Julia Street

Dear Julia and Poydras,
Years ago, I remember there being two very prominent florists on St. Charles Avenue not very far from one another. Whatever happened to those two establishments and what became of their buildings? If my memory on the location is correct, it looks like one of those buildings has been converted into a house.
Sandra Scillitani Cahill
New Orleans

Located only two blocks apart, Peter A. Chopin and Scheinuk the Florist were St. Charles Avenue fixtures for several generations. Polish immigrant Max Scheinuk originally worked for Chopin before striking out on his own. In 1919, Max built Scheinuk the Florist at 2600 St. Charles Ave. Boasting a large display window, Scheinuk was especially well known for its annual Easter tableau featuring live bunnies. Although the St. Charles Avenue store closed in 2003, Scheinuk the Florist is still in business; Ronald J. Scheinuk, the founder’s grandson, no longer maintains a storefront but is a full-time, independent floral contractor specializing in private parties and weddings. The St. Charles Avenue store has been demolished. Construction has begun on a luxury condominium building at the 2600 St. Charles Ave., location.

Peter A. Chopin’s florist business was located at 2800 St. Charles Ave., and later moved to 3138 Magazine St. The St. Charles Avenue building has, as you noted, been converted into a private residence, while the Magazine Street store is now the home of Design Within Reach. In 2006, Peter A. Chopin, Inc., filed an affidavit to dissolve.  

Dear Julia and Poydras,
I am in possession of a menu from La Louisiane restaurant, no address listed, which claims to be one of New Orleans’ oldest and world-famous French restaurants since 1835. I also have a playbill for Mr. Pat Waters Very Smart Club My-O-My located in East End – a club specializing in female impersonators. The phone number listed was Amherst 1700. Can you tell me anything about either one of these establishments?
Linda Bradley
Baton Rouge


Louis Bezaudun founded the Hotel and Restaurant de la Louisiane in what was once a private residence located at what is now 725 Iberville St. Although the residence was built in the 1830s, its use as a restaurant came nearly half a century later. Once managed by Bezaudun’s nephew, Fernand Alciatore – whose brother ran Antoine’s – La Louisiane remained in the Alciatore family for many years and was renowned not just for its food but also for its leaded glass doors and Baccarat chandelier. Over the years, many notable diners passed through La Louisiane’s elaborate doors. Included among the restaurant’s most famous patrons were Theodore Roosevelt, Harry Houdini, Al Jolson and Sarah Bernhardt. Last renovated in 2004, La Louisiane’s 725 Iberville St.,  has since ceased operations; Fire of Brazil now operates at the address La Louisiane occupied for more than 120 years.  

Located on the lakefront, Pat Waters’ Club My-O-My specialized in female impersonation. Your playbill was printed some time between 1947 and ’59, the only years in which the Amherst telephone exchange was in use.

Before I get letters arguing about whether “East End” is a typographical or factual error, let me point out that the East End of Jefferson Parish and the West End of Orleans Parish were connected by the bridge that ran behind Bruning’s.  

Dear Ms. Street,
The old St. Charles Hotel was a landmark in New Orleans and one of the greatest hotels in America. I know it burnt down twice and was rebuilt but then I understand it was closed, at least as a hotel. What has happened to it? Is the building still standing?
Philip Supina
Tucson, Ariz.


Located on the 200 block of St. Charles Avenue, The St. Charles Hotel’s third and final incarnation opened in the late 1890s. Sumptuously furnished and boasting numerous amenities, the St. Charles Hotel was considered to be among the country’s finest. The last St. Charles Hotel was demolished in 1974. A decade later, one of the state’s tallest buildings, now known as Place St. Charles, was erected on the site.

Dear Julia,
What happened to the Andrew Jackson Restaurant located in the French Quarter? Where was it located and for how long? My family and I had dinner there 40 years ago for my high school graduation. The restaurant was quite lovely and elegant.
Thank you for any information you can supply regarding this restaurant. I watched Lost Restaurants of New Orleans on WYES but no luck on the Andrew Jackson.
Karen Boudreaux
Marrero

The Andrew Jackson Restaurant has been gone quite a long time but it wasn’t an especially old restaurant – that’s probably why it wasn’t included in the WYES documentary, which generally focused on older establishments. Located at 221 Royal St., across from the Hotel Monteleone, the restaurant opened on June 26, 1964. At the time, the Andrew Jackson was open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.  
Food preparation is both an art and a science but did you know that the Andrew Jackson had a connection to New Orleans’ favorite mad scientist and inventor, Dr. Momus Alexander Morgus? Two years before founding the Andrew Jackson Restaurant, its owners, Eugene T. Calongne and Jules Sevin, produced the feature motion picture, The Wacky World of Dr. Morgus.  

Dear Julia,
I love being outside during the spring and summer. One of my favorite places to watch the sunset is the area along the river behind Audubon Zoo, preferably with a group of friends, a daquiri and some lawn darts.
The signs leading up to it refer to it as Riverview Drive but everyone I know refers to it as “The Fly.” I have been wondering recently how it got its nickname. Maybe Poydras can help; I think I’ve seen him hanging out in the trees before looking pretty wise.
Daisy Stewart
New Orleans


Daisy, one quick way to tell Poydras from an imposter is that if he looks wise he’s clearly not Poydras. Besides, Poydras doesn’t like hanging around in trees. He says there are too many birds.

I have heard two very different stories about how the Audubon Park batture came to be known as “The Fly.” From the late 1960s to the mid-’80s, a butterfly-shaped observation platform stood on the riverside; I have heard explanations claiming “The Fly” recalls the distinctive building. 

Another possible origin is recounted in the book Audubon Park: An Urban Eden. Long before the batture was cleaned and dedicated to recreational use, the area was used as a dump. Beginning in 1933, New Deal monies were used to fund expansion and filling of the batture area behind the zoo. Hoping the batture would eventually be filled and become part of the park, the Audubon Park Commission tried to expedite the process by encouraging city agencies and the general public to use as a landfill the area behind the park. Items such as incinerator ash, old appliances, private trash and dead zoo animals ended up back there. Audubon Park: An Urban Eden recalls that bold youngsters would often dig in the landfill, seeking treasures. The book then infers that the batture area came to be popularly known as “The Fly” during its years as a public landfill.

Win a Court of Two Sisters Jazz Brunch for two!
Here’s a chance to eat, drink, be merry, 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 a New Orleans landmark, 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@neworleansmagazine.com. This month’s winners are: Sandra Scillitani Cahill, New Orleans and Philip Supina, Tucson, Ariz.

Categories: Julia Street

Comments

comments