Julia Street with Poydras the Parrot
On a recent visit to Audubon Park, I happened upon a curved cement bench near the sea lion pool. It dates from the 1930s and is dedicated “In memory of Harry Louis Falk, whose wholehearted devotion to Audubon Park brought beauty and leisure to many.” I have never heard of Mr. Falk and am hoping you may know more about him.
Thank you, Pierre Boisfontaine (New Orleans)
Harry Louis Falk (1876-1934) was born in Cincinatti, Ohio, and raised in Decatur, Alabama. Falk practiced law in New York before coming to New Orleans during World War I to join the Isidore Newman and Sons investment brokerage. In later years, Falk directed the Maison Blanche Realty Company. A member of the Audubon Park board, Falk resided adjacent to the park and had been involved in various park committees throughout his 17-year residence in New Orleans. He died in 1934, following a brief illness, and was buried in Metairie Cemetery. He was survived by his wife, Miriam Danziger.
Dear Julia and Poydras,
My grandmother told me, many years ago, that she thought one of the fountains in Audubon Park was inspired by a famous one in Germany, but she didn’t know any details. Do you know if this is true or what fountain she may have been talking about? I know it wasn’t the Hyams wading pool but I think it was in the back of the park between Magazine and the River by the old aquarium, if that helps.
Best regards, Jane Simon (New Orleans)
The Odenheimer Fountain which depicits Hygeia, the Greco-Roman goddess of health was a gift of Sigmund Odenheimer (1862-1945). Located near the sea lion pool, it was dedicated in 1930 and is the work of German sculptor Johannes Hirt (1859-1917). It is a near copy of a fountain Hirt created in Karlsruhe, Germany, but a major difference is that the Odenheimer Fountain lacks the human figures that adorn the rim of the original. Sigmund Odenheimer, who headed the Lane Cotton Mill and was a major park benefactor, had as a young man studied engineering at the technical school at Karlsruhe.
A friend and I just discussed her memory of some type of Zephyr type ride at the edge of City Park along City Park Avenue near Ralph’s on the Park. I don’t remember this, but she is quite specific about it from long ago. I’ve written you before with good leads/success.
Larry Blanchard (New Orleans)
Your friend is remembering the Scenic Railway, a toboggan-style roller coaster, at Stock’s Scenic Park, which was located at the corner of City Park Avenue and North Alexander Street. Although the park was associated with the Stock family for nearly 30 years, they did not establish Scenic Park or erect its Scenic Railway.
Detroit investors and inventors Charles H. Pfunter and Charles B. Cole, of the American Scenic Railway and Amusement Company, established Scenic Park in 1903 and built the roller coaster the same year using their own patented designs.
Financially and legally troubled, Scenic Park was seized and sold to George W. Preston at public auction less than a year later.
In 1906, Jacob Stock, who had held City Park’s carousel concession, moved his merry-go-round to Scenic Park. When Stock died, in 1908, his family created the Scenic Park Toboggan Company and continued managing what became known as Stock’s Scenic Amusement Park until it closed in the mid-1930s. The Southern Demolishing & Lumber Company tore down the Scenic Railway in November 1935 and sold its long leaf yellow pine frame as scrap wood.
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