Today in New Orleans History

April 21

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Reverse Freedom Rides
April 21, 1962

According to the Amistad Research Center, The Reverse Freedom Rides of 1962 were a deliberate parody of the Freedom Rides organized by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) in the previous year. Also called the Freedom Rides North, African American "participants" in the Reverse Freedom Rides were offered free one-way transportation and the promise of free housing and guaranteed employment to Northern cities. George Singelmann of the Greater New Orleans Citizens' Council orchestrated the Reverse Freedom Rides, which served as the Citizens' Councils' means of testing the sincerity of Northern liberals' quest for equality for African Americans. This attempt to embarrass Northern critics of the Citizens' Councils was a way of, in Singelmann's words, "telling the North to put up or shut up." Public outcry against the Reverse Freedom Rides was swift and direct, with groups such as the Urban League of Greater New Orleans leading the chorus of disapproval. WDSU Radio released a statement in April 1962,that typifies the response: "WDSU believes the Freedom Bus North movement is sick sensationalism bordering on moronic." Although the Reverse Freedom Rides began in New Orleans, many also originated from other Southern cities, most notably Little Rock, Arkansas. The first group sent by the Citizens' Council arrived in New York by bus on April 21, 1962, and consisted of one large family from Algiers, Louisiana. Numbers for subsequent "freedom rides" to the Northeast and some Western cities were overstated by the segregationist leaders. 
WIKI states, Reverse freedom rides were attempts in 1962 by Southern segregationists to send African Americans from cities such as New Orleans to New York City, Chicago, and Cleveland by bus.They were given free bus tickets, and were told that there were high paying jobs waiting for them. They were given promissory notes that were worthless when they arrived. Some of those arriving were able to find work.  For example, in 1962 Louis and Dorothy Boyd were sent from New Orleans to New York City. They arrived at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City after a forty-three hour ride with their eight children. There was no job waiting for them, and the check they were given was valueless. Boyd was hired by Harvey Jerome Brudner.
In the photo, Louis Boyd, 41, wife, Dorothy, 38, and their eight children stand on the steps of Concord Baptist Church of Christ with pastor Rev. Dr. Gardner C. Taylor, right, in Brooklyn after attending Easter Services, April 22, 1962. The Boyds arrived on April 21 from New Orleans. (AP text and photo).

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Maison Blanche offered tires for sale at only $14.95 when this April 21, 1968 advertisement (on the left) was run in the Times-Picayune.  MB Drive-In Tire Centers where then located on Rampart Street at Conti, 1926 Airline Highway, Franklin Street at the West Bank Expressway, and at Gentilly Plaza Shopping Center.

April 21, 1968 advertisement for the grand opening sale at Lakeside Chrysler (right) located at 2801 Causeway Boulevard at Veterans Highway in Metairie offering a brand new Chrysler Newport Sport Hardtop with factory air-conditioning, power steering and brakes, seat belts in front and rear (before their use was mandatory), tinted glass white wall tires, vinyl interior with bucket seats, vinyl roof, radio, and undercoating.

An air-conditioning option was available for older cars, back in 1968, via a Climatic Air Auto Air Conditioner (left) -- complete with "immediate installing and bank financing for a hefty $199.50 from Industrial Auto at 6017 Chef Highway,


Dallas based Big Scoop "Old Fashioned" ice cream stores were advertised as franchises in 1968 -- enticing buyers with the prospect of earning up to $26,000 per year. 

Albert Baldwin, businessman, civic leader. Born, Watertown, Mass., April 7, 1834; son of Jacob Baldwin and Martha Payson Bruce. Married (1) Rhoda Griffin, 1855; she and infant son died of yellow fever in New Orleans, 1858. Married (2) Arthémise Bouligny (b. 1846), great-granddaughter of Francisco Bouligny (q.v.). Children who reached maturity: Henry Fay (b. 1864), married Sarah Vairin; Albert, Jr. (q.v.), married Helen Hardie; David Gilmore (b. 1868), married Mathilde Seixas; Alice (b. 1871), married Nugent Beverly Vairin; Gustave Bouligny (b. 1877), married Lillian Legendre; Arthemise Bouligny (b. 1878), married Maj. Gen. William Ottman. Removed to New Orleans as a young man in 1858 and entered business. Founder and president of A. Baldwin & Co. Hardware. President, New Orleans National Bank; vice-president, Times-Democrat Publishing Co.; director: Union Ferry Company, American Brewing Company, National Rice Milling Company, Gullet Gin Company, New Orleans Waterworks Company, New Orleans Street R. R. Company, Sun Life Insurance Company, and Standard Guard Chemical Manufacturing Company, among others. Member: Boston Club; an organizer of the Rex organization and the fourth Rex; a founder and commodore of the Southern Yacht Club. Actively supported Sophie Wright (q.v.) in her educational endeavors. Died at Baldwin Lodge, north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, April 21, 1912. G.D. Sources: Family papers and newspaper obituaries. From

Fifty Cars Ordered for Prytania Streecar Line
April 21, 1910

The New Orleans City Railroad Company was chartered on June 15, 1860. By 1861, twenty-six miles of horse railroad track had been laid. Service began on the Camp and Prytania Line on June 8, 1861. Streets of the original route included Canal, Camp, Prytania, Toledano, Poeyfarre, and Magazine. The Prytania Streetcar began operation on as a mule-drawn car line. It was called the "Silk Stocking" line because its route included the streets of the tony Garden District.   Various route changes and consolidations took place over the years.  Railway companys experimented with several potential substitutes for horsecars. The ammonia motor was tried on several lines, including the Prytania, but was considered to be impractical. By the 1890s all lines were electrified -- the Prytania Streetcar Line on September 15, 1894. Uptown residents could easily ride to Canal Street in the speedy and comfortable streetcars until October 1, 1932 when the line was discontinued.



The Prytania Streetcar Line was serviced almost exclusively by the "Prytanias," a luxurious class of electric cars just as distinctive as the elegant "Garden District" neighborhood. Fifty cars were ordered on April 21, 1910 from the St. Louis Car Company.  The exteriors were painted yellow and orange and their numbers ran from 355 to 404.  Mahogany interiors surrounded patrons seated in St. Louis rattan seats. They looked out of Robertson windows that slid conveniently into side panels when open. The "Prytania" cars were designed for double-end operation and the prepayment of fares, the first of its type in New Orleans. 

The 800 model cars replaced the Prytanias on September 16, 1923.  The Prytanias were then shifted to lighter traffic routes.  A public's changing preference for private transportation made streetcar operation unprofitable.  According to a New Orleans Public Service Inc. newspaper announcement, the Prytania Streetcar Line discontinued operations on October 1, 1932 and the Nashville Bus Line began service over a part of the territory formerly served by the line. Prytania Street, itself, was not included.  Remaining Prytanias were scrapped that same year.  The Prytania streetcar barn was located on Prytania Street between Robert, Pitt, and Upperline.  After the city acquired the property, a 1936 ordinance dedicated it for "public purposes".  The location is now a shopping center, fronting Prytania, with a CVC pharmacy (4901 Prytania) as its anchor.  Main Source:

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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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