Today in New Orleans History

April 6

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Frog Canned -- Duck Deemed Fit
April 6, 1914
TodayInNewOrleansHistory/1894PicayuneFrogPolka.jpgTodayInNewOrleansHistory/1914April6DailyPicayuneTimesDemocratDuck.jpgIn 1914, the Daily Picayune and the Times-Democrat newspapers merged and published both banners across the tops of pages.  Ashton Phelps took the reigns as president of what would become The Times-Picayune.
The Times-Democrat's duck mascot (left), by political cartoonist W. K. Patrick appeared on the front page on April 6, 1914, taking the place of the Picayune's frog mascot, which first appeared twenty years earlier, on January 13, 1894, in the Daily Picayune after owner Eliza Jane Poitevent Holbrook Nicholson commissioned staff cartoonist Louis A. Winterhalder to illustrate the Weather Prophet.  The frog was so popular that Alphonse Barra composed the "Picayune Frog Polka," which was published by Philip Werlein in 1894. A view of the sheet music cover, which was illustrated in a chromolithograph by M. F. Dunn & Bros. of New Orleans, appears on the right.
TodayInNewOrleansHistory/PicayuneFrogSpoon.jpgDuring the 1900s Profit the frog appeared as the ringmaster of the Frog Circus on the  children’s page; Frog Circus illustrations were later bound into a book for children.  The frog's image was also inlaid on spoons, which were hot selling items back in the day -- the photo below is from the Times-Picayune.
The frog first failed to appear on December 27, 1914, eight months after two papers merged.  Patrick's character, known only as "the duck" spewed witticisms and comments regarding happenings of the day -- always appearing near his signature.  The duck's popularity inspired toymaker John Whiting to create a mechanical version, sold in the store he owned with Julian F. Benjamin known as Kitty Corner Toy Works at Toulouse and Bourbon street. 
Patrick left the newspaper in 1919 to take a position at the Fort Worth Star Telegraph -- and he took his duck with him.  Patrick drew for the Fort Worth paper until his death in 1936. The Picayune's frog was revived after Patrick's departure from New Orleans.    
As often happens in the lives of middle-aged employees, the 58 year-old frog was replaced by 11 year-old upstart Pogo the Possum, Walt Kelly’s syndicated comic strip character. in 1952.  New Orleanians expressed their outrage that this out-a-towner was allowed to usurp our homegrown mascot.  The paper responded with a week-long contest which pitted Pogo against the frog.  Both appeared side-by-side for seven days while readers decided which one they favored.  The April 8, 1952 front page proclaimed "Frog Wins 'Weather Derby,' Despite Pogo's Late Rally."  The frog had received 5,170 votes.  Pogo trailed with 4,087 .
The poor old frog went missing again, at the age of 88, on March 29, 1982.  But in 1995 old drawings, predominantly by staff artist Louis Benedic Sr.,  were digitized, colorized, and reprinted.  Benedic had retired in 1976. 
On February 2011 the frog first appeared on-line at  Now over a century old, the frog still graces the pages of the Picayune.  He still looks great.

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The first baseball game in the Superdome was an exhibition between the Minnesota Twins and the Houston Astros on April 6, 1976. The American Association New Orleans Pelicans played at the Superdome during the 1977 season with an attendance of 217,957 at the dome.

On April 6, 1893, Andy Bowen and Jack Burke  fought 110 rounds to a draw in New Orleans in the longest prizefight in history. The fight lasted seven hours, 19 minutes.

CROSSMAN, Abial Daily, politician, mayor of New Orleans. Born, Greene, Me., November 3, 1803. Limited formal education; was taught by father to make and sell hats. Arrived New Orleans, 1829; opened hat shop at 24 Canal Street; succeeded in business; entered politics 1839; became successively alderman, state representative, mayor. A Whig, elected to the state legislature, 1844, about same time named to the general council when Mayor Joseph E. Montegut was elected, April 11, 1844. Thus Crossman became chairman of the Financial Committee of the debt-ridden Municipality Council. His fiscal conservatism won Crossman popularity. Elected mayor, April 6, 1846. Reelected to three two-year terms. Left office in the spring of 1854. During tenure a new city hall, now named James Gallier Hall for its architect, was designed in 1846 and constructed shortly thereafter; levees were built; local streets were paved with granite blocks for the first time; a new charter consolidated the city's former three municipalities. Never married. Died, New Orleans, June 13, 1859. Interred Cypress Cemetery. His remains were subsequently moved to the base of a monument in nearby Greenwood Cemetery. Crossman Public School named for subject in 1907.  From

On April 6, 1807, the Territorial legislature passed "An Act Concerning the Celebration of Marriages." Among the detailed previsions in this act was Section 27, which read "No marriage shall be celebrated by any person who shall not previously have obtained a license for that purpose from any parish judge within the territory." Further, this section stipulated that any "priest or minister of the gospel, regularly ordained or admitted into any religious society" could obtain a license, provided he had produced "his credentials of proofs of his ordination" to the judge of the parish court, had taken an oath of allegiance "to support the constitution of the United States," and presented a bond of $2000 "for the faithful performance of his trust." In New Orleans, the judge of the City Court was authorized to issue marriage licenses to the credentialed priests or ministers. An act "to alter and ammend" this act was passed on 3/17/1809, nullifying the required bond and stating that it was no longer necessary for a priest or minister to obtain a license in order to celebrate marriages.(NOPL)

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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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