Today in New Orleans History

April 26

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U. S. Naval Air Station Dedicated
April 26, 1958


 Royal Air Force photo of Alvin Callender, 1918

World War I flying ace Alvin Andrew Callender was born in New Orleans on the 4th of July, 1893, graduated from Tulane with a degree in architecture, and served on the Mexican border with the National Guard in 1916. He joined the Royal Flying Corps at Camp Baden, Canada in June 1917. He attended RFC training schools at Fort Worth, Texas and also in England, where he was at the Central Flying School. He was deployed to France and assigned to 32 Squadron, equipped with SE-5As. Shortly after his second victory he was shot down by an enemy fighter on 10 June, but survived unhurt. He was promoted to flight commander in early September 1918, however, on 30 October he was again shot down. He crashed within British lines and died near Ghislain, France, on October 30, 1918, of his injuries. He was awarded with eight aerial victories, his last being achieved on 24 September 1918.

On November 18, 1926, New Orleans' first municipal airport was dedicated on land near Belle Chasse, formerly owned by George A. Hero, which included the Hero Airport. The new airport field, about eight miles downriver from New Orleans was named for Alvin Callender.  It included a 60 x 130 foot hanger and it's proximity to the river allowed for seaplane landings.  It was located along the new Martin Behrman Highway, which was dedicated the same day.
After the World War II era Naval Air Station on the lakefront (now the University of New Orleans campus) closed in 1957,  the United States Naval Air Station in Belle Chasse, which includes the original Alvin Callender Field, was dedicated On April 26, 1958,

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Shushan Airport Milneburg Joys

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Photo of St. Roch Street at Marais looking toward Roman. Attached text: St. Roch was improved and resurfaced to provide for increased traffic. April 26, 1952. (NOPL)

The city police force was dismantled by Act 35 of 1877, which repealed all previous Metropolitan Police legislation and authorized the City of New Orleans, through the Mayor and Board of Administrators, to "establish, organize and maintain a police force which would be entirely under city control." City ordinance 3889 A.S. (April 26, 1877) reconstituted the local department under the control of the Mayor and an Administrator of Police.(NOPL)

New Orleans was in a state of turmoil on April 26, 1862. The Union fleet had reached the port one day earlier and Admiral David Farragut was demanding the city's surrender. Mayor Monroe urged his fellow citizens to keep the peace during negotiations with the Federal leaders. He surrendered the city four days later. (NOPL)

Andrés ALMONESTER Y ROXAS, colonial official, entrepreneur, philanthropist. Born, Mayrena, Spain, 1725. Widower before coming to Louisiana with Alejandro O'Reilly (q.v.), 1769; soon became alférez real (royal stan-dard-bearer for public ceremonies); alcalde (justice of the peace); member of the cabildo (governing body of the province); and from 1783, holder of the highly profitable post of escribano or notary public. As colonel, had am-bitions to become brigadier; never engaged in combat. His fortune grew rapidly through a series of slave pur-chases and sales, along with real estate transactions and profitable leases. Acquired at public auction in 1784 a "plantation known by the name of Metairie, land on [sic] this city [New Orleans] live stock and slaves" for 13,842 pesos. In effect, became owner of most of "Old Metairie", all the while possessing valuable property along both St. Peter and St. Anne streets, or half of perimeter of Place d'Armes (future Jackson Square) in heart of Vieux Carré. At age 60, married Louise de la Ronde whose own age local writers variably give as 16 or 29 years at the time; union allied Almonester to Pontalba, Marigny, De Lino de Chalmet[te], Cruzat, Broutin, and other notable Creole families. Couple had two children: Micaëla, future builder of Pontalba buildings on her father's Jackson Square property; and Andrea (d. 1799). Alleged to have profited by raising rent of tenants deprived of housing due to disastrous fire of 1788. Nevertheless, benefactions include: construction of Ursuline Nuns' chapel at Condé (Chartres) and Ursulines streets; erection of first St. Louis Cathedral and its presbytère intended as priests' residence but never used as such (now Louisiana State Museum); Royal Hospital of St. Charles and its oratory, which he endowed; and hospital for lepers. Dubbed Knight of Charles III, September 8, 1796; died suddenly April 26, 1798; interred first in churchyard, then under St. Louis Cathedral from which remains were removed during reconstruction, 1849-1850, but cere¬monious¬ly reinterred in a crypt of rebuilt cathedral, November 10, 1852. Memorialized by large marble tablet, incised with salient details of life, and imbedded in Cathedral side aisle floor. Almonester (spelled Almonaster) Avenue, New Orleans, named for subject. H.C.B. Sources: Leon-ard V. Huber, Jackson Square Through the Years (1982); Leonard Huber and Samuel Wilson, Jr., The Basilica on Jackson Square: The History of the St. Louis Cathedral … (1972); Henry C. Bezou, Metairie: A Tongue of Land to Pasture … (1973); Louisiana Historical Quarterly; numerous brochures, monographs, magazine and newspaper articles, as well as notarial, diocesan and Ursuline Convent archives, New Orleans.  From

AUDUBON, John James, artist, ornithologist. Born, Les Cayes, Saint-Domingue (now Haiti), April 26, 1785; illegiti-mate son of Jean Audubon and a Creole woman, Mademoiselle Rabin. Adopted legally by Jean and Anne (Moy-net) Audubon in 1794. Married Lucy Bakewell (q.v.), June 1808. Children: Victor, John W. Went with father to live in France, 1789; came to U. S. in 1803, settled on father's estate "Mill Grove" near Philadelphia. Began studying and drawing birds. Engaged in various business activities, none of which was successful. Filed for bankruptcy in 1819. Continued his wanderings and paintings of birds. Decided to attempt to publish a collection of paintings of American birds. Came to Louisiana in 1820. His wife became a governess and teacher, and Audubon taught music and drawing to her pupils in St. Francisville in 1825. His collection of paintings received favorable reception by European publishers, after having met with a cool reception by American publishers. In 1827 he was elected to the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He returned to America, 1831, with a reputation as the foremost American naturalist; elected fellow American Academy, 1830; settled on estate "Minnie's Land" (now Audubon Park), New York City, 1841. Author: Birds of America, 4 vols. (1827-1838); Ornithological Biogra-phy, 5 vols. (1831-1838); Synopsis of the Birds of North America (1839); Viviparous Quadrupeds of North Amer-ica (completed by his sons), colored plates published in two volumes, 1842-1845, text in three volumes, 1846-1854. Died, New York City, January 27, 1851. M.S.W. Sources: Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607-1896 (1967); World Book Encyclopedia (1973); Carolyn E. De Latte, Lucy Audubon: A Biography (1982); Alice Ford, John James Audubon (1964).  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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