Dear Julia and Poydras,

On the edge of the green space between Pontchartrain Boulevard and West End, facing Veterans in Lakeview is a square brick/cement block that seems to have had a purpose at one time. I see it every day and wonder.

– Peggy Serio (New Orleans, LA)

The mysterious platform you photographed on your daily commute is in Lakeview but it is quite far away from the intersection you specified. It faces City Park Avenue and is located at the edge of the lake-side neutral ground separating Orleans Avenue and Marconi Drive.  

The brick veneered platform is a Sewerage and Water Board service hatch.



Dear Julia and Poydras,

I was reading the Question to Julia by Bob Pisani and he references the “sparkle houses.” I graduated from Jesuit in 1974 and during my latter years there, we would bring our dates by them on the way out to the lake from Valencia and maybe Fump’s bar.

The three “sparkle houses” were on Pine Street behind Dominican and about two blocks past Walmsley on the way to Washington Ave. They were on the river side. Always enjoyed seeing them, and my wife remembers them too as she was my date!

– Ewell C. Potts III (New Orleans, LA)

Thanks for writing Ewell. According to your directions, the houses in question appear to have been in the odd 3000 block of Pine Street. It was a residential block with modest homes but I have found no specific explanation of why they glittered and why so many young people seem to have sought them out. By 1981, all that glittered had been sold; the houses were gone and had been replaced by multi-story rental properties.   
Also, for the benefit of readers who may be wondering about Fump’s and Valencia, a little explanation is in order. Originally located at 1900 Valence Street, the non-profit Valencia, Inc. started the Valencia Club in the summer of 1948 as a social club and recreation center for area teens. Fump’s was the original F&M bar on Tchoupitoulas Street; co-owner John Flynn was nicknamed Fump.



Dear Julia,

Back in 1971, Margaret, my New Orleans born and raised wife, agreed to leave New Orleans with this Yankee and move to New England. We have returned many times to visit friends, family and familiar haunts. Everyone in our area knows Margaret is from New Orleans proving once again you can take the girl out of New Orleans but you can’t take New Orleans out of the girl.

Recently a friend gave Margaret a plate they found at an antique shop. The front of it shows a picture of Newcomb Hall, where her mom went to school, and the rear says “Scenes of Old New Orleans … made …for Coleman E. Adler and Sons”. Can you tell me when this series of plates was made and how many were in the series?

– Thank You, E. Patrick Storey, Jr. (Tolland, MA)

Crown Ducal was a trademark of the A. G. Richardson & Co., Ltd., an English earthenware and pottery firm. Richardson created for the Coleman E. Adler company at least two different series of souvenir plates depicting iconic New Orleans sights. One Crown Ducal series, which I have seen only in blue, featured a laurel design on the rim surrounding a broad cobalt band that encircled a central pictorial image showing a New Orleans view.

The pattern you describe seems to have been introduced in the late 1930s and was actively pitched to the tourist market during the yearly Mardi Gras season. I have seen conflicting information about the number of scenes in the series, with a 1941 Adler’s advertisement claiming there were six views and three color schemes; neither the specific scenes nor the color options were listed. The plates originally sold for $1 each and continued in production into the 1950s. By 1952, the price had risen to $1.50 per plate in a series consisting of eight different but unspecified views available in ether blue or mulberry. New Orleans attractions depicted on Crown Ducal souvenir dinnerware appear to have included St. Louis Cathedral, the intersection of St. Peter and Royal, Brulatour Courtyard, Madame John’s Legacy, Pirate’s Alley, Dueling Oaks, “Lacy Iron” wrought iron and Newcomb College.



Win a restaurant gift certificate
Here is a chance to eat, drink 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 a Jazz Brunch for two at The Court of Two Sisters. To take part, send your question to: Julia Street, c/o New Orleans Magazine, 110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, LA 70005 or email: This month’s winners are Ewell Potts, III, New Orleans and E. Patrick Storey, Jr., Tolland, MA.