The Levee and Barracks car, which may be taken just before the Customhouse, on Canal Street, will afford a fine view of the entire Lower Levee front the shipping in port as far as the rue d'Enghien, when the car curves around into the ancient Moreau (now Chartres) Street of the old Faubourg Marigny between Port and St. Ferdinand, the car passes a long row of fine old brick buildings, now, for the most part, alas! degenerated in the social scale to the rank of cheap lodging-houses and Italian fruit vendors' establishments. But this square was, in its day, the most aristocratic of the old Faubourg Marigny; each house was a mansion in itself, and the tall, brick buildings annexed in the long rows in the rear were quarters of the household slaves that served in the exclusive families of the Notts, Kennedys, Dolhondes and others, who were the owners of the soil. Receptions seeking to rival the palmiest days of the "Vieux Carre" were given in these homes. At the corner of St. Ferdinand and Chartres stand the old Kennedy and Nott mansions. Adjoining was a famous and exclusive "Creole Pension." It was here that General Joseph Wheeler, the "Fighting Joe of the Confederacy," and his beautiful wife stopped when they visited New Orleans in 1866, immediately after the war.
Just around the corner, in the ancient rue Casa Calvo, now a continuation of Royal Street, is another fine row of old houses, three stories in height; in one of these, 2712, Mme. Beauregard, mother of the famous Louisiana hero, lived when she was a young girl. One of the most beautiful old courtyards in New Orleans lies hidden from the street, in the rear of this ancient home.
At the corner of Chartres and Mazant streets, St. Mary's Orphan Boys Asylum, an immense brick pile erected nearly sixty years ago for the accommodation of the orphan boys of the city, stands. This institution is in charge of the Sisters Marianites of the Holy Cross. Since the first days of its erection it has seldom harbored less than 400 boys at a time, ranging in all ages from babyhood to. fifteen and over. Some of the best citizens of New Orleans have been reared in this asylum.
At Poland Street the car diverges to the station.
The Esplanade and French Market Line may be taken in front of the Customhouse, at the corner of Canal Street; at Villere Street a transfer is given to the Esplanade Avenue car.
At the intersection of Esplanade and the Levee the car turns' into the fine old avenue, the historic residence portion of the city in later Creole days. It is one of the most beautiful streets in New Orleans, and is to the Creoles what St. Charles Avenue is to the Americans the aristocratic residence street. The avenue, through its entire length, from the river to the Bayou St. John, is lined on either side of the car tracks with a continuous row of shade trees, which makes the street very pretty and attractive. The homes in the avenue are the center of Creole culture and refinement; fine old furnishings of the Louis Quatorze style adorn the interiors. Many romantic stories cluster about these homes, and it is here, if you are so fortunate as to have a friend who can gain you admittance to the exclusive society of the old French Quarter, that you will see Creole beauty and society at its best.
At 704 Esplanade Avenue, corner of Royal Street, is a fine old brick mansion; this is the home of Mr. R. M. O'Brien, brother of the late Colonel Patrick O'Brien, who recently left a legacy of $150,000 to the Catholic University of America, and erected, at a cost of $45,000, the beautiful new Church of the Sacred Heart, in Canal Street, New Orleans, and, besides, left numerous benefactions to charity; irrespective of creed.
The large, three-storied brick building at the corner of Esplanade Avenue and North Rampart Street, is St. Aloysius Commercial College. The building was erected by the Ursuline Nuns some twenty-five years ago at a cost of $75,000, and subsequently sold to the Brothers of the Sacred Heart for school purposes.
At the corner of St. Claude and Esplanade, just one square further on, is another beautiful and imposing brick structure, with an old Roman portico. This is the residence recently purchased by the Catholics of New Orleans for the Archbishops of the diocese. The hall, laid in marble mosaic, is an exact reproduction of the famous Pompeian Hall in Rome. The house was built by a Wealthy merchant some fifty years ago, at a cost of $175,000, and was the home of Captain Cuthbert Slocomb, of the famous Washington Artillery; who served nobly in the Civil War.
The handsome brick church on the lower side of Esplanade Avenue, between Marais and Villere, is
St. Anna's Episcopal Church.
It occupies the site of a frame church which was erected in 1869 at a cost of $10,000, by Dr. Mercer, in memory of his only child, Anna. This building was destroyed by fire in 1870. Through the insurance and subscriptions which he obtained from friends, Dr. Girault, who was then rector, began the erection of the present edifice, the cornerstone of which was laid in March, 1877. The church freed from debt, was consecrated in 1886. The total cost was $15,000. Dr. Girault died in 1889, and was succeeded by the present rector, Dr. E. W. Hunter. Dr. Hunter is a Prayer Book Churchman, and, while the services at St. Anna's are, by no means, ritualistic, the Church stands in the City as the representative of the High Church School of thought. The parish is one of the oldest in the diocese, having resulted from a mission begun in 1846. In this parish was begun the first organized effort to provide seamen with religious worship, it having been originally called St. Peter's Church for Seamen. Since 1890, many improvements have been made, among them the purchase of a handsome rectory in Esplanade Avenue and the erection of a Chapel, in memory of the Right Rev. John Nicholas Gallegher, S. T. D.
At 1631 Esplanade Avenue is the residence in which General P. G. T. Beauregard died. Within sight of the Esplanade Avenue car, as it reaches the corner of Johnson Street, is the "Home for the Aged and Infirm," conducted by the Little Sisters of the Poor. The building, a large, three-storied brick structure, stands within beautiful grounds at the corner of Laharpe and Johnson streets, within two squares of Esplanade. Nearly three hundred old men and women, all over sixty, and many reaching far into the nineties, are cared for here by this
gentle sisterhood. Everyone in New Orleans knows the "Little Sisters" as they go about, from day to day, in their great black capes and hoods, begging food and clothing for their helpless old charges. A visit to the institution is both interesting and instructive. The home is the old down-town counterpart of the great building on Prytania Street, in the up-town section of the city. At this latter institution 200 old men and women are the wards of these faithful nuns. Both of these magnificent "Homes for the Aged" were erected through the tireless efforts of the "Little Sisters."
The small triangle, containing a beautiful fountain in terra cotta, on the avenue, between Miro and Tonti Streets, is the Gayarre Place, so named for Louisiana's illustrious historian.
At 2410 Esplanade Avenue, in a square of ground exquisitely laid out with flowers and tropical palms is the home of Hon. Paul Capdevielle, the
Present Mayor of New Orleans.
This fine old mansion with its stately porticoes, broad galleries and spacious surroundings, is a fine type of the later Creole style of architecture. It was built in 1857 by Pierre Soule, United States Senator and American Ambassador to Spain. Mr. Soule occupied it from January to June of that year. Mr. Capdevielle. who subsequently purchased the place, has greatly beautified it. His home is. the center of the culture and hospitality that made old New Orleans distinctive among the cities .of the South and of the Union. The home is. easily recognized by the beautiful fountain playing in the avenue that leads up to the main entrance, and by the stately magnolia trees twined with ivy, which surround the garden on all sides. A little further on, between Crete and Bell Streets, is a beautiful little garden plot called Capdevielle Park, in honor of the Mayor.
The Greek Church of the Holy Trinity is on a street known both as Dolhonde and Dorgenois, within view of Esplanade Avenue. Services are not held regularly. The ornaments on the altar were presented by the late New press of Russia.
The Jockey Club is on Esplanade Avenue, near Bayou Bridge. It was a private residence and occupies a whole square of ground on the lower side of the street It is one of the most attractive spots in New Orleans. The house is of the French style of architecture and opens upon a beautiful terrace, in one of the wings is a bowling alley. The mansion stands in the midst of a garden. On gala occasions these gardens used to be illuminated with Chinese lanterns and electric lights, presenting a scene of enchanting beauty. Admission is by card from members.
In the rear, and a little to one side of the Jockey Club, are the Fair Grounds. These contain a race course, and grandstand capable of seating 8,000 people. Horse racing takes place here annually, there being a winter meeting of over 100 days, conducted by the Crescent City Jockey Club, followed by a spring meeting of six days under the auspices of the New Louisiana Jockey Club, in which the best horses and most famous jockeys participate.
The course was formerly called the Gentilly Race Course. During the season the cars run directly to the course, depositing passengers at the entrance. The racetrack is esteemed one of the best and fastest in the United States. As the name implies, the Fair Grounds were laid out and devoted for many years to the annual exposition of Louisiana industries in the form of a State Fair. For some years, however, the State Fairs have been discontinued. The reunion of United Confederate Veterans will be held at the Fair Grounds May 19, 1902. The acceptance of the invitation to come to New Orleans necessitated the immediate erection of an immense Auditorium, which will be located near the center of the grounds, just beyond the grand stand. It will cost from $12,000 to $15,000, and will have a seating capacity of about 15,000, while the spacious grounds and other buildings will afford ample room for entertainment.
Adjoining the Jockey Club Grounds is the new St. Louis Cemetery. Some of the tombs are very handsome.
On Bayou St. John, 300 yards from Esplanade, will be found the Soldier's Home, or Camp Nicholls, as it is sometimes called. It derives the latter affiliation from Ex-Governor F. T. Nicholls, under whose administration it was founded as a retreat for maimed and disabled Confederates. The place is noted for the beauty of its gardens.
Crossing Bayou Bridge, it may interest the tourist to know that he is in the immediate vicinity of the spot where Bienville effected his first landing on Louisiana soil, when he came across Lake Pontchartrain and down the Bayou in 1718. It is not possible to identify the exact spot now. Some curious old shipyards lie along the Bayou, one of which, at least, dates from Spanish days.
The Louisiana Boat Club and the Crescent Boat Club have quarters on the bank, and hold an annual regatta here.
During the year 1904, a Country Club House, to cost approximately 115,000, is to be erected by the St. John Land Company on Bayou St. John near the Esplanade Avenue Bridge.
The handsome oaks of Southern Park, a picnic resort, will be noticed along the route.
Bayou St. John,
named for Bienville's patron saint, is one of the most picturesque and historic spots in the city. It was on the banks of this bayou that Le Page du Pratz, the first Louisiana historian, built his pretty villa.. He came to New Orleans in 1718 to cast his fortune with the infant colony. It was on this Bayou that his life was miraculously saved by a beautiful Indian girl, who became devotedly attached to his service and who gave him the thread' of the wonderful traditions and songs of Louisiana that he has so beautifully woven into fact and fiction. As the colony grew, the most aristocratic families of the ancient colony had their summer villas on the Bayou St. John, and here and there, nestling amid the tropical palms and foliage, one still catches a glimpse of these olden villas, alas! falling into decay. The banks of the Bayou are fringed with palmettos and plantain trees, and the tall "Spanish Dagger," whose beautiful white blossoms, rising in pyramidal clusters, are the wonder and delight to touch.
In the early summer and into spring, The Bayou is very mysterious and is crowded with a dense growth as it merges into the lake. It was in these sylvan solitudes that the "Voudoos" used to hold their bacchanalian festivals on the night of St John's Eve.
The park was once a wooded plantation, and contains 216.60 acres, only a portion of which, however, has been improved. The grove of live oaks are the wonder and admiration of botanists and scientists. These live oaks are said to be the finest in the world. The trees are draped in the ghostly gray Spanish moss, to which allusion is so frequently made by Louisiana poets. The lake was formed artificially by enlarging Bayou Sauvage, which formerly ran through the park. Under one of the oak trees stands a tomb in saddest decay. It is the last resting place of Louis Allard, a man of letters and a poet, who owned all that tract of land extending from the Bayou St John to the Orleans Canal, and from the Metairie Road to the old toll-gate. The portion which is called the "Lower City Park," was sold by Allard, previous to his death, to John McDonogh, the millionaire miser-philanthropist, of old New Orleans. At his death, McDonogh left it by will to the cities of New Orleans and Baltimore; the City of New Orleans acquired it in full ownership at the partition sale, and decided to devote it to park purposes.
Allard, who was then very poor, was permitted, by special agreement, after the mortgage sale to continue to live at the place. He spent his declining days under his beloved oaks, dreaming of the past and reading his favorite authors. In compliance with his dying wish he was buried in this quiet spot under his favorite oak. The tomb is in full view coming from the Metairie Road. Glance obliquely to the left and the legendary oaks on the
Famous Dueling Oaks
of old New Orleans rise in solemn grandeur.
Their green boughs throw back the sunlight with all the brightness and elasticity of everlasting youth, and the whispering leaves tell of a time, scarcely "fifty years remote, when tragedy and gayety walked side by side in New Orleans, and it was an every day occurrence to see under those very branches a meeting of adversaries in mortal combat, with pistol, saber or shotgun, or '"colichemard."
A thousand stories are told of the bloody encounters which took place in the early morning under the "Oaks." There was no compromise with honor in those days; society did not permit it. With the advent of Napoleon's disbanded legions and noble "emigres" from France, there was a great renaissance in duels, and fencing masters were kept busy teaching the "jeuhesse dore"" in the ancient "Salle de St. Philippe." Among the most famous masters were Marcel Dauphin;. who was killed in a duel by another master, Bonneval, who was wounded by the professional swordsman, Reynard; L'Alouette, who killed Shubra, another professor; Thinieoourt, who killed the famous Italian fencing master. Poulaga, and Gilbert Rosiere, called by his pupils " 'Tit Rosiere," the most popular of all the fencing masters who ever came to New Orleans. But the most famous of all was Pepe Liula; of him the most wonderful stories were told, but the following will suffice:
It happened that New Orleans was all aflame with sympathy for the filibusters who had made an unsuccessful attempt to free Cuba from the control of Spain. Pepe was an ardent Spanish partisan, and issued a manifesto, challenging all the Cuban sympathizers. Many of thorn took up the glove. Pepe met them, and, making use of a thrust for which he was famous — driving his colichemard into the lung and giving it a vicious twist there — killed each of his antagonists. The result was that after a while the Cubans refused to meet him.
What a troop of ghostly stories come up under the "Oaks!" Every imaginable cause of quarrel was settled under these ancient trees. Some slight infringement of ballroom etiquette, a quarrel with a rival lover, a difference of opinion in politics, the last opera, the ability of the famous "falcon" to reach a certain note, legal points, scientific questions — all came to a direct issue under these "Oaks." It was at a famous ball at Mme. ————'s, in the Rue Royale, that a gallant cavalier approached a beautiful belle as she was promenading. The dance was given for charity's sake. The girl held a little book of "raffles" in her hand. "Allow me, mademoiselle, to take some chances," asked the cavalier. Before she could reply, her companion replied grimly: "The chances are all taken, sir." "I will meet you later," said the cavalier, under breath. They met in the morning with broadswords under the oaks. An hour later the gallant cavalier breathed his last, just on the spot where Louis Allard is buried. A celebrated European scientist, who was visiting New Orleans, laughed at the Mississippi River in the presence. of a Creole, saying that it was nothing; but a tiny rill compared to the great rivers of Europe. "Sir," answered the Creole, "I will never permit anyone to disparage the Mississippi River in my presence." The result was a duel under the oaks at sunrise, and the scientist received a severe wound in his cheek. Oh! there are legends enough and true stories, too, of those who fought and died in this spot, and of beautiful maidens rushing between the combatants just as the fatal lunge was given. There were the famous series of duels With broadswords in the year 1840, When the fencing masters themselves fought and killed one another, just to "show their art." And there was the famous duel on horseback between a French cavalry officer and a young Creole, when the Creole, by a peculiar half-circle stroke which be he had learned from his master, Pepe Liula, plunged his sword through the French officer's body.
All these, and a thousand others, are the stories inseparably connected with the "Oaks." The code was very strict. A gentleman could not fight anyone whom he could not ask to his house. Dueling is a thing of the long, dead past in New Orleans to-day. It does not matter much whether a man fights or not; men have other ways of showing themselves gentlemen. But "Killed on the Field of Honor" is a common enough legend in the old St Louis cemeteries
Leaving the ancient "Oaks" the tourist may see another very interesting section of "Old New Orleans" after it had spread beyond the Rampart Street limits, by taking the "Bayou Road" cars, near the Grande Route St.
This line passes through the old street that was the fashionable drive of New Orleans in early days. The beautiful trees and gardens all along the Rues Ursulines and Bayou Road show the interest which the ancient Creoles took in this "grand promenade."
On Bayou Road, between North Dorgenois and North Broad, is the beautiful little church of St. Rose de Lima. The congregation is exclusively French.
At the corner of North Tonti and Hospital Streets stands the Thomy Lafon Home for the Aged and Infirm of the colored race. The site is that of the old "St. Bernard's Home for Aged Colored Women," founded by the Sisterhood of the Holy Family, in 1842.
At the corner of St. Philip and Galvez Street, is St. Joseph's Convent, for the education of young ladies. The beautiful old grounds and quaint building are deserving of a visit. Within the grounds is a handsome facsimile of the famous Grotto of Lourdes. Thence the car passes through Ursulines and Burgundy Street, curious even in its decay, to Canal Street
A good view of this rear portion of New Orleans may also be had by taking the Broad Street car, some fine morning, in Canal Street, and riding through old Dauphine Street, now, alas! also in decay, to Dumaine, Broad, Laharpe and Gentilly Road. Quaint old Creole houses line the route, and occasionally one comes across an entire square in the rue Dumaine of almost primitive Spanish architecture. The people in this rear section of the city are all French-speaking, and, at times one comes across a family speaking nothing but the Spanish of colonial New Orleans.
At the corner of Dumaine and Dauphine Streets is the old French Convent of "Les Dames du Sacré Coeur," or the Ladies of the Sacred Heart. It is a French order, founded a little over a century ago in France by Mme. Barat, tor the education and religious training of the daughters of the French nobility. At the request of the "exclusive" old French Quarter, a branch of the order came and located in New Orleans. To have attended the school of Les Dames du Sacré Coeur" is considered "tout ce qu'il y a de parfait" among the ancient families. There is a magnificent old courtyard within the convent, and one is immediately impressed with the dignity, refinement and culture of the nuns. The handsome brick edifice in the rear of the Convent was erected some years ago by the Sisterhood at a cost of $20,000 as a free school for poor children.
The old French Church of St. Anne is in St. Philip Street, near N. Prieur, As in St. Rose de Lima, the congregation is exclusively French; indeed, one may go for squares and squares in this rear portion of New Orleans and hear nothing but French in all its original purity.
The "French Benevolent Association" has its asylum on St. Ann Street, between Derbigny and North Roman. Returning by Bayou Road to Broad Street, the car passes into the old French Street of "St. Pierre," or St. Peter famous as the street in which the opera, drama and comedy, had birth in New Orleans.
At the corner of this street and Dorgenois will be seen a beautiful old-fashioned building bearing the inscription, "Asile Thomy Lafon Pour Garcons Orphelins," or the Thomy Lafon Asylum for Orphan Boys. Mr. Lafon purchased and donated this building to the Sisters of the Holy Family as an orphanage for colored boys. The house is built with great brick columns and broad galleries, after the manner of the ancient plantation homes. It was formerly two-storied; but, after the purchase, Mr. Lafon added a third story, which consists of one immense dormitory, containing fifteen or eighteen windows and commanding a pleasant view of the entire grounds. One spacious apartment has been fitted up as a chapel, and within is a marble tablet to the memory of Mr. Lafon, the noted colored philanthropist of New Orleans. The Sisterhood found in him the type of a noble Catholic gentleman and true benefactor. Mr. Lafon continued his great benefactions, donating to the Sisterhood the money to erect and establish a "Home for Aged Colored Men," adjoining the ancient "St. Bernard's Home for Aged Colored Women" in Tonti and Hospital Streets. He put the latter home in perfect repair, renovating and enlarging it on the same plan as the home for old men.
The colored people of New Orleans owe much to Thomy Lafon. No man ever did as much for the elevation of the race. At his death he left thousands of dollars to charity, irrespective of race or creed. Conspicuous among his charities was a bequest of some $30,000 for the establishment of a home, under the auspices of the Sisters of the House of the Good Shepherd, for the reclaiming of fallen colored women.- The Picayune's Guide to New Orleans (1904)
Front, Lower Chartres and Esplanade.
Revised and Enlarged
Price, By Mail 30"
At Picayune Counter 25"
Picayune Job Print
The Picayune, New Orleans, La.
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