to stay at an elegant local hotel, or 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 or an overnight stay for two at the elegant Omni Royal Orleans Hotel. To take part, send your question to: Julia Street c/o New Orleans Magazine, 110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, LA 70005 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This month’s winners are Mona Braselman, New Orleans; Shirley Tyree, New Orleans; and John P. Rehak, Baton Rouge.