Julia Street with Poydras the Parrot
THE PURSUIT TO ANSWER ETERNAL QUESTIONS
Dear Julia and Poydras,
I live in the Florida Keys. I am from New Orleans and return often (my children and family are still there). When I was quite young my father ran a bar called Sloppy Joe’s. There was a perfume shop next door. The lady that ran the shop named a perfume after me. I think she was French. Would you know the address and what is there now? I think it was on Royal Street.
P.S. Tell Poydras to come meet a blue macaw named Ruccas next time he’s in the Keys.
Carolyn, Poydras never goes anywhere that he can’t get to by riding a local taxi, because he finds wing-flapping to be “fatiguing.” For the same reason, he doesn’t go to islands such as the Keys because he doesn’t like palm trees, which he describes as being “OK for macaws but not good enough for parrots.” He especially doesn’t like blue macaws. Whenever the topic comes up he leaves the room mumbling something about “that night in Vegas.”
In 1948, Joe Segretto opened Sloppy Joe’s Haven, a club located at 231 Bourbon St. Later home to the original Pete Fountain Jazz Club, the building was in use as a T-shirt shop when, in 1983, it was destroyed in a six-alarm fire of suspicious origin.
The perfume shop was Bourbon French, then located at 216 Bourbon St. The proprietor, Marguerite Acker Caro, ran a classic French perfume shop even though she was born in New Orleans, as was her late husband, watchmaker Beauregard Caro.
Laura Marguerite Acker Caro died in 1978, five years after her grand-daughter, Alessandra Crain, inherited the perfume company. In ’91, the shop’s current proprietor and House Perfumer, Mary Eleftorea Behlar purchased Bourbon French Parfums, which still operates at 805 Royal St.
I think I recall that in the 1940s that there were two music schools in New Orleans for children and teenagers: Jacobs’ and Schramm’s. They were quite popular for those who were encouraged to learn how to sing or play a musical instrument – mostly the piano. The two schools have long been gone. Schramm’s was located in the 4000 block of Canal Street, in half of a double house, convenient for those who traveled there by streetcar from various neighborhoods.
There was a radio program on early Sunday afternoon during that time showcasing the vocal and instrumental talent of students. The emcee of the program was a well-known radio announcer and he was very praiseworthy of each student as he or she sang or gave a rendition on the piano or other musical instrument. It seems that the radio station may have either been WSMB or WJBW.
What do you know about Jacobs’ and Schramm’s music schools?
I truly enjoy your column each month in New Orleans Magazine. You give such refreshing information and it’s done with a most personal style. Thank you for your research for those who appreciate learning more about the unique aspects that make New Orleans “one of a most special kind.”
Schramm Studios, under the leadership of Joseph Schramm, was well-known to radio audiences. In 1943, they had two shows each Sunday on WDSU radio: 9 to 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 to 2 p.m. In the early ’50s, under the leadership of Gloria Rosselli, they had a Sunday morning show on radio station WJBJ. The studio was located at 4000 Canal St.
From the 1930s to ’50s, Estelle Mellinger Jacobs and her husband, Paul Maurice Jacobs, taught music in their home at 3712 Palmyra St. Paul, a voice teacher, had been a member of the San Carlo Opera Company of New York. Estelle taught piano. The couple’s daughters, Margie and Miriam, often sang on the popular “Dawnbusters” radio show.
In October 1931, when The Times-Picayune held its Second Annual Radio Show, WDSU radio and emcee Moise Bloch were there as Prof. Paul Maurice Jacobs performed. The following November, Maison Blanche hosted the Radio and Furniture Exposition, which was broadcast over WSMB. Paul Maurice Jacobs was there, singing popular ballads. Joining headliners Bill Brengel and Temple Black were Lillian Gerson, “Maid of a Million Melodies,” Dick Newton, the Blue Parody Orchestra, WSMB staff pianist Myra Butz and baritone Ed Wheelahan, who gave a program of Irish melodies.
During World War II, when my brother Frank and I were just kids, we were members of the New Orleans Athletic Club. We would go downtown with my father on Saturday mornings and he would drop us off before he went to work at New Orleans Public Service. After working out at the club we would walk back to my dad’s office and go home with him. Along the way to meet him, we would stop and have a Krystal hamburger. I think this must have been one of the first fast-food restaurants in the area.
I wrestled with the club team and trained under Coach Schriever. We did exhibition matches for the USO at the local Army and Navy camps and hospitals around the area. I had newspaper articles about our matches but I have misplaced them. I was wondering if Poydras would have any memory of these exhibitions, as I’m sure he would have seen some of them as he flew around the city keeping us safe during those war years.
Thomas J. Roberts
Fairfield Glade, Tenn.
Thomas, Poydras doesn’t follow wresting. He says the only way he will wrestle is if his opponent promises not to touch him.
Beginning in January 1946 and continuing to ’50, the New Orleans Athletic Club, under the leadership of athletic director Irwin Poche and wrestling coach Bill Schriever, did several shows for the entertainment of convalescent veterans. Sponsored by the Red Cross and American Post No. 282, the programs included performances by NOAC athletes as well as students from the Eddie Reggio School of Acrobatics and the Emma Pembo School of Dance, entertainer Johnny Morris and the Nuss Sisters School of Dancing. The shows were held at the Marine Hospital on State Street as well as the United States Naval Hospital and the United States Veterans Administration Hospital, then located across the street from each other in what would soon become the upscale residential subdivision Lake Vista.
Well before the Great Depression there was a New Orleans Bank and Trust that employed my great-grandfather, Urbain Laroussini. My grandfather bought shares in the bank, and I recently came across the originals. I haven’t found anything about the bank or what happened to it. My great-grandfather has a short street named after him in Westwego and the family story is that it was built because of his efforts to fund a canal and docks in the area. Is the New Orleans Bank and Trust still active under another name?
Paul H. Laroussini served as New Orleans Bank and Trust’s first president when it was established in the spring of 1921. Laroussini was around until ’69, when he died at the age of 85, but his Depression-era bank didn’t have similar longevity. New Orleans Bank and Trust lasted only from ’21 to ’30, when Interstate Trust and Banking Company absorbed and liquidated it.
As a child in New Orleans in the 1950s, I remember the delightful sounds of the streetcar clangs, the tamale man’s calls, the singing in street wakes and the cicadas in the trees just before a rain shower. And I remember some luscious smells, like the smell from the molasses plant. Even the mildew in the old buildings had a sweetness about it. There was one other glorious smell that I seem to recall would pervade the city in late afternoon. I’ve always thought it was the smell of roasting chicory. What was it, really?
Jo Anne Lala
Ocean Ridge, Fla.
Ah, sweet mildew, those were the days! That was probably coffee that you smelled being roasted. There were several roasters around town. But the town could be full of fragrances: Late afternoon was when families were preparing their evening meals, four-o-clocks had opened and night-blooming plants were about to open, so it was a time of day absolutely filled with scented delights.
Win a Court of Two Sisters Jazz Brunch or Lunch at the Rib Room
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 e-mail:
Errol@MyNewOrleans.com. This month’s winners are: Carolyn Gautreaux, Marathon, Fla.; and Thomas J. Roberts, Fairfield Glade, Tenn.
Julia on TV
Look for the Julia Street question on “Steppin’ Out,” every Friday at 6:30 p.m. on WYES/Channel 12. The show features reviews, news and features about the New Orleans entertainment scene. Viewers who can answer Julia’s weekly question can call in for prizes. Tell ’em you read about the show in New Orleans Magazine.