New Orleans in the Last Century ~~ 1910

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The New Year -- 1910
Illistration from the New Orleans Bee -- January 1

New Orleans in the Last Century – 1910 -- January


On January 1, 1910 the front page of the popular eighty-three year old French language Abeille de la Nouvelle-Orleans newspaper (known as The Bee) recapped highlights from the previous year when the Sewerage and Water Board's Purification Plant on Earhart Boulevard first brought clean clear water to most residents, The Parking Commission (which would become the Parkway and Park Commission) was formed, and the first lots in the Gentilly Terrace (“Where Homes are Built on Hills”) were being sold.


Plans for Public Bath No. l at 400 St. Mary Street were submitted to the City of New Orleans by Stone Brothers who had already designed the Baldwin, the Civic, and the  Greenwall Theatres, the Young Men's Hebrew Association’s Club Building and Auditorium, the Confederate Memorial Hall, the Jackson Apartments, the Teutonia Bank Building, and the Maison Blanche building. 


Ground was broken at the sight of the old post office and courthouse on Lafayette Square for a new three story building that would house the post office on the entire first floor, the Federal District Court and Court of Appeals on the second floor and the Executive Branch agencies on the third.  It was designed by James Gamble Rogers who would later design Newcomb Hall and Newcomb Art School on the H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College campus.  The building was renamed the John Minor Wisdom U.S. Court of Appeals Building in 1994.


The “World’s Greatest Refinery of Sugar” – fourteen stories high and costing $6,000,000 – first operated in Chalmette, employing 1000 men.  It was the largest cane sugar refinery in the United States capable of producing approximately 800,000 tons of refined sugar per year.


Joseph Bennett, at his camera shop on St. Charles Avenue introduced do-it-yourself photography to the city.  Gertrude Willis and her husband Clem founded an insurance company and funeral parlor.  Max Scheinuk opened a flower shop.  Arthur Boh started a small residential construction company which all New Orleanians now know as Boh Brothers.  Joseph Haspel and his brothers opened a clothing store which later introduced seersucker suits to the world.  The first Zulu parade rolled in the streets of the city.


The first "telegraphone", an instrument that (at that time) permitted use of telegraph lines for telephone purposes, had been installed by the Louisiana Railway & Navigation Company in Alexandria.  The Atlanta Constitution had reported on June 8, 1909 that the “First Car Ever Shipped Leaves for New Orleans Market”.  Joan Newton Cuneo broke speed records at the Mardi Gras auto races beating Ralph De Palma – later that year women were banned from racing by the American Automobile Association. Theatre pianist and composer Robert Hoffman copyrighted and published “I’m Alabama Bound” in New Orleans but Jelly Roll Morton claimed to have written it – reclaiming it by adding lyrics and renaming it “Don’t You Leave Me Here”.


The Philadelphia-New Orleans Ship Line made history when the steamship Luckenbach arrived from Philadelphia marking the first maritime commerce between the two cities.  A railroad connection first linked New Orleans to Houston in 1909.


It was from against this backdrop that New Orleanians stepped into 1910.


Frederick H. Elliot, Secretary of the American Automobile Association reported in the New York Times article, “National Benefits for Auto Owners” on January 2 that an estimated 200,000 cars would be produced in the United States that year and noted the “bustling activity everywhere apparent among makers of cars and accessories” which would likely increase by up to 50% over that of the previous year as well as “the increasing popularity of the motor vehicle”  The Annual Mardi Gras Speed Carnival, hosted by the New Orleans Automobile Club and scheduled for February 4 – 6, was listed among the “Calendar of Events in the Auto World”.


New York Times article “National Benefits for Auto Owners” by Frederick H. Elliot.  January 2, 1910


Elliot’s enthusiasm for the fledgling motor vehicle industry was exemplified by Mr. And Mrs Walter H. Hanson of Saratoga Springs who, on January 4th set out from New Orleans to the Pacific Coast.  This trip was so newsworthy that it was published by the Los Angeles Times in an article titled “TRAIL BLAZERS LEAVE FOR WEST. AUTOMOBILE PARTY WILL SEEK BEST DESERT ROUTE” where “Mud is the Only Obstacle Feared by Plucky Travelers”.

New Orleanians had many travel options on the first day of the new year for going near or far from home. The “Ozone Route” of the New Orleans Great Northern railroad offered $1 excursions to Covington, Claiborne, Abita Springs, Ozone Park, Mandeville, Oaklawn, Bon Fouca, and North Slidell. A longer trip could be taken on the Illinois Central's Central Mississippi Valley Route to McComb or Baton Rouge for $1.50. On the Texas Pacific one could travel to the lithium laden “healing waters” of the Mineral Wells, Texas. The Frisco line also went Texas as did the Southern Pacific (on the Sunset Express) which also traveled the rails to California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Mexico. The Queen & Crescent took New Orleanians to New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington, Cincinnati, Norfolk, St. Louis, and Birmingham. Pullman Cars on the L & N New York to New Orleans, LTD. offered a luxurious ride.


Advertisement from the January 1910 issue of Good Housekeeping magazine, and it featured a New Orleans to San Francisco train trip.  See

If travel was not affordable, a visit to a local theatre cost as little as ten cents. On New Year's Day of 1910 Blaney's Lyric Theatre presented A Deserted Bride”. At the Opera House, Hansel et Gretel was presented. The Tulane Theatre offered a production of The Merry Widow. The Shubert and Cresent Theaters are also listed. At the Orpheum one had many choices from Vaudeville to Kinodrome (an early version of 35 mm projected film).

Thirty-four lots were for sale on January 1st in the area bounded by Clara Street, South Street, Washington St, and. Willow Street made available due to the liquidation of the People's Brewing Company which had been located there. Companies which were still operating on this day, with advertisements in “The Bee” the Francis & Paul Maestri Furniture Co., the funeral services of James Bonnet, F. Laudemiey and Co. Ltd., and Emile Labat as well as the New St. Charles Hotel.

New St. Charles Hotel

New Orleanian Algerie Benton met Guatamalan President José María Reina Barrios when he visited the Crescent City.  They married.  The dictator Barrios was assassinated on February 10, 1898.  Widow José María Reina Barrios then fell on hard times.  She had been arrested in London and in New York for intoxication.  Mme. Barrios was admitted to the Touro-Shakespeare Almshouse in New Orleans on New Year's Day, 1910. She was penniless and almost blind.


The Touro-Shakespeare Almshouse was built with funds from the bequest of Juha P. Touro on what is now what is now Daneel Street between Joseph Street and Nashville Avenue.  Originally in the block bounded by Piety, Desire, N. Peters and Chartres Streets, the propery transferred to the city after the Civil War.  This building was demolished in 1932 when Touro Shakespeare moved to Algiers.

Photo Courtesy of the New Orleans Public Library

On January 3rd the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine snnounvrf that the preparation of for their 36th annual session of the Imperial Council which would be hosted in April by the Jerusalem Temple of New Orleans (whose Shrine Mosque designed by Emile Weil during the 1920s was not yet a city landmark) . The Shriners anticipated that a convention in New Orleans would insure that “Decorations and Illuminations will be unique”.

Documentary The Shriners' Pilgrimage to New Orleans (1910) ... Distributor (1910) (USA) by Selig Polyscope Company


On January 4th, the Tulane Theatre introduced to New Orleanians a production of "Salvation Nell" which was written in 1908 by Edward Sheldon. 

Nell Saunders was played by actress and playwright Mrs. Minnie Maddern Fiske who was born in New Orleans in 1865.  Her father, Thomas Davey,  was the manager of the St. Charles Theatre.  Her mother was Lizzie Maddern, also an actress who first performed as "Little Minnie Maddern" at the age of three.  Mrs. Fiske made her New York debut in 1870.

The January 5th edition of the Chicago Tribune included an advertisement featuring “THE ONLY SOLID THROUGH TRAIN. / Chicago to New Orleans. VIA BEAUTIFUL GULF COAST. THE "NEW ORLEANS… Write for free 70 page book about New Orleans”.  But a hard freeze on the 8th, during which a mother was discovered dead in bed by her son, may have deterred visitors from vacationing in the Crescent City.

Criminal Arms
Article in the January 5, 1910 edition of The Bee

Battle of New Orleans:
Celebrate Battle New Orleans.
 Atlanta Constitution Jan 9, 1910

"Real Daughters of 1812" Who Celebrate Battle of New Orleans Anniversa...
Jan 9, 1910
"Real Daughters of 1812" Who Celebrate Battle of New Orleans Anniversary...Mrs. Emily T. Satterlee a Famous Belle in Former Days ...


POISONED; ACCUSED WOMAN.; Letters Found After Jeweler's Death Say...

New York Times - Jan 11, 1910
Effie Sellsberry, supposed to be on a train nearing New Orleans, ... Telegrams were sent to the police of Memphis and New Orleans asking them to detain the ...

POISONED; ACCUSED WOMAN.; Letters Found After Jeweler's Death Say Stepdaughter Administered Drug.

January 11, 1910, Tuesday

TERRE HAUTE, Ind., Jan. 10 -- Effie Sellsberry, supposed to be on a train nearing New Orleans, is wanted by the police as a witness in connection with the mysterious death of W.H. Helman, a jeweler, who was found unconscious in a room at a hotel to-day and died soon afterward, evidently of poison.

Jan 12, 1910
Police Believe Terre Haute Jeweler Killed Himself and Entangled Former Sweatheart in Fit of


 Atlanta Constitution - Jan 12, 1910
Woman Is Being Held at New Orleans. Inspector of Police Says That He Is Convinced Effie Sellsberry and Harry Corcoran Are Innocent. ...POISONER.; Effie Selisberry and Companion Held in New Orleans for...
New York Times - Jan 12, 1910
NEW ORLEANS, Jan. 11.-When EffieSellsberry, wanted by the police oC Terre Haute, Ind., In connection with the death there of W. H. Helman from poison, ...
Hartford Courant  Jan 12, 1910
Arrest Selisberry Woman, But Believe Her Innocent.


Foreshadow -- Axeman from -- use much more in other months: 

After she killed Manfre, Mrs. Albano told authorities that she was previously married to a grocer by the name of Michele Pepitone.  On January 12, 1921, she went to Los Angeles to attend her niece’s wedding and met Albano there.  Albano had been married to Mrs.Pepitone’s sister, but she had since passed away.   Four months later he proposed and they were married on September 12th. However, an examination of the marriage licenses and certificates of marriage for Esther Pepitone and her niece reveal a different story.  The niece, Rose Albano, seventeen at the time of her wedding, married Frank R. Cusimano, 26, on September 7, 1921, not January 12th.  Esther Pepitone married Angelo Albano using the name Pasqua Pipitone on September 2, 1921 – less than a week before the niece’s wedding.

On December 26, 1910, in the final days of the Qing Dynasty for instance, the provisional national assembly decreed that all citizens should cut off the traditional long braid, or queue. On January 13, 1911, the New Orleans Times-Democrat reported that the Chinese population of New Orleans welcomed the decree because the braids were "burdensome as well as troublesome."

Exposition Exposition :
San Francisco Planned the Exposition in 1904; Documents Presented Clinch Her Rights to Show; Local Chamber of Commerce Hears Testimony...Los Angeles Times  Jan 17, 1910
It is believed that action is necessary to fore stall New Orleans, Is contem Dlating the of this State by getting up some sort of nn alleged to the opening ...

Chicago Tribune  Jan 18, 1910
Mislso Faurle, who Is plump and who admits she now; Is 87 years old, said she was the daughter of a New Orleans... who dled In 1890 Hiho came hero after her ...
Widow Emerges from Convent to Collect on Broken Heart. NUNS AIDED HER WOOING. Blond Broker Looked Like Man the Fortune Teller "Saw."

A Benefactor of the South

 Christian Science Monitor Jan 28, 1910
The original will and other letters written by the philanthropist, John McDonogh, who made the poor children of New Orleans and Baltimore his beneficiaries, ...

Sports -- Boxing:
Chicago Tribune  Jan 19, 1910
Bantam weights to Meet Again in New Orleans on Jan. 29

Jan 20, 1910
 1882, the following appeared in the New Orleans Times- Domocrat 


 Chicago Tribune Jan 30, 1910
Knocks Out Denning in Ninth Round at New Orleans. ... New Orleans, L.a., Jnn, 2D.-[Bpecla,1- Game to the core, Parl Denninw of ChicAgo lasted until the ...Knocks Out Denning in Ninth Round at New Orleans. LOSER SEVERELY PUNISHED. Johnny Floored in Second; No Damage Is Inflicted

Sports -- Baseball:
New Orleans 27, Birmingham 25.
Atlanta Constitution Jan 23, 1910

 Atlanta Constitution  Jan 23, 1910
National League President Publishes List of Releases

Cotton Down 37 Points In New Orleans


January 26, 1910

Pay-Per-View - Chicago Tribune - ProQuest Archiver - Jan 19, 1910
Bantam weights to Meet Again in New Orleans on Jan. 29

Sports -- Auto Racing:
Atlanta Constitution Jan 30, 1910
the atlanta constitution historic archives 1868 - 1939. For the world's champsionship auto races at the Mardi Gras carnival, February 5 and 6, the greatest ...

Cardinal Gibbons in New Orleans.
Atlanta Constitution Jan 30, 1910

J. Ragland Patchmore in Town; Asks About Old Friend "John"
 Chicago Tribune  Jan 30, 1910
Mr. Patchmrore len t coming to Chi- ango next spring fl om New Orleans. his usual ... "New Orleans, my boy, Is not In It. WO shall spend tMI our winters In ...

J.B. Solari 's Cosmopolitan Hotel at 121 Royal Street was luxurious --  four stories high with bay windows and a hand-carved curved staircase which spiralled from the floor to the skylight.  It's cafe was considered among the best in the city. Each room was steam heated and had a private bath.

On January 28, 1910 a man fell from a shoeshine stand there and was admitted to Charity Hospital.  He suffered a fractured nose and other injuries and then developed uremia.  Initially, no one knew his name.  No friends visited. 

He was Lewis G. Tewksbury, son of a wealthy Manchester, New Hampshire family who landed in New York as a weathy financier, he was a "gentleman",  and he was penniless.  But he had always lived the good life, often through shady buisness practices and outright theft which likely accounted for his stay in one of New Orleans' finest hotels.

When the money was good he owned a luxuirous home in New York City furnished with finery and expensive paintings.  He owned a stable of expensive horses valued at $100,000.  He owned the firm of Lewis G. Tewksbury at 32 Broadway.   In 1897 he lost it all to bankruptsy with a debt of over $1,000,000.  In 1900 he the suddenly disappeared from New York, headed to London where he was indepted for $25,000.  He was charged with the theft of $10,000 in bonds stolen from his wife.  In 1906 he was charged with 1st degree Grand Larceny.  He fled to Mexico.   And he lay near death in Charity Hospital at the end of the first month of 1910.

Solari Ltd.
January 9, 1910 -- The New Orleans Bee

Scribner's Magazine - January 1910. Midwinter Gardens of New Orleans - An Object Lesson And Its Argument by George W. Cable. 

President, mayor, governer, arhcbishop, etc.