oral history

Nola Life Stories
5:00 am
Fri November 21, 2014

JoAnn Clevenger, Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The French Quarter

JoAnn Clevenger grew up in a strong Baptist community in northern Louisiana and eventually found her way to New Orleans. She worries that without a central place to call their own, the bohemians and small business owners of the French Quarter will be ousted from the historic neighborhood.
Credit Historic New Orleans Collection

JoAnn Clevenger had never even heard of Mardi Gras until she moved to New Orleans in the late 1950’s. She dropped out of Tulane to care for her mother and then moved to the French Quarter shortly thereafter. At that point in her life the jazz clubs, restaurants and literary circles she hung around weren’t like anything she’d seen.

    

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Nola Life Stories
5:00 am
Mon November 3, 2014

AP Turead Jr.'s Creole Perspective: Memories Of The 7th Ward

After graduating from Xavier University, Turead 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.
Credit Historic New Orleans Collection

AP Turead 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 Turead Sr., he remembers the neighborhood upheld education and leadership. But as often as this unified message was preached, Turead says not everyone in the community was given equal footing. 

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NOLA Life Stories
5:00 am
Mon October 13, 2014

Rene Brunet Jr.'s Lifetime Serving The Silver Screen

Although they don't own the facility, Rene Brunet Jr.'s family has signed a 50-year agreement with the Prytania Theater that allows them to operate it exclusively.
Credit Historic New Orleans Collection

When Rene Brunet Jr. was a kid, his father owned the Imperial Theater, a single-screen movie house in Mid-City. At the time, movie theaters were neighborhood institutions and played to the vaudeville expectations of the audience. But from the time he was a child, Rene saw the film industry undergo one transformation after another, which put his family’s business under constant pressure to change or get out of the way.   

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NOLA Life Stories
5:00 am
Thu September 18, 2014

John Mecom Jr., Original Owner Of The Saints, Says Professional Football Is No Place For A Romantic

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.
Credit 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.

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Nola Life Stories
5:00 am
Tue September 2, 2014

A First-Hand Account Of Integration: Leona Tate Looks Back At McDonogh 19

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.
Credit 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.

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Nola Life Stories
5:00 am
Mon August 18, 2014

Ain't Dere No More: Sydney Besthoff Reflects On K&B

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.
Credit 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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