Today in New Orleans History

April 22

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D. H. Holmes April Sale
April 22, 1955

In anticipation of summer days ahead, D.H. Holmes department store offered children's items on sale in their fourth-floor Toyland on April 22, 1955. These included a "Stan-Guard Car Seat" for $3.98, which featured a detachable lock to allow for the seat to drop..."and baby can stand, protected by the guard rail, even during short stops and starts".  The baby seat was affixed to the automobile seat by only a pair of overlapping hooks.  This "car seat", which also included a stearing wheel, would not pass muster by today's safety standards but it was likely safer than the suddenly swinging arm of a mother across the chest of an unwitting child seating beside her on the front seat in the event of a sudden stop. More affluent parents might have opted for the combination car bed and car seat offered for $6.98.
A light-weight baby stroller could be had for $7.89 which included a "pocket type shopping bag for mom".  Apparently, dads didn't know how to shop back in the day.
For $15.88 a parent (presumably a mother) could pick up a canvas lined pool constructed with an enameled steel frame.  A Water Wiggle and a Slip 'N Slide would have been great additions for complete backyard fun, but they had not yet been invented. 
The top-featured item of the day was a swing set, manufactured by Gym-Dandy, which included a sky-skooter, a carousel, a swing with gym rings, a shower, and a basketball goal -- all for $32.88.  Inventive kids could have put a sheet of plastic under the shower and slid to their hearts' content.

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Much criticized for its negative environmental effects, such as saltwater intrusion, wetlands erosion and storm surge amplification during Hurricane Katrina, the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) was closed in 2009.  Maritime traffic was barred on April 22, 2009.

The 2006 mayoral race was one of the most expensive in New Orleans history. At the time of this election, at least two-thirds of its residents were still displaced. One candidate said in his Times Picayune interview he was running because the city's demographics had dramatically changed. There were three unsuccessful lawsuits filed to prevent delaying the original election date. The state first performed a voter purge and then set up a complicated voting process that required most displaced voters to travel back home. In addition, elaborate absentee voting procedures were required to included multiple mailings, notarizing documents and extensive verifications. An April 1 protest march in the city called for satellite voting to give displaced voters the same rights as those who had returned. In the April 22, 2006 election, Nagin was the front runner with 38% of the vote. Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu came in second with 29%. Nagin and Landrieu faced each other in a run-off election on May 20, 2006. Nagin defeated Landrieu 52% to 48%.

From April 22 to 26, 1970, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival was held at Beauregard Square (now Armstrong Park) and the Municipal Auditorium.  Music was performed noon to midnight.  Duke Ellington, Mahalia Jackson, Pete Fountain, Al Hirt, the Preservation Hall Band, and "Hundreds of Others" were scheduled, according to advertising posters.  The festival was produced by George Wein.  Tickets were available at Werlein's, 605 Canal Street.

On April 22 1968 Metairie Country Clut hosted the New Orlean Golf Association tournament.  Milton Wise served as chairman of the event.

The Works Progress Administration (WPA) was established by executive order of Franklin Delano Roosevelt on May 6, 1935. It replaced the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) as the federal government agency responsible for combatting the ill effects of the Great Depression. The WPA was work relief program and it was instrumental in providing jobs for many individuals who had become unemployed during the nation's economic downturn.  WPA projects in the Crescent City ranged from street paving and bridge building to bookbinding and adult education. A considerable amount of the agency's varied activities in New Orleans and throughout the state was documented by WPA photographers. In 1937 the agency placed a plaque on several bridges which read "This is one of the several new bridges in City Park extension which afords motorists a drive around the entire park". See NOPL photo of the bridge taken on April 22, 1937.

R. S. Soule, architect for beach under construction near the natatorium (swimming pool) at Audubon Park announced on April 22, 1937 that the project should be open to the public by the middle of June.  Located near the uptown edge of the pool, it would be connected to an overpass for spectators use and a tunnel containing showers to rinse sand from swimmers heading to the pool.  Lakeshore sand, 2 feet deep would be used to create the 16,000 square/200 x 80 foot beach.  Plans included the addition of brightly colored umbrellas, tables, and a refreshment stand financed 30% from the Audubon Park Commission and 70% from the Works Progress Administration.  Moise Goldstein, chairman of the grounds committee drew up the general design.

On April 22, 1861, free Negroes of the City met and then tendered their services to the Confederate Government to defend Louisiana.

Marie Eugène Berjot, physician, writer, painter.  Born in Valence, France, April 22, 1816; son of Vincent Berjot and Jeanne Bray.  Claimed to be the godson of the Marquis de Lafayette.  Probably educated at the University of Paris Faculty of Medicine.  Probably served as medical officer in French Army in Algeria.  Married, two children who did not survive him.  First visit to United States:  1838.  First recorded presence in New Orleans:  1869.  First wife died; second marriage, July 28, 1884, to Fannie Reinack (1846-1927), French-born daughter of Valentin de Reinack and Babetha Daniel.  No children.  Practicing physician; published treatise on mesmerism, Manuel historique, élémentaire et pratique de magnétisme animal … (1858).  Author of thirteen short stories ("Histoire d'une vieille femme," "Episode de la Révolution de 1830," "Un Voyage à la Nouvelle Orléans," etc.) and one poem in French, published mainly at his own expense.  First prize for best historical painting in the United States at the Fifth Grand State Fair of Louisiana, December 2, 1871.  Died, New Orleans, November 26, 1898; interred Metairie Cemetery.  B.S.O.  Sources:  Naturalization petition; New Orleans city directories; marriage license; marriage certificate; New Orleans Daily Picayune, December 3, 1871; obituary, November 28, 1898; will; epitaph.  From


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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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