Today in New Orleans History

April 18

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Kaufman's Department Store
April 18, 1929
The Kaufman family has a long history in the New Orleans retail sales industry. Simon Kaufman teamed with Simon J. Shwartz (later founder of  Maison Blanche Department Store)  to form Shwartz and Kaufman Company.  Around the beginning of the Civil War, Simon's brother Charles began working for the store.  The two brothers opened a  new store, in 1877, on Poydras Street.
In 1879, Marks Isaacs opened one of the first departments stores in New Orleans. Charles A. Kaufman joined in a partnership which became Kaufman and Isaac's on Dryades Street.  On November 5, 1889, Kaufman established a shoe department in the store which was innovative with the inclusion of women fitters and sales people -- it became the largest shoe department in the South.  By 1901, Isaacs left the partnership to open his own store on Canal Street.   The Dryades Street store became Charles Kaufman and Co. and became known as the "Big Department Store on Dryades".
Charles A. Kaufman, an imposing figure standing over six-feet tall, died, at the age of 72 on October 8, 1917, leaving six children from two marriages. His funeral services were conducted from his home at 1707 St. Charles Avenue (three blocks from his store) and he was buried in Gentilly Cemetery.  He had been a quietly generous supporter of the Red Cross and other social service agencies, having served as a director of the Jewish Widows and Orphans Home, Touro Infirmary. and the Young Men's Hebrew Association.  He served on the New Orleans New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board under Mayor Martin Behrman.  A member of Sinai Temple, he had come to New Orleans with his parents from Landau, Germany at the age of two.  Kaufman was also a director of Commercial Trust and Savings Bank and  the Stern Foundary and Machinery Company (one of his daughter's had married Nathan Stern) and was a Mason.  His Times-Picayune obituary counted him among those who had "built up great businesses from comparatively modest beginning".  
Shortly before his death, he instructed his son to lower prices on low-end merchandise so that it would be affordable to his low-income shoppers.  This April 18, 1929 Times-Picayune advertisement proves that the Kaufman heirs honored their father's wish with the slogan "Where Your Dollars Do Double Duty".  By the mid 1960s, Kaufman stores had sprouted up at 2135 St. Claude Avenue, 800 Metairie Road, 4774 Paris Avenue, 2724 Jefferson Highway, and 723 Harrison Avenue.  But the flagship store at 1712 Dryades had been sold and closed in 1961 after 84 years in business. 
In 1963 LaRay Inc. First Enterprise, with Wayne Mack as a director, signed a lease on the Dryades Street building and planned to open a bowling alley and recreational center for "Negro Families" (the corporation also planned a a similar bowling alley in the 9000 block of  Chef Menteur Highway).  By 1967, the original Kaufman's location was used as a Goodwill center/store.  Today it is the Ashe Cultural Center at 1712 Oretha C Haley Boulevard.

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The Canal Street streetcar line traces its origins to the old New Orleans City Rail Road Co., founded to provide horse-drawn streetcar service throughout the city. This system's first lines opened in June 1861, running on Esplanade, Magazine, Prytania, and Canal Streets. The original car barn for the Canal Line, which served it until the end in 1964, was established at White Street. The line ran on its namesake street from St. Charles Street to the car barn; it was extended in August all the way to the end of the street at the Cemeteries. The City RR came under the control of the New Orleans Traction Co. in 1892 as the system was prepared for electrification. A large order for new electric streetcars was placed with the Brill Co. of Philadelphia. The Canal Line was the first New Orleans Traction line to be electrified, beginning electric service on July 28, 1894. It was followed very quickly by Esplanade and the rest of the company's horsecar lines. The line was extended slightly in the central business district to terminate at the foot of Canal Street. In 1901, the streetcar company slightly extended the Canal and Esplanade Lines so that their outer ends met at City Park Ave., and connected them together in a Belt Line. Canal cars left the central business district on Canal Street, operated to City Park Ave., turned down that street to Esplanade Ave., and returned on Esplanade to Rampart and thus back to Canal Street. Cars marked Esplanade left the central business district via Rampart Street down to Esplanade, then operated out Esplanade to City Park Ave. to Canal, and returned on Canal Street. This Belt Line arrangement lasted until December 27, 1934, when Esplanade Ave. was converted to buses, and Canal resumed running only on Canal Street, end-to-end.  From 1934 to 1950, there were two lines running on Canal Street. Cars marked West End operated from the foot of Canal to the outer end of the street at the cemeteries, then turned left onto City Park Ave. (Metairie Road) to the New Basin Canal, and then out the east bank of that canal to the West End amusement area at Lake Pontchartrain. Cars marked Cemeteries followed the same route, but turned back at the cemeteries immediately after turning off of Metairie Road. West End made only limited stops along Canal Street from Claiborne Ave. to City Park Ave. The West End line was converted to buses in 1950, after which the surviving Cemeteries cars were once again signed Canal. In 1951, the outer terminus of the Canal Line was moved to the end of Canal Street, and tracks on City Park Ave. (Metairie Road) were removed.  In 1964, the streetcar company (known since 1922 as New Orleans Public Service Incorporated, or NOPSI) proposed to convert the Canal Line to buses. The line was to be combined with the West End and Canal Blvd. bus lines, so that patrons could have a one-seat ride all the way from the central business district to Lake Ponchartrain. There was tremendous controversy over the proposal, but it was carried, and the Canal Streetcar was discontinued, over the protests of preservationists. The last day was May 30, 1964, with the final run (NOPSI car 972, carrying banners which read "See Me On St. Charles") leaving Canal Line tracks at about 5:00 a.m. May 31. All the streetcars, except for 35 reserved for the St. Charles Line, were scrapped or donated to museums across the country, and all track and overhead wire was removed. By the 1990s, interest in streetcars was rekindled, not only in New Orleans, but in many cities around the country. Plans for the restoration of the Canal Line were announced in 2000, and tracks were rebuilt from the foot of Canal Street out to the cemeteries. There was even a branch line created on N. Carrollton Ave., which had never before had streetcar service. Finally, the Canal streetcar line reopened April 18, 2004, almost 40 years after its close.

The name "Pelicans" previously had been used by a minor-league baseball team that played in New Orleans from 1901 to 1957. The Hornets organization officially confirmed the name change in a press meeting held on January 24, 2013, where officials unveiled the team's new logos and blue-gold-red color scheme. On April 18, 2013, after the end of the team's 2012–2013 season, the team's name was officially changed to the Pelicans.

A Beech Air King aircraft, Model 200, crashed into Lake Pontchartrain on April 18, 1977.  The owner of the aircraft was Tidewater Marine Service.  Five persons were killed in the crash, including Gerald Sievers, who was employed by Tidewater as one of the two pilots for the aircraft.  The aircraft departed New Orleans International Airport at about 9:35 p. m.  The flight progressed normally until the time it was positioned by radar for its landing approach. Following the radio acknowledgment from the aircraft of routine traffic advisories, the radar controller noted that the aircraft began to lose altitude and to deviate from its assigned course. The controller attempted to warn the aircraft of its loss of altitude several times, however, the controller received no response from the aircraft. Shortly thereafter, the aircraft disappeared from the controller's radar scope, and the Coast Guard and Parish Sheriff's Office were notified that the aircraft had probably crashed in the western area of Lake Pontchartrain.  From

On April 28, 1862, Admiral David Farragut's troops took possesion of New Orleans for the Union.

Angus Lind's First Column Published In'na Paypa

April 18, 1977


Born in New Orleans on October 8, 1944, Angus Miller Lind's byline first appeared in The Greenie -- the student newspaper of his school, Isidore Newman.  He then wrote for the Tulane Hullaballoo.  His first professional job in journalism was as a sports writer for the Meridian Star (Meridian, Mississippi) where he became the sports editor who covered the Southeastern Conference and the college careers of Archie Manning and Pete Maravich. 

In December of 1970 he moved back home for good and began working as a general assignment reporter for the States-Item (the after-noon paper) where he covered (among other top stories) the plane crash of U.S. Representative Hale Boggs in Alaska, the Downtown Howard Johnson sniper incident, the Rault Center and the Upstairs Lounge fires, and the construction of the Superdome and unique stories such as alleged vampire and UFO sightings, and the nationally popular streaking phenomena at Tulane.  Regarding his time at the Item, he said, "We worked hard, getting in at the crack of dawn, making three different deadlines, and then we partied -- almost every day. We all seemed to have the attitude that in New Orleans, if you die of old age, it's your fault."

His first column was published on April 18, 1977, titled "What's a Yat?", and is generally acknowledged as the first printed account of the expression "Where y'at?".  When the States-Item merged with the Times-Picayune in 1980, Lind stayed onboard and included in his columns real New Orleans characters, such as "Black Cat" Lacombe, "Leapin' Lou" Messina, Buddy Diliberto (and the "torn lee knigaments" of Saints quarterback Dave Wilson), Abdul D. Tentmakur, Morgus the Magnificent (Sid Noel) and horse racing afficandos Hard Times Vince, Cream Cheese Louie, Rooster and The Mullet. His original creations included Deep Float (distant cousin of Watergate informant Deep Throat) who infiltrated Carnival dens, stole mystic secrets and parade themes, and leaked them as well as Karnak the Magnificent, who was the keeper of mystic secrets about Tulane and LSU football. 

On May 31, 2009, he announced his retirement in his final column titled "Thirty-nine years and 6,000 columns after he started, Angus Lind holsters his golden quill and rides away".  He recalled that during his long and much loved career, "I met a lot of interesting and colorful and quirky people, and I learned that they almost all have a story, whether they know it or not."  After retiring, Lind authored Prime Angus: Readers' Favorite Columns Reprinted From the Pages of The Times-Picayune.  He continues to live in and love New Orleans.

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Abreviations used on this site: NOPL (New Orleans Public Library), LOC (Library of Congress), LDL (Lousiana Digital Library), HNOC (Historic New Orleans Collection), WIKI (Wikipedia).

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