Julia Street with Poydras the Parrot
During the late 1940s, my friends and I would play baseball and football on an empty lot on the lakeside of St. Charles Avenue and Philip Street. The Georgian Apartments [building] was eventually built on that site. We would call it the Army Lot; I don’t know why we gave it that name. I do remember some slabs of concrete and bricks on the ground that we had to avoid while playing. Do you know what was at that location before the empty lot?
The site had been the Charles A. Whitney house. Possibly designed by architect Edward Gottheil, the Whitney mansion was, for many years, considered to be one of St. Charles Avenue’s must-see sites. Built in the early 1870s, the enormous three-story Second Empire residence and its formal gardens not only dominated the block, but also played a significant role in transforming St. Charles Avenue into an opulent residential thoroughfare.
Dear Julia and Poydras,
Years ago, in the early 1960s, when I was young and foolish, yet having a great time living and working in New Orleans, my roommates and I often went out to places called the Holiday House on Napoleon Street and La Casa’s on Decatur or Chartres [streets] – probably Decatur.
Can you share some pictures or information on either of these two places? I keep thinking that maybe Street Scenes will come out, especially La Casa’s, so I can have a souvenir of one of my favorite places in my favorite city! I also love New Orleans Magazine!
The Holiday House Cocktail Lounge was actually located at 1700-1706 Louisiana Ave., near St. Charles Avenue. Mrs. Ella Suberville was its proprietor.
La Casa’s was located on the downtown lake corner of Decatur and Toulouse streets, where Maspero’s now operates. Wild even by New Orleans standards, La Casa’s was a Latin sailor’s hangout, the proper name of which was La Casa de Los Marinos. It was actually three bars, arranged sequentially. Tourists gravitated to the front bar, which was the tamest of the three. A rowdier bar could be found in the middle. But, it was the dimly lit third bar that had the roughest reputation. I am not going to ask which room may have held the most appeal to such an adventurous young woman and her friends as they bar hopped across early 1960s New Orleans.
Dear Julia and Poydras:
I have a Jackson Root Beer bottle that’s white and the size of a regular root beer bottle. Embossed on the glass is: Jackson Root Beer, 12 fl. Oz.
My question is, during Prohibition, was root beer made?
This bottle was found buried in my yard, while remodeling was in progress in the Garden District. I am 73 years old and lived here all my life. I never remember Jackson Root Beer. I was born during the Depression.
Can you shed any light on this?
Yes, those breweries that tried to ride out Prohibition most certainly produced non-alcoholic beverages, near-beer and family-friendly drinks as they struggled to remain both legal and solvent. New Orleans’ own Jackson Brewing Company was no exception to the national trend and is known to have bottled its own root beer brand during Prohibition. Dixie, then operating as Merz Products, survived Prohibition by making soft drinks. So did American Brewing, better known as the home of Regal Beer. Anheuser-Busch, which then had a local plant at Gravier and South Front (now Constance) streets, went even further in a family-friendly non-alcoholic direction, briefly adding ice cream to its product line. The Anheuser-Busch Ice Cream & Beverage Company Inc., was short-lived, ceasing operation in 1929. Prohibition ended in ’33.
Terry Flettrich [used to be the] host of a WDSU Monday program. I remember Terry Flettrich … let’s go way back. When I was a little boy – correct me if I’m wrong – Miss Flettrich had a kid’s show in the afternoon on WDSU. It was called Little Miss Muffin or Little Miss Muffet. I was on the show with my third grade class from Wilson School. It was great fun. She read us a story and handed out cookies at the end of the show. What ever happened to her? Is she still alive? Where does she live?
There were other shows for kids back in the early days of WDSU-TV. Wayne Mac had the Great McNutt Show; I know he passed away several years ago.
There was one other one I remember, Captain Sam. Do you remember this show? What ever happened to Captain Sam?
You are pretty close Lee, but you’re wrong about the show title and its namesake’s marital status. The show title was Mrs. Muffin. The beloved hostess, Terry Flettrich Rohe currently lives in Maine but maintains close ties to New Orleans.
Sam Page, host of WDSU’s popular early children’s show Captain Sam, appears to have faded into obscurity.
He was succeeded by Bayou Bill.
I am a transplanted New Orleans native and grew up in an old double shotgun house. It had little decorative blocks along each outside edge of the front of the house. Do you know if those little blocks have a real name?
Yes, they have a proper architectural name. They are called “quoins,” pronounced as if you are referring to a pocket full of spare change. Often made of wood block, they can also be made of other materials such as stone or brick. Their purpose is to accentuate a building’s outside corners. Many New Orleans shotgun houses, particular those built between 1880 and the very early 1900s, feature quoins.