Historic New Orleans Collection

Rosalind Brown and Vernel Bagneris in One Mo' Time, written and directed by Mr. Bagneris.
Carol Rosegg / Historic New Orleans Collection

Vernel Bagneris was working in New Orleans’ theater scene for years when his musical about black vaudeville performers hit the big time. And while talent and luck play a role in every Cinderella story, Vernal says there was another key element to the success of One Mo’ Time. He spoke with historian Mark Cave.

A postcard from Antoine's Restaurant, circa 1930.
Antoine's Restaurant / Boston Public Library/The Tichnor Brothers Collection

Rebranding a business is one of the most challenging things a company can do. Rick Blount understands very well: his family has owned Antoine’s Restaurant for five generations, which has left a legacy not only in the restaurant’s dining rooms, but in public opinion. 

Antoine's is famous for many things, including Oyster's Rockefeller, which was invented by Jules Alciatore. Blount told the story of its genesis to historian Mark Cave:

Oystermen at work on Lake Borgne in 1973.
John Messina / Environmental Protection Agency

Despite what your parents may have told you about eating oysters in the summer, it’s perfectly fine to do that. That’s from the lips of Alfred Sunseri, whose family has run the P&J Oyster Company since 1876. He knows a thing or two about the business and shares his family's triumphs and their frustrations in this interview with The Historic New Orleans Collection's oral historian, Mark Cave. 

Historic New Orleans Collection

Call them whatever you want: hipsters or hippies, beatniks or punks, New Orleans has always been an attractive place for American bohemianism. But despite its laid back attitude, the people down here often think these subcultures threaten the way things are done. Amzie Adams encountered that kind of opposition when he moved here in the late 60’s, but then quickly found a way to participate in New Orleans’ culture. 

John Menzser

The latest edition of NOLA Life Stories takes place at a department store in Gretna, 1937. This is a time when families lived above the store, when advertisements were delivered door to door, and babies got their first pair of shoes for free.

This was also a time of separate but equal, of back-of-the-bus politics. But not every nook and cranny of the city was gripped by segregation. As Sam and John Menszer remember, the customers at their family’s shop kept any racist attitudes– and their bags – at the door.  

Historic New Orleans City

It’s estimated that local non-profits have annual expenditures of over $550 million and must rely on government subsidies, fundraising campaigns and grant proposals to complete their missions. Philanthropic groups, like the Joe W. and Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation, develop their own mission statements to support those institutions and spend the year deciding where to allocate funds.

msppmoore

Prisons are built on the supposition that time, discipline and routine transform inmates into new people. Nelson Davis has lived with this idea since 1980, when he arrived at the Louisiana State Penitentiary to fulfill a life sentence.

Historic New Orleans Collection

If you kept tabs on local politics over the past several decades, then Jackie Clarkson’s name isn’t lost on you. This staunch Democrat represented many of the city’s downtown neighborhoods from Bywater and Treme to the French Quarter and Algiers, her childhood home.

But what influenced her to pursue a life in politics? Mark Cave found out when he interviewed Ms. Clarkson for this edition of NOLA Life Stories.

Joyce N. Boghosian / The White House

Leah Chase: say the name and New Orleanians know exactly who you’re talking about. She’s a great chef, a civil rights activist, and an avid art collector. And it’s not a stretch to say that – to some people – she’s the maternal figure of the city. On this edition of Nola Life Stories, Leah Chase, in her own words.  

This interview was conducted by Mark Cave for the Historic New Orleans Collection.

Marion Post Wolcott / Library of Congress

The historic Dew Drop Inn in Central City is in the midst of a revival. For many years it was the hot spot in the Jim Crow South where guests could catch a show, grab a sandwich, spend a night, and even get a haircut.

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