Dear Julia,
Do you know anything about a hat that the men in the South wore in the summer, called “Straw Kadee?”

Kathleen Battle

That particular hat has various spellings, but I have usually seen it referred to as a Cady. Once an essential men’s summer fashion accessory, the straw Cady, also known as a boater hat, was popular all over the country, not just in the South. It is a fairly plain, woven and flat-crowned straw hat with a broad ribbon band around it.

Just as people are cat people or dog people, there are hat people and those who seem almost genetically indisposed to wearing head coverings in dignified or fashionable manner. It used to be that hat-wearing ability manifested itself at an early age with parochial preschoolers whose uniforms included beanies. Some kids would attempt to wear the skullcaps cocked rakishly over one eye, while others bemoaned the lack of propellers on top.

I never understood the beanie thing.

Dear Julia,
During the early 1960s, I purchased a silkscreen art rendition of the Brulatour Patio. At that time, it was open to the public and had stores around the first floor. It was popular with tourists who photographed it.

Recently, my daughter and I searched for it. I recall it was on the East side (river side) of Royal Street, but we couldn’t find it. We asked a shop owner and she said it’s in the 600 block of Royal Street. Could you please tell me its location and address? More importantly, I’ve always been curious who the Brulatours were. Can you give me some history of who these folks were and what they did in New Orleans?

Bruce Erickson Wenzel, Ph.D.
Madison, MS

The famous courtyard is located at 516-522 Royal St. in the historic French Quarter. Although popularly known as the Brulatour Patio or Brulatour Courtyard, the property was owned by a Brulatour for only a small portion of its nearly 200 years.

Conveyance records show that, on June 4, 1870, Pierre Ernest Brulatour purchased the Royal Street property from Orson E. Hall for $18,000. Between 1880 and ’82, Emile Desire Noris briefly owned the property before selling it back to Pierre Ernest Brulatour and wife, who possessed it until ’87, when they sold it to John A. Morris.

Pierre Ernest Brulatour (1814-’88) was a prominent importer of wines and liquors. A native of Bordeaux, he had lived in Cuba before settling in New Orleans in the early ’30s. Married to Johana Moses, daughter of a noted local photographer, Brulatour maintained business and personal ties to his native France. His son, Ernest James Brulatour, resided in Paris, where he served as First Secretary of the United States Legation. Another son, Thomas, became an importer as well as a manager of the French Opera House. Pierre Ernest Brulatour died of pneumonia  July 23, ’88 at the age of 74.

Please ask Poydras when Galatoire’s added the “’s” to the name of the restaurant. Being a wee bit older than most of us, he might remember the name Galatoire.

I recently purchased a demitasse cup and saucer and it’s just the second piece I’ve seen with the Galatoire spelling.

Thomas McGinn
New Orleans

Thomas, Poydras doesn’t like to talk about Galatoire’s ever since that night when he was told by a maitre d’ that they didn’t serve parrots. What was especially painful is that he could see a cockatoo dining at one of the tables.

There are actually two ways to look at this. Did the restaurant add an “s” or did the plate manufacturer omit the letter from a custom-made table service? To the best of my knowledge, the venerable French Quarter restaurant has always used the possessive version of its name since its founding in 1905. Advertisements from the restaurant’s opening year used the possessive, as does the present day restaurant.

Given the information at hand, I can only confirm that your have a matched cup and saucer with the Galatoire name on them. It isn’t possible to say if the set was created for the New Orleans dining institution or for a different Galatoire family, hotel or restaurant in another place. If you intend to insure or sell the set and wish to authenticate it or estimate its value, you should consult a certified appraiser who specializes in porcelain and is familiar with items created for the New Orleans market.

Dear Julia and Poydras,
I watched and enjoyed a television series on Prohibition. Did New Orleans have any violence on the streets like Chicago and New York?

Kathleen Bohlinger

In 1919 the New Orleans Police Department compared crime statistics from June and July to see if patterns changed once Prohibition went into effect. At that time, statistics seemed to support Prohibition. NOPD told a Times-Picayune reporter that during July 1919 – the first month the measure was in effect – shootings, cuttings and woundings had decreased. One year later, NOPD leadership saw things a bit differently.

In June 1920, NOPD Superintendent Frank T. Mooney spoke to The Times Picayune newspaper upon his return from Detroit, where he had attended the annual convention of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. According to Mooney, New Orleans may have had fewer arrests since Prohibition went into effect, but the nature of criminal offenses tended to be more serious and violent once Prohibition had been enacted. Despite preliminary data indicating a reduction in criminal activity, Mooney remained unconvinced that liquor or the lack of it was at the root of the city’s violent crime problem.

Noting that NOPD was among the most poorly paid in the nation, Mooney speculated – as did other chiefs he had met at the convention – that the wave of violent crime sweeping New Orleans and elsewhere may not have been directly attributable to the booze ban. Instead, Mooney and others suggested that unemployment, poor wages, high cost of living and the unsettled condition of the entire country were far more significant factors driving a nationwide increase in violent crime. More jobs and better wages, not Prohibition, Mooney claimed, were the real keys for addressing and solving the problem.

Hi Julia,     
Love your column, love New Orleans Magazine; as a supporter from when it first came out on the stands, I look forward to the magazine every month in my mailbox. Many thanks for the great articles all year.

 I would like to ask a question about the Mardi Gras beads. I attend the Bacchus Ball every year, and of course it was great again – Will Ferrell and his father and brother did some fantastic entertaining once they arrived at the Convention Center into the grand ballroom – what a treat. Some beads that some were wearing were made of glass, and they told me some were made of rice long ago. They were very proud to still possess them, because I know they’re rare. Could you tell me when they stopped making them, or do they just make a few every year to pass out to special friends and family? They are truly beautiful and some are works of art.

 Many thanks again for some great reading in New Orleans Magazine, my favorite of all.

Phyllis Jean Bruscato
New Orleans and Monroe

Rice beads aren’t literally made of rice. They are simply a style of bead that resembles grains of rice. The manufacturer of such beads never stopped and they were never banned, but they fell out of favor with Mardi Gras krewes for various reasons. One big factor was the effect the Cold War had on price and availability of glass beads, most of which were then being imported from  Czechoslovakia. Some krewe captains disliked glass throws because some styles of glass beads were quite fragile and broke on impact, scattering broken or unstrung beads all over the place. Rice beads were actually a cheaper variety of Carnival throw and were prone to tangling, which ultimately made them more expensive to throw. Riders encountering tangled beads had two choices : untangle them or just hurl the whole mess at the onlookers and let the parade goers deal with the puzzle. Since float riders typically pay for their own throws, the latter solution, although quick and easy, wasn’t a fiscally responsible option.

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: This month’s winners are: Thomas T. McGinn, New Orleans; and Dr. Bruce Wenzel, Madison, Miss.

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.