Julia Street with Poydras The Parrot

A portion of Norman’s plan of New Orleans & environs, 1845. Courtesy of Library of Congress

Dear Julia and Poydras,

I have researched high and low and have yet to find: How did Tivoli Circle get its name in the 19th century? Yours, Kelly Wally (New Orleans, LA)

You’re talking about the site that is still officially known as Lee Circle. Just a few years after the Lousiana Purchase, surveyor Barthelemy Lafon laid out that part of town for Armand Duplantier, envisioning a classically-inspired and culturally-sophisticated metropolis. At the time, American urban design, architecture and education all emphasized Roman classicism. Place du Tivoli appears to have been named for the magnificent formal gardens – now a UNESCO world hertiage site – at the Villa d’Este in Tivoli, near Rome.

 

Dear Julia,

I have to commend you for your extraordinary resourcefulness in the heavy excavation of New Orleans’ voluminous bits of intriguing history. I find it extremely remarkable how you’re able to connect such an array of dots – when any area for connection can be so remote.

While living in New Orleans, I was a member of the Sea Explorers and we had a very close association with the Southern Yacht Club. On many occasions, we would go on the committee boat and assist with the conduct of the procedures for the different classes of sailboats.

Although our Sea Scout ship (technically a “boat”) was not in the “yacht” class, it did take us across Lake Pontchartrain over to Mandeville/Madisonville (forgot which) and also over to Camp Salmen in Slidell. Our “boat” was the “Pinetree Jim,” and to the best of my knowledge, it was given to us since it was confiscated as a “rum runner” by the authorities (whoever they were at the time of repossession.)

After going on active duty in the Navy – the real Navy – I lost all track of the “Pinetree Jim,” so I haven’t the slightest idea of what happened to her.

Do any living souls know what happened to her? William C. Bradshaw (Apple Valley, CA)

Thank you for your vote of confidence.

The “S.S.S. Pinetree Jim” was named in honor of the Seas Scouts’ national director “Pinetree Jim” Wilder. At least two of the “Pinetree Jim’s” sister vessels, the “Viking” and the “Bienville,” had illicit pasts as rum runners smuggling liquor during Prohibition until Federal revenue agents caught up with them, so the “Pinetree Jim’s” backstory is likely correct.

I have heard that, in the mid-1950s, on a return trip from Camp Salmen, the “Pinetree Jim” got caught in a storm and sank off the seawall. If any former crew read this and can confirm her fate, please drop me a line; I would be happy to revisit her story if there is a better trail to follow.

 

Dear Julia and Poydras:

I grew up in the Jefferson Highway- Causeway Boulevard area, and was born in 1950. There was a restaurant (possibly Italian) in the 800-900 block of Jefferson Highway going towards the Parish line that my siblings and I are trying to remember the name of. It was a white building that is no longer there. I remember eating there in my late teens/early 20s. Can you possibly help with the name? Thanks, Sharon Penning (River Ridge, LA)

I think you must mean Pete’s, a restaurant and bar located at 900 Jefferson Highway. It operated from the mid-1950s to mid-1970s and, during your high school years, owner Louis M. Peters operated it as Pete’s Italian Spaghetti House. I believe it was the only Italian restaurant in that area. Readers may recall that Pete’s was down the block from Manuel’s; it was also across the highway and a short distance away from the Sands Club and Tucker’s Steak House.


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