History

The Historic New Orleans Collection

Thursday marked the 200th anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans, which influenced the course of American history and propelled Andrew Jackson to the Presidency.

The Historic New Orleans Collection currently has an exhibition on view entitled Andrew Jackson: Hero of New Orleans. WWNO’s Paul Maassen talked to HNOC’s Associate Director for the Williams Research Center, Jason Wiese, about the exhibit, Jackson, and the Battle's anniversary.

The sesquecentennial of the Battle of New Orleans on January 8, 1965, with the remnants of Fazendeville visible in the background.
National Park Service

When Eldgridge Cager was growing up in Fazendeville in the 1950s, he and his friends would look for cannonballs, broken muskets and swords on the other side of the Mississippi River levee — just a few blocks from his house in the all-black community. They’d bring the rusty treasures to “Old Man” Linch, the Park Superintendent of the Chalmette Monument, a tall white obelisk towering over the cow pasture across from Fazendeville.

The youngsters called the monument “the Castle,” and in exchange for cannonballs the size of bowling balls, Linch let them run up the circular stairs, round and round to the very top. “We used to have races to see who gets up there the fastest,” recalls Cager. “I’m in my 60s now. I’ve tried to walk up there. Oh, boy.”

Celebrations for the 200th anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans are on tap for next week.

New historical research is revealing how pivotal the victory was.

A big discovery has come from British records. A researcher recently went to London and found a set of secret orders given to General Edward Pakenham, the commander of the British invasion of the Gulf Coast.

The orders directed him to fight on and capture New Orleans regardless of any peace deal with the Americans.

Cityscapes: When St. Bernard Made Cars

Nov 7, 2014
TheHenryFord.org

In this month's Cityscapes column for NOLA.com and The Times-Picayune, geographer Richard Campanella chooses another industrial subject. The Ford Motor Co. plant in Arabi, along the Mississippi River in St. Bernard Parish, employed hundreds of local workers, starting in the early 1920s.

After graduating from Xavier University, Tureaud left New Orleans in 1960 and traveled the world before settling in White Plains, New York, where he worked as a director of special education for more than 30 years.
Historic New Orleans Collection

AP Tureaud Jr. was raised in the 7th Ward, which he called “the stronghold of the Creole community.” A Creole himself and the son of prominent civil rights lawyer AP Tureaud Sr., he remembers the neighborhood upheld education and leadership. But as often as this unified message was preached, Tureaud says not everyone in the community was given equal footing.

Anthony Fine / Flickr

The final resting place of New Orleans Voodoo queen Marie Laveau has been restored to its original state. The refinished tomb in Cemetery No. 1 will be unveiled this Friday, on Halloween.

According to NOLA.com, Bayou Preservation was hired in August by the Archdiocese of New Orleans and Save Our Cemeteries to return the monument to its 200-year-old original state. The restoration cost $10,000.

John Mecom Jr. was actively involved in the sports industry. Apart from the Saints he owned Mecom Racing Team, which managed several Formula One racing teams and drivers.
Historic New Orleans Collection

When New Orleans was awarded its NFL franchise in 1966, the first person to own the team was John Mecom Jr. – a 26-year-old Houstonian whose father made a fortune in the oil industry. An avid sports fan, John helped shape the team’s identity: he picked out their colors and logos, and even helped move them to the Superdome.

But he was often criticized for his involvement with the team. Throughout his 18 seasons of ownership, John had an adversarial relationship with the league, press and fans.

Cityscapes: A 1941 Pop-Up Factory On Polymnia Street

Sep 12, 2014
Courtesy World War II Museum

Every month, we hear from Richard Campanella about his Cityscapes column for Nola.com and The Times-Picayune.

This month Campanella explores Andrew Higgins' makeshift, pop-up factory to make a new kind of vessel for the Navy in 1941, in the 1600 block of Polymnia Street — then (as now) a residential area. In just two weeks, hundreds of workers produced and delivered 50 vessels, based on a prototype tested in Lake Pontchartrain.

As a young child without reference, the crowds of protesters awaiting Leona Tate at McDonogh 19 in the Lower 9th Ward sounded like a boisterous Mardi Gras parade.
Historic New Orleans Collection

When the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that separate black and white schools were unconstitutional in Brown v. Board of Education, it seemed desegregation was close at hand. But it took six years before the New Orleans school system was integrated. In the fall of 1960, Leona Tate — then only 6 years old — was one of four young black girls escorted through a crowd of protestors.

Among the many innovations that K&B Drugstores brought to the New Orleans area were self-service drugstores, which didn't exist when Sydney Besthoff, left, began working at his family's company.
Historic New Orleans Collection & Infrogmation

When he started working at the family business in the late 1940’s, Sydney Besthoff III had no intention of becoming K&B Drugstore’s lead man. Over the course of the next 20 years, Sydney worked in every aspect of the business and became general manager. He expanded the company along the Gulf Coast throughout the 70’s and 80’s then sold the beloved chain in 1997. There was a local outcry — after all, K&B had been in New Orleans since 1905.

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