Julia Street with Poydras the Parrot
THE PURSUIT TO ANSWER ETERNAL QUESTIONS
In the June issue of New Orleans Magazine there’s a question regarding Sloppy Joe’s bar, which the writer thought may have been on Royal Street.
In the 1930s my dad had a store in the 200 block of Royal Street and I sort of remember that they did have a small bar across the street that was called Sloppy Jim’s, which I always thought was a funny name. I don’t know when they closed down. That was way back in the days of Solari’s, the Bienville Meat Market and a restaurant around the corner on Bienville Street that served the best, sloppiest roast beef poor boys.
Sloppy Jim’s was in operation at its original location at 236 Royal St. from the mid-1930s to the early ’60s. James V. Esposito was the owner of the popular watering hole. In the mid-’40s, mixologist Marshall J. “Pappy” Broussard and Ray Weatherall bought Sloppy Jim’s, its name and the formula of its signature drink. Speaking to a Times-Picayune columnist in March ’45, Broussard described the Sloppy Jim cocktail as being “circus-pink” lemonade with a “kick.”
My mother used to tell us children about the only employment she ever had prior to her marriage and becoming a homemaker and mother of six. We often have wondered about this firm, what kind, where it was located, etc. This had to be in the early 1920s because she and my dad married in ’22.
The name of the concern was First & Kramer’s but we know nothing else about it. Is it still in business in New Orleans? If so, where?
Fuerst & Kraemer was a popular confectionery store chain. The original New Orleans candy-making Fuerst & Kraemer company lasted only from 1902 to ’19 and was the dream-child of young entrepreneurs Irvin Fuerst and Albert Kraemer.
While it’s tempting to view the elegant and popular Fuerst & Kraemer sweet shops only through the rose-colored glasses of local nostalgia, the popular candy maker’s name and its New Orleans origins became in the 1920s little more than a marketing option for an out-of-state retailing conglomerate which had taken notice when Fuerst & Kraemer opened a location in Atlantic City, N.J.
A new beginning and the beginning of the end came in 1919, when Fuerst & Kraemer ceased to be locally owned and operated and became part of the candy-making arm of the New York-based United Retail Stores chain. Although early corporate plans allegedly revolved around acquiring and retaining several unique and successful candy makers, the new company’s board soon abandoned those plans. In February ’20, company spokesman Alex H. Sands explained to the New York advertising trade journal, Printers’ Ink, that “… rather than pay any considerable good will price for ‘going concerns,’” they would rely on sales and real estate prowess to “… establish our own stores and create our own good will.” At first, the strategy worked. Entrepreneur and confectioner Irvin Fuerst immediately and permanently relocated to New York City and the new company experienced explosive expansion, opening numerous Fuerst & Kraemer stores in New Orleans and throughout the northeast. When, in the late ’20s, the last New Orleans Fuerst & Kraemer stores closed, the brand’s passing came quietly, without obvious attention or outcry from the local press. It is a bit ironic that Katz & Besthoff is said to have purchased in ’19 the original Fuerst & Kraemer formula for nectar syrup, only to disappear decades later in the wake of a national corporate buyout.
Having traveled to New Orleans many times over the past 30 years or so, either for business or family visits (my wife is a displaced native of the West Bank), and thereby having many opportunities to explore this wonderful area, I’m fortunately now a resident of Mandeville. I have always been enthralled by the amount of talent out on the streets of New Orleans. I am curious to know how the street musicians and performers operate. It seems many are in a regular spot as if the places are assigned. Is it a first come first serve arrangement or are places “reserved?” Are there some unwritten courtesies that each performer respects? Are the performers required to have a permit? And anything else that you might fill me in on concerning this subject. I look forward to your response.
Mark A. Pieczonka
Article XX City of New Orleans’ municipal code, Sections 30-1451 through 30-1485, concerns Street Entertainers. While performers must be licensed and may be more rigidly regulated when working in some specific areas, such as Bourbon Street or the Central Business District, I saw nothing in the code indicating assignment of specific performance locations. To the best of my knowledge there’s a pecking order that’s observed as a courtesy among street performers but exact performance locations are determined by the artists themselves, not dictated city officials or regulators.
I have been wanting to write to you about Jimmy Elledge for some time, and when I saw two different reports on the Internet I knew I had to get the real truth and scoop from you.
As a New Orleans nightclub frequenter in the 1970s through the early ’90s, I remember following Jimmy Elledge’s whereabouts to a certain degree, then lost contact of where he was appearing. My earliest recollection is seeing him perform at the Jimmy Elledge Club in Gretna, which later became the famous Fat Cat. I caught him a few times at the Red Maple, Tony Mandina’s and a club at the Holiday Inn at Williams and Veterans that is now the Crowne Plaza. My husband and I went to see him perform at Visco’s lounge in Gretna, but he was a no-show because of illness.
There is a report on him on the Internet that stated he died on June 10, 2012, after complications following a stroke. However, there’s another report that says this is false. Can you give me information on his career and if he is actually alive or has died?
Was “Funny How Time Slips Away” his only hit?
James Presley Elledge passed away in Belle Chasse on June 10, 2012. He was the singer who had a remarkable five-octave vocal range and whose only hit was the song “Funny How Time Slips Away.” Clark-Ducote Funeral Home, in Belle Chasse, handled Elledge’s funeral arrangements and published a detailed obituary that left no doubt that the decedent was the singer whose live performances you and your husband once enjoyed. Jimmy Elledge was laid to rest at Hope Mausoleum in New Orleans.
I am a native New Orleanian, born and raised in the French Quarter on Royal Street. I now live in Hammond and love it here, but miss everything that makes New Orleans a great city.
My brother, Francis, recently sent me a favor from a Carnival ball that he attended back in 1948. Neither he nor I can remember what Carnival krewe the favor is from.
I hope that you can tell me something about it and what the K of E, which appears on the favor, stands for.
Even though there were few 1948 krewes that may have abbreviated their name “K of E,” ball favors don’t necessarily relate to a krewe’s yearly theme. I have never seen another example of your favor and cannot say with any certainty which krewe produced it.
Possible matches from the 1948 Carnival season include the krewes of Eurydice and Eros but, on closer examination, it’s hard to equate a decorated seashell with themes recalling Aztec sun worship or Middle Eastern desert romance. The same year, the Krewe of Elenians took at look at Life’s Fantasic Cycle, tracing man’s journey from infancy to old age. The last of the K of E krewes was the short-lived Gretna organization, the Krewe of Eirene. I was unable to determine the Krewe of Eirene’s ’48 theme but learned its ball took place in the Gretna High School gymnasium.
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: Mary Levy-Brown, Hammond; and Eugene Doug Hall, Luling.
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.