Julia Street with Poydras the Parrot
Dear Julia and Poydras,
I remember reading, years ago, about Tokay Tea Baseball Park. Can you tell me anything about its namesake product? Was Tokay a local brand? Craig Pierce (Metairie)
The New Orleans Import Company, Ltd., which was established in 1888, imported and blended the popular local product. Tokay Tea was a blend of Orange Pekoe and black tea and was a local favorite since its introduction in the late 19th century. The New Orleans Import Company, 407 Magazine Street, was also well known for its Rex brand spices.
Tokay Tea Baseball Park was on the lakeside of South Claiborne and Jefferson. In the 1920s, when the land was still undeveloped, the field was a popular play spot for neighborhood children, as well as corporate baseball teams, such as the Tokay Teas, a team comprised of New Orleans Import Company employees. There were, however, other teams that used the same name, much to the chagrin of the original owners.
Because the undeveloped tract was both large and flat, it also served as an airfield in the early days of aviation in the 1910s and 20s. The area where the park former stood was later developed as a residential neighborhood.
Looking for the location of a bar called Colorado Mining Co. [from around] 1972-1973. I think [it was] off of Toulouse, maybe Decatur or Chartres. I spent over two weeks every day all over the web, and nothing. Either I’ve created it in my senior mind or it was real. It was a late night place and [had] pool tables. I’ve used Google maps to walk the streets hoping it would jar my memory, what’s left of it, and Toulouse keeps popping up in the old brain. I lived at 925 Royal and we would not go to far late at night. Any help would be great. Phyllis Lewis (Nashville, Tennessee)
The bar was real, but it existed a bit later than you recall. During its apparently brief lifespan, it had two different locations, neither of which was on Toulouse Street.
You wandered only a few blocks from home, but had to have patronized the Colorado Mining Company a few years later than you recall, since the bar appears to have been established in 1975. Its first location, which it briefly occupied, was 626 St. Philip, which had formerly been the Mouse Trap.
In June 1976, a five-alarm fire damaged the Colorado Mining Company and other buildings in the 600 block of St. Philip Street. Consequently, the bar moved a block away and across the street to 515 St. Philip, which readers may recall had been the Seven Seas. The second version lasted only a few years. In late 1979, it was one of 30 local drinking establishments the city of New Orleans cited during a crackdown on illegal and criminal activity. Soon thereafter, the Mississippi River Bottom replaced it at the 515 St. Philp Street address.
Dear Julia and Poydras,
My late grandfather was a boy during the Great Depression and grew up in Arabi. Whenever he would see me enjoying a certain popular snack cake, he would tell me that there used to be a local “Twinkie” bread he ate as a kid. Do you have any idea what he may have been talking about? J.A. Jones (New Orleans)
Your grandfather was remembering Twinky Twins bread, which the A. S. LaNasa Bakery at 6117 St. Claude Avenue, introduced in late 1928. A double-sized loaf, Twinky Twins was promoted as an economical and healthful food for growing children. Sunshine, Faultless and Betsy Ross were just a few of the other breads La Nasa produced its ultra-modern facility, which remained family-owned into the 1940s. Incidentally, Twinky Twins bread was not named for the popular Hostess brand snack cakes, the name of which is spelled somewhat differently. Twinkies® made their debut two years after La Nasa introduced Twinky Twins brand bread.