10 episodes

New Orleans History, Nostalgia, and Fun!

NOLA History Guy NOLA History Guy

    • History

New Orleans History, Nostalgia, and Fun!

    NOLA History Guy Podcast

    NOLA History Guy Podcast

    Mister Bingle 2020 still goes “jingle jangle jingle!

    Mister Bingle 2020

    We’ve done a lot of things on Mr. Bingle, the most visible icon of Christmas in New Orleans, but not a podcast ep! Mister Bingle-2020 looks to change that, as we talk about the little snow elf.

    Origins

    The idea of Mister Bingle began with a trip to Chicago. In 1947, Mr. Emile Alline managed the display department at Maison Blanche Department Store on Canal Street. The “Greatest Store South” opened at 901 Canal Street in 1897. Fifty years later, the store survived two World Wars. Alline was an important part of advertising and promoting the store in the post-WWII boom. Alline took the train up to Chicago to see what stores along that city’s famed “Miracle Mile” were up to for the Christmas season. He took note of many things, particularly the signature character, “Uncle Mistletoe,” at Marshall Fields.

    Alline decided Maison Blanche needed a Christmas character. He came home from that Chicago run and got to work. Rather than a paternal, big, Santa-like character, Alline sketched a more child-like figure. His concept began with a small snowman. The snowman received wings of holly and a big red nose. An upside-down ice cream cone became his hat.

    While it would be Alline’s job to bring his preliminary concept to life, it wasn’t his decision to go forward. He pitched the character to Herbert Shwartz, the President of Maison Blanche. Shwartz liked the concept, naming the snow-elf, “Mister Bingle.” His initials became “MB.”

    Sketches and Ad Campaigns

    Mister Bingle had the green light for his red nose. Alline went to work with the store’s art department to standardize the character. Bingle found his way into the daily ads in local newspapers. A back story on the snow-elf’s origin was created. New Orleans got a new Christmas story.

    “Proto-Imagineers”

    The artists of a department store’s Art and/or Display department were some of the most creative people in town. These are the folks that come up with ideas that make memories, like Phil Preddy’s six-foot letters, making lighted messages on the front of Krauss. A decade later, Walt Disney looked for these creatives, to be his “Imagineers.” Mister Bingle 2020 continues to inspire people with talent and drive.

    Mr. Bingle goes 3-D

    After the 1947 holiday season, MB desired a larger presence for their snow-elf. Alline planned to include Bingle in the store’s window displays. He commissioned a fifteen-inch Bingle doll. The prototype looked great. So, doll Bingles appeared in the windows.

    While those display Bingles met different fates over the years, Mister Bingle 2020 includes the original prototype. Emile Alline’s daughters preserved the prototype doll. According to their Facebook pages, the daughters alternate Christmas “custody” of the prototype. Bingle celebrates with both branches of the family.

    The Puppets and Oscar Isentrout

    The folks who worked at the Canal Street store were quite familiar with businesses behind them in the French Quarter. While Bourbon Street was not as tawdry as it is for Mister Bingle 2020, the street had interesting night clubs. Several Bourbon Street clubs offered burlesque shows, interspersed with Jazz and vaudeville acts. i can just imagine Emile Alline, or one of his team mentioning a puppeteer who worked those clubs, maybe with a “or so I’m told” added to the story.

    So, Alline connected with a puppeteer, Edward Harmon Isentrout. Isentrout went by “Oscar” professionally.

    • 1 hr 28 min
    NOLA History Guy Podcast 20-June-2020 – Katy Morlas Shannon Part 2

    NOLA History Guy Podcast 20-June-2020 – Katy Morlas Shannon Part 2

    NOLA History Guy Podcast 20-June-2020 is part two of our interview with Katy Morlas Shannon

    NOLA History Guy Podcast 20-June-2020

    Just one segment this week, which is part two of our talk with historian and author Katy Morlas Shannon. We had such a good time talking, and I don’t want to edit any of it!



    Buy Katy’s Book!



    The New Orleans Bee was a French-language newspaper that began in 1827. L’Abeille (its French name) offered New Orleans’ Creole community the news for over a century. So, we spoke with author and historian Katy Morlas Shannon about her background, The Bee, and how she came to curate the selection of articles from the paper’s first year.



    The New Orleans Bee: Dispatches from the first year of Louisiana’s longest-running French-language newspaper – Kindle Edition

    The Plantations

    These are the places we talked with Katy about during our chat.

    Whitney Plantation

    Laura Plantation

    Evergreen Plantation

    Fleurty Girl on NOLA History Guy Podcast 20-June-2020



    Crown baseball tee from Fleurty GirlWe did our interview via Zoom, but only used the audio for the podcast. Katy had a really cool t-shirt from Fleurty Girl on!

    Katy M. Shannon on Facebook.

    I promise, we’ll get back to the Riverfront Streetcar Line in a few weeks! While we’ll be talking to folks, research continues. Therefore, the Riverfront segments offer lots of details.

    • 1 hr 18 min
    NOLA History Guy Podcast 16-May-2020 – Katy Shannon Part I

    NOLA History Guy Podcast 16-May-2020 – Katy Shannon Part I

    NOLA History Guy Podcast 16-May-2020 is part one of our interview with Katy Morlas Shannon

    NOLA History Guy Podcast 16-May-2020

    Two segments on a longer edition of NOLA History Guy Podcast this week. First is our pick of the week from Today in New Orleans History. Additionally, part one of our interview with Katy Morlas Shannon.

    May 13, 1966 – City agrees with International Trade Mart on a new building

    Our Pick of the Week from NewOrleansPast.com is May 13th. On that date in 1966, the city finalized an agreement with the International Trade Mart. The Mart wanted a new headquarters building, So, they acquired property at 2 Canal Street. The organization’s first headquarters was the above building at the corner of Camp and Common Streets. Mayor Vic Schiro continued Chep Morrison’s plans in his administration. The goal was to make New Orleans a gateway to Central and South America. Modernizing the ITM contributed to this. So, the organization built a 33-story office building at the foot of Canal. That building remains a part of the downtown skyline.

    In 1985, the ITM merged with International House to become the World Trade Center. The ITM building housed a number of international companies. That’s how the “Mart” worked. Additionally, the building housed foreign consulate offices. As the city’s economy shifted from port traffic and the oil industry to tourism, things changed. While the ITM building was a good location, newer office towers on Poydras appealed to companies. Hurricane Katrina emptied the building. Even the World Trade Center moved across the street to One Canal Place. In 2012, the organization gave the unoccupied building to the city. So, it will soon become a Four Seasons Hotel.

    The New Orleans Bee



    The New Orleans Bee was a French-language newspaper that began in 1827. L’Abeille (its French name) offered New Orleans’ Creole community the news for over a century. So, we spoke with author and historian Katy Morlas Shannon about her background, The Bee, and how she came to curate the selection of articles from the paper’s first year.



    The New Orleans Bee: Dispatches from the first year of Louisiana’s longest-running French-language newspaper – Kindle Edition

    The Plantations

    Whitney Plantation

    Laura Plantation

    Evergreen Plantation

    Katy Morlas Shannon



     

    We did this interview via Zoom, but only used the audio for the podcast. Katy had a really cool t-shirt from Fleurty Girl on!

    Katy M. Shannon on Facebook.

    I promise, we’ll get back to the a href="https://nolahistoryguy.com/2020/04/nola-history-guy-podcast-05-april-2020-d-h-holmes-streetcars/" target="_blank" rel...

    • 1 hr 17 min
    NOLA History Guy Podcast

    NOLA History Guy Podcast

    NOLA History Guy Podcast 05-April-2020 presents the first of a four-part series on the Riverfront Streetcar line.

    NOLA History Guy Podcast 05-April-2020

    Two segments on NOLA History Guy Podcast 05-April-2020, our pick of the week from NewOrleansPast.com, and the start of a series on the Riverfront Streetcar line.

    Today in New Orleans History

    Our Pick of the week from the Facebook group, Today in New Orleans History, is Campanella’s entry for April 2nd. Daniel Henry Holmes opened his store on 2-April-1842. The first store was not the Canal Street location. He opened up at 22 Chartres, in the French Quarter. The store did well, and Holmes moved to the 800 block of Canal Street in 1849. D. H. Holmes is an icon, from “meet me under the clock” to the selection of merchandise, to the suburban stores.

    There’s nothing more New Orleans than a discussion on social media about which store your momma liked better, Holmeses or Maison Blanche! We thought about adding a discussion or quote section in NOLA History Guy Podcast 05-April-2020, but it can get ugly.

    The 2-April entry at New Orleans Past shows two ads from the Times-Picayune. The first is from 28-March-1924. It includes a pictorial history of D. H. Holmes around the border. Very nice!

    The second ad is from 2-April-1938. To celebrate the store’s birthday, D. H. Holmes ordered a 400-pound birthday cake, featuring, naturally, the clock!

    Riverfront Streetcar History

    We present a four-part series on the Riverfront Streetcar Line. The line rolled for the first time in 1899. The series:

    I. Background – streetcars running along the New Orleans Riverfront

    II. The Riverfront line, 1988-1997

    III. The updated line, 1997-present

    IV. NORTA 461 – History of a Riverfront streetcar

    Today: Part I – background leading up to 1988

    Prior to the Riverfront line, streetcars didn’t operate close to the riverfront. That’s because the wharves and railroad tracks occupied the space. The closest streetcars were on the streets servicing the Riverfront, like Tchoupitoulas, Laurel, and Annunciation Streets uptown, and N. Front and Decatur Streets to the French Market on the downtown side.

    • 54 min
    Transit Maintenance – NOLA History Guy Podcast 2020-03-22

    Transit Maintenance – NOLA History Guy Podcast 2020-03-22

    Transit maintenance on Canal Street is our photo breakdown this week

    Transit Maintenance

    This is a wonderful photo, just to enjoy. It offers a lot to break down as well. The scene is 1901 or 1902, Canal Street, right by the rear of the Liberty Monument. Prior to electrification, streetcars running on the Canal Street line stopped in the 200 block. They turned around there and headed outbound.

    Liberty Place

    The photographer taking our breakdown photo stands right behind the Liberty Monument. For the sordid history of this obelisk (now removed after being designated a public nuisance), start with its Wikipedia entry. In 1894, the two main streetcar operators in town hired the engineering firm of Ford, Bacon, and Davis (FB&D), to make recommendations on how to proceed with electric streetcars in New Orleans. They made a number of suggestions, along with designing a single-truck streetcar specifically for operation in the city.

    The photo above shows the Liberty Monument, looking from the river, opposite from our breakdown photo. FB&D designed a single-track loop around the monument for streetcars. The inbound cars looped around, then parked on layover tracks behind the monument, in the 200 block.

    Maintenance wagon

    By 1899, all streetcar operations merged into a single company. They adopted the name, New Orleans City Railroad Company (NOCRR). This was the name of the company that originally operated the Canal and Esplanade lines, as well as a number of other backatown lines, beginning in 1861. Their main streetcar barn and maintenance facility was in Mid-City, at Canal and N. White Streets. So, our work crew here likely came down Canal from that station, or possibly up St. Claude Avenue, from their Poland Avenue barn. They bring this mule-drawn wagon and two big ladders to Liberty Place. They set up the ladders in the back of the wagon, leaving the mule unattended! I don’t know f I’d have that much faith in the mule to stay still.

    There are three types of streetcars in the photo. There are two FB&D single-truck cars, two Brill single-truck cars, and one of the 500-series double-truck streetcars from the American Company. These were the forerunners of the venerable “Palace” streetcars that were so popular on the Canal, West End, and Napoleon lines. This car, 510, ran on the West End line. It’s finished the loop around the monument, preparing for its outbound run to the lakefront. The streetcar system grew rapidly after 1900. So, transit maintenance was important!

    Today in New Orleans History – March 17, 1930

    In addition to our transit maintenance photo, we offer our pick of the week from Campanella’s NewOrleansPast.com website (also as a Facebook group, Today in New Orleans History) is from March 17, 1930. Ms. Campanella takes us back to a story from the late, wonderful, historian and storyteller, Gaspar “Buddy” Stall. Stall wrote that the first “coffee break” in America happened on this day, in the Hibernia Bank Building on Carondelet. The Mississippi Steamship Company (later re-organized as the Delta Steamship Company, operators of the Delta Queen cruise steamer/riverboat) called their eighty employees together at 3:30pm, for a gathering where they served coffee, in the Brazilian tradition. Word spread around in America, and that’s how we got the “coffee break.”

    Buy Books!

    Buy Edward Branley’s books, Catherine Campanella’s/...

    • 47 min
    Southern Rebellion Irish – NOLA History Guy Podcast

    Southern Rebellion Irish – NOLA History Guy Podcast

    Southern Rebellion Irish – talking about the Irish socially in Antebellum New Orleans

    Southern Rebellion Irish

    While a number of Irish families in New Orleans rose to the upper levels of society by the Southern Rebellion, those in the city who wanted to maintain an economy based on enslaved African labor did not accept newer Irish immigrants as equals. They didn’t mind the Irish taking jobs they didn’t want to do, in the army, doing labor such as working to build the New Canal, and working on the riverfront. By 1860, the Know-Nothings (yes, that was a real party and political movement) pushed immigrants away to the point where the Irish felt strong Unionist sentiments.

    The Irish immigrants felt the resentment of the WASPs in the United States antebellum most in the Army. WASP officers commanding units during the Mexican War treated immigrants horribly. This led to a large desertion. Hundreds of Irish soldiers crossing the Rio Grande river joining the Mexican Army. The book, The Rogue’s March: John Riley and the St. Patrick’s Battalion, 1846-48, details the history of the “St. Patrick’s Battalion” of the Mexican Army in 1847-48. While life in the Army improved overall by the Southern Rebellion, the rebels still treated the Irish on their side poorly.

    Not just the Irish

    As the Irish community in New Orleans grew from downtown, along the riverfront to further uptown, German immigrants settled in the same area. What we call the “Irish Channel” was home to a large German community. These Germans were mostly Rheinlanders and Bavarians, who were Catholic, like the Irish. They formed the core of the “Redemptorist” parish, worshipping at St. Mary’s Assumption Church on Constance and Josephine Streets. So, by the time of the Southern Rebellion, both the Irish and German communities were more supportive of the Union than the Confederacy.

    Defending the City

    So, these immigrants lost their jobs with the closure of the Port of New Orleans in 1861. To provide their families, they joined the rebel army. While many were sent off to fight in Tennessee and Virginia, others stayed behind, to defend Forts Jackson and St. Phillip, down the river from the city. At the time of Farragut’s capture of New Orleans in April, 1862, Fort Jackson’s defenders included three battalions: one Irish, one German, and one made up largely of men from the white planter class. It should come as no surprise that two of those three units mutinied and walked out of the fort, making it easier for Farragut to come up the river and Butler to bring his occupying army behind the ships. For more reading on this, check out Mutiny at Fort Jackson: The Untold Story of the Fall of New Orleans, by Michael D. Pierson.

    Reading on the Irish.

    If this topic interests you, you definitely want to get Dr. Laura Kelly’s book, The Irish In New Orleans.

    • 47 min

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