Today in New Orleans History

August 23

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First African-American Woman to Win an Olympic Medal
Audrey ("Mickey") Patterson Dies
August 23, 1996


President Truman with African American Female Olympians (left to right) Emma Reed, Theresa Manuel, Audrey "Mickey" Patterson,
Nell Jackson, Alice Coachman and Mabel Walker

Born in New Orleans on September 27, 1926, Audrey ("Mickey") Patterson grew up in Gert Town, and attended Danneel Elementary School and Gilbert Academy (on St. Charles Avenue;now the location of De La Salle high) where Jesse Owens visited and told her class, “There is a boy or a girl in this audience who will go to the Olympics". She went on to Wiley College, then earned a scholarship to Tennessee State University,  and graduated from Southern University in Baton Rouge. 

Unbeaten as a prep and college competitor, she was a star in the 100- and 200-meter races and 400-meter relay and a national and international champion in the two individual events. She won the 200-meter race at the U.S. Olympic trials in 1948, making her one of nine black American female track athletes to compete at the London Games. She was 22 when she won her Olympic medal, covering the 200 meters in 25.2 seconds, the same time as Shirley Strickland of Australia. It took officials 45 minutes to decide that Miss Patterson would get the bronze medal; Strickland was placed fourth. Fanny Blankers-Koen of the Netherlands, considered the greatest female Olympian of her time, won the race, earning her third gold medal of the 1948 games. In receiving the bronze medal, Patterson is distinguished as the United States' first African-American woman to win an Olympic medal. A few days later Alice Coachman won a gold medal at the high jump. The London games were also the first time, the 200 meter distance race was included for women competitors.

In 1965, she founded Mickey's Missiles, a track club for girls 6 to 18. Boys joined the group several years later. It grew from three members its first year to more than 125 and produced Olympic sprinters Jackie Thompson, who competed in the 200-meter race in 1972, and Dennis Mitchell, who ran in the 100-meter dash in 1988, 1992 and 1996. She managed the U.S. women's track team that toured the Soviet Union and Germany in 1969 and coached the team that competed against a Russian squad in Texas in 1974. In 1982, she founded the Martin Luther King Freedom Run in San Diego.

Patterson was named the Woman Athlete of the Year by the Amateur Athletic Union in 1949. She served as First Vice President of the Amateur Athletic Union, Director of the Pacific Southwest Association and the YMCA, Governor of the Western District of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women, and a member of the Urban League, NAACP and 1984 Olympic Spirit Team. She received the San Diego Woman of the Year and Press Club Headliner awards. In 1978, she was inducted into the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame. Soon after, she was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame at the Superdome.

She married Ronald Tyler, and settled in San Diego. She was the mother of two sons, Herbert Hunter and Gerald Hunter, and two daughters, Cynthia Lowery and Andrea Nelson. Patterson died on August 23, 1996 in National City, California.  (Wiki)

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The grass-roots organization, founded by Sandy Rosenthal and her son Stanford (while exiled in Lafayette after Hurricane Katrina) is devoted to educating America on the facts associated with the 2005 catastrophic flooding of the New Orleans region. On August 23, 2010 the group installed a Louisiana State Historic Marker which reads “On August 29, 2005, a federal floodwall atop a levee on the 17th Street Canal, the largest and most important drainage canal for the city, gave way here causing flooding that killed hundreds. This breach was one of 50 ruptures in the Federal Flood Protection System on that day. In 2008, the US District Court placed responsibility for this floodwall's collapse squarely on the US Army Corps of Engineers; however, the agency is protected from financial liability in the Flood Control Act of 1928”. llm

Tropical Depression Twelve of 2005 formed into a hurricane category 1 over the Bahamas at 5:00 p.m. EDT (2100 UTC) on August 23, 2005, partially from the remains of Tropical Depression Ten, which had dissipated due to the effects of a nearby upper tropospheric trough. It would become Hurricane Katrina.

On August 23, 1983, the United States Justice Department mandated that American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) give up use of the name "Bell" after 107 years in service via 22 local operating companies.  For the first time in American history consumers were privy to choosing their local and long distance telecommunications providers.  Hundreds of  independent new companies were formed.  Lots of confusing choices and  billing procedures ensued but this era marked the introduction of cordless phones, beepers, and telephone/computer applications.

  August 23, 1983 advertisement for Tele-Computer Service Co., Inc.

On August 23, 1983, the New Orleans Steamboat Company was reported to have broken an agreement with the Mystic Krewe of Tragoidia for a charter of the Steamboat President.  The krewe had planned an August 28 "Speakeasy Night" party and the steamboat company had accepted a $300 deposit.  An employee of the company had phoned a representative of the krewe to inform the group that, on a prior charter by a different group, "homosexuals" become uncontrollable when they drank alcohol.  A company officer explained that on a previous charter on a different boat in New York the homosexuals chased the deckhands around the ship.  The Krewe of Tragoidia moved "Speakeasy Night" to the St. Bernard Cultural Canter.

On August 23, 1973, Jefferson Parish acquired an undivided one-half interest in the former Jefferson Downs race track property in Metairie with option to acquire balance within an eighteen-month period.  It would become Lafreniere Park.

On August 23, 1973,  former New Orleans policeman Edwin M. Gaudet surrendered to New Mexico authorities after a federal warrent was issued charging him with threatening the life of then President Richard Nixon.

  August 23, 1973 advertisement for G.E.X. (Government Employees Exchange) on Veterans Highway near David Drive in Metairie.

On August 23, 1973, eight milllion dollars more was needed to equip empty shafts with elevators, complete 64 private box seat areas and pay for other items in the Superdome which was still under construction.  Governor Edwin Edwards stated that these costs were deliberately omitted from the original building budget proposal in order to lower the construction budget to enable passage of the 129.5 million dollar bond package which was passed by the 1972 legislature.  The governor called for an investigation into the cost over-runs.  Mayor Moon Landrieu denied allegations of any deliberate deceit.

An August 23, 1973, Times-Picayune article noted that the Superdome's communications system was deemed so advanced that it was given a new name -- Supertex.

On August 23, 1973, the Ponchatoula-Manchac I-55 link was being planned and studied.

State legislator and grocer John Schwegmann Jr. and Food Town Ethical Pharmacies of Baton Rouge president Charles Frank Fort were pictured in the August 23, 1963 edition of the Times-Picayune planning a strategy to oppose the price-fixing Fair Trade Quality Stabilization Act which was pending before a U. S. Senate committee.  The photograph and caption were placed in a full page advertisement for Schwegmann's grocery items -- obviously paid for by Schwegmann's.

  August 23, 1963 advertisement for la Biche's department store.

  August 23, 1963 advertisement for Bali Ha'i restaurant "at the beach".

August 23, 1963 advertisement for Scheinuk the Florist.

On August 23, 1944, the Liberty ship Sieur de la Salle was lauched by Delta Shipbuilding Company.

Jazzman Walter Payton, Jr. was born in New Orleans on August 23, 1942, he played bass and sousaphone with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band,the French Market Jazz Hall Band and the Young Tuxedo Brass Band, and led his own group called the Snap Bean Band. His recording credits include Lee Dorsey's "Working in the Coal Mine", and Payton variously worked with Aaron Neville, Harry Connick Jr., Champion Jack Dupree and Chuck Carbo. Payton died in his hometown of New Orleans, after an illness, aged 68. He was the father of jazz trumpet player Nicholas Payton.

  Only five days remained on August 23, 1938 to take advantage of the Holmes Mystic Oil Permanent Wave Special -- $6.00 if done in the regular department but $7.50 if the stylists (all trained at the American Hair Design Institute) gave you waves in the Styling Room which was located on the second floor (Canal Street store).

OUDOUSQUIE, Charles, impresario.  Born, New Orleans, February 29, 1814 [sic]; son of Norbert Boudousquié and Marie Thérèse Héloïse de Chouriac.  Succeeded Pierre Davis as director of the Théâtre d'Orléans (ca. 1853).  Instrumental in construction of the new French Opera House, which opened December 1, 1859, and which he managed until the outbreak of the Civil War.  Appointed notary public, September 26, 1865.  Married, May 29, 1858, soprano Julie Calvé (q.v.).  Children (adopted):  Marie (Leduc) and Charles Paul (Leduc) Boudousquié.  Died, New Orleans, August 23, 1866; interred St. Louis Cemetery II.  J.B.**  Sources:  Tagliche Deutsche Zeitung, November 2, 1853; New Orleans Daily Picayune, April 17, 1859; New Orleans Times, August 25, 1866; Daily Picayune, August 26, 1866; Daily Southern Star, September 28, 1865; St. Louis Cathedral, New Orleans, La., Baptismal Book 7 (1811-1815); Annunciation Church, New Orleans, La., Marriage Register I; St. Louis Cathedral, New Orleans, La., Cemetery Records (April 1860-June 1871).  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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