Julia Street with Poydras the Parrot

Dear Julia,
My grandfather was trying to tell me about the jail in Arabi, Louisiana but he didn’t know much about it. He seems to think it was the first jail in St. Bernard. I passed by to get some information on it, but it seems like it’s abandoned. It’s located in an area not noticeable. Would you be able to give me some background on this jail? Thank you so much, – Jessica


Henry Daboval, then manager of the nearby Crescent City Stock Yard and Slaughter House Company, designed the new First Ward Justice Courthouse and Jail, which J. C. Bourg built in 1911. Justices of the Peace held court in the structure until 1923 and the jail remained in use until 1939.  

The tiny cement building at 220 Hernandez replaced a 19th century jail that had been torn down after it had been deemed insecure. The 1911 structure was restored in 1985, but, 20 years later, post-Katrina flooding damaged it. A FEMA-funded renovation was undertaken in 2011; the walls, metal bars and one of the cells are original. After a brief stint as a parish tourism office, the jail last served as home to the Old Arabi Jail/Sugar Museum. 



Dear Julia,
While browsing through some old family photo albums, I ran across a photo of me and my husband all dressed up. On the back of the photo I had written “Our 35th anniversary at Mali D’s.” We will be celebrating our 60th anniversary in June and neither of us remember this celebration at Mali D’s. From the name, we assume it was a restaurant. Are we right? Where was it located and what kind of  restaurant was it? We appreciate your assistance. – Mary and Ron Fonseca


Mali D’s was a short-lived Italian restaurant located in a cottage at 98 Friedrichs Avenue near Metairie Road. It opened about 1993 and was gone by the time the 1996 city directory was being compiled.  

The Friedrichs Avenue cottage had been a restaurant since 1984, when chef Gerard Thabuis opened La Savoie, a venture which lasted only a year before Gambrill’s, originally a joint venture of chefs Gerhard Brill and Stephen Gamble, succeeded it.



Dear Julia and Poydras,
There are many architectural marvels in New Orleans; but the one that amazes me most is the magnificent mausoleum that catches everyone’s attention coming from the West on the I-10. It is higher than anything around it, has what appears to be angels surrounding a cross-topped tower, and is marked with the name “Moriarty.”

There must be a story behind it. I would love it if you could tell me it was the final resting place of Professor Moriarty. Perhaps, after doing in Sherlock Holmes he escaped the law in England and fled to New Orleans where he invented the pot hole and endeared himself to car and wagon repairers. If anyone could tell me the truth, I know it would be you two and I am dying to learn it.

Related and equally baffling is the question of why there are never birds perched on the top of this edifice. Dear Poydras, were I a parrot or a feathered friend of humbler pedigree, this is the one spot in the city I would choose to make my home, to rest and watch the traffic, and to choose carefully which of those cars I’d like to decorate. Is there some sort of a curse on the building? Is it made of some sort of avian-allergenic granite?

Please help me with this. Sincerely, Kevin Cahalan (Kenner, LA)

Kevin, as for your suggestion that the tomb might be the resting place of Sherlock Holmes’ nemesis Professor Moriarty the answer is “elementary.” Completed in 1897, the memorial honors grocer and real estate speculator Daniel Moriarty’s first wife, Mary Farrell, and Moriaty’s father, Joseph.

So massive were the granite components that special rail cars and a temporary railroad spur were built to transport the materials from New England to the building site in Metairie Cemetery. As for the monument’s roof being bird free, Poydras will be of no help. He has a phobia of landing on top of tombs. He does, however, enjoy the architecture. The four sculptures adorning the Moriarty obelisk represent Faith, Hope, Charity and Memory. Stone carver Alexander McDonald, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, sculpted the four statues, which are made of Westerly granite. The obelisk they adorn is made of Barre granite and is the work of Mackie, Hussey & Co., of Barre, Vermont.



Have a question for Julia?

Send your question to: Julia Street, c/o New Orleans Magazine, 110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, LA 70005 or email: Errol@MyNewOrleans.com.

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