Today in New Orleans History

August 29

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August 29 will never pass without remembrances of our first awareness that our city and metropolitan area were underwater in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  This date should never pass without a pause to honor the memory of all who were lost that day.  And to remember or try not to remember all else that was lost.  Near  the bottom of this page is a time-line of the events which occurred on August 29, 2005.  If you choose not to "go there" (literally or figuratively) stop reading when you reach the bottom section.

Judge Israel Meyer Augustine, Jr.
Dies of ALS/Lou Gehrig's Disease
August 29, 1994
Judge Augustine swears Ernest "Dutch" Morial in as judge of the Juvenile court while Mayor Moon Landrieu looks on, 1970. 

Israel Meyer Augustine, Jr., the first African American district judge in Louisiana, was born in New Orleans on November 16, 1924. His father served as principal of McDonogh No. 86 High School at 656 S. Rampart St. Israel Jr. was a graduate of McDonogh 35 High School and received a B. A. from Southern University in Baton Rouge. He obtained his law degree from Lincoln University in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1951, he was admitted to the Louisiana Bar and in 1962, he was allowed to practice before the Supreme Court.

In 1970, Israel M. Augustine, Jr. became the first Black elected as judge in Criminal District Court. In 1971, he presided over the Black Panther Trial, a case that brought him national attention. A champion of the people, Augustine established several community programs such as "Roots" Home Coming Program, the First Offender and Angola Awareness.

Judge Augustine died on August 29, 1994 of Lou Gehrig's disease/ALS and is buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery. (Photo and text from the New Orleans Public Library)

The former Samuel J. Peters school at 245 South Broad Street was renamed for Judge Israel as was the nearby Orleans Criminal District Court at Tulane Avenue and S. Broad Street in 1996.

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Victor Hugo "Vic" Schiro was born in Chicago, Illinois on May 6, 1904, the son of Italian immigrants Andrew Edward and Mary (Pizzati) Schiro was the mayor of New Orleans from 1961 - 1970. After moving to New Orleans with his parents as a child, Schiro spent his young adulthood in Honduras and California, where he worked as a movie extra, and co-managed a Nevada gold mine before returning to New Orleans. He worked briefly as an assistant cameraman for Frank Capra. Having returned to New Orleans in 1928, Schiro became a radio announcer. In 1932, Schiro married Mary Margaret Gibbes, better known as Sunny Schiro. Schiro founded his own insurance company and became an active civic leader in the 1940s; he was president of the Young Men’s Business Club. In 1950, he was elected commissioner of public buildings and parks. Under the new mayor-council charter of 1954, Schiro was elected councilman-at-large. When DeLesseps S. "Chep" Morrison, resigned his position as mayor in 1961 to become U.S. Ambassador to the Organization of American States, the City Council elected Councilman Schiro, then Councilman-At-Large, as interim mayor. Schiro was subsequently elected to two full terms in 1962 and 1965. Schiro inherited Morrison’s Crescent City Democratic Association, formed as a rival to the Regular Democratic Organization, but the political machine was deeply divided by the 1962 election, and it declined thereafter. Schiro held to a simple governing philosophy, stating that "if it’s good for New Orleans, I’m for it."  In January 1961 a meeting of the city's white business leaders publicly endorsed desegregation of the city's public schools. That same year Victor H. Schiro became the city's first mayor of Italian-American ancestry. Mayor Schiro considered the arrival of the New Orleans Saints professional football team and the beginning of plans to build the Louisiana Superdome to be two of the foremost achievements of his administration.  He passed away on August 29, 1992.

Schwegmann's ads, August 29, 1975.

BASS, Charles Cassedy, physician, medical scientist, medical administrator. Born, Carley, Miss., January 29, 1875; son of Isaac Esau Bass and Mary Eliza Wilkes Bass; brother of Mary Elizabeth Bass (q.v.). Education: Columbia (Miss.) High School; Wyatt's Business College, Jackson, Miss.; Tulane University School of Medicine, M.D., 1899. Private practice for five years in Columbia, Miss. Interest in newly emerging scientific basis of disease in his medical practice propelled him into academic medicine. Studied at Johns Hopkins; returned to New Orleans to head up the laboratory of clinical medicine. At Tulane, worked in clinical microbiology, clinical medicine, and experimental medicine from May 23, 1907, to September 1922, when he became dean of the School of Medicine. Retired as dean, January 29, 1940, but continued on as Emeritus W. R. Irby Professor of Experimental Medicine. Bass conducted medical research in parasites, malaria, nutritional diseases, and dental care. Member, Association of American Physicians, 1916; fellow of the American College of Physicians, 1920; president, Society of Tropical Medicine, 1917; president, the Society of Clinical Investigation, 1925. Died, New Orleans, August 29, 1975. J.P.M. Sources: The Charles Cassedy Bass Papers, Special Collections, Howard Tilton Memorial Library, Tulane University; George Burch, Transactions of the Association of American Physicians, LXXXIX (1976); various editions of Who's Who in America; American Men and Women of Science, editions 3-10; Southern Medicine, LXIII (1975); New Orleans Times-Picayune, January 29, 1975; Orleans Parish Medical Society Bulletin, XLVI (1975); Times-Picayune, August 30, 1975; "New Orleans as a Medical Center" (1930); "On the Occasion of the Naming of the Rudolph Matas Medical Library," New Orleans Medical and Surgical Journal, XC (1938); John Duffy, The Tulane University Medical Center (1984); Duffy, ed., The Rudolph Matas History of Medicine in Louisiana (1962).From

August 29, 1975 McKenzie's Times-Picayune ad.

Lieutenant Governor James E. Fitzmorris, State Senator Hank Lauricella, and Superdome Executive Director Ben Levy -- among many other fans -- awaited entertainer Bob Hope's arrival to New Orleans at Moisant Airport on August 29, 1975. The former Bacchus said he was flattered to be the opening attraction in the world's largest enclosed stadium the following day.

The New Orleans Superdome unofficially opened three weeks prior to this day in 1975  -- at a cost of $163,000,000.  The boost to the local economy is already apparent in the success of surrounding restaurants and hotels.  A spokesperson from Maylie's Restaurant at 1009 Poydras Street reported much improved patronage on Saturday exhibition game days.  Maylie's had been traditionally closed on weekends but was considering also opening on Sundays of Saints home games.  Business at La Pavilon at 833 Poydras increased  "extremely" before and after games, according to a hotel representative.  The Warwick Hotel at 1315 Gravier  Street has been "affected profoundly" according to an employee who stated that the upcoming Bob Hope Supershow brought soaring  bookings for the upcoming Friday night.  Farely removed from the Dome, T. Pittari's at 4200 South Claiborne noted a slight improvement on game days.  A spokesperson from the Andrew Jackson restaurant at 221 Royal Street explained that Texas teams draw good crowds while Denver and Miami games result in absolutely no new customers.  Houston Oiler fans, however,  brought in a tremendous amount of business.

NEWMAN, Isidore II, businessman, philanthropist, civic leader. Born, New Orleans, August 29, 1906; son of Edgar Newman and Elsa Schwartz; grandson of Isidore Newman I (q.v.). Education: Isidore Newman Manual Training School; Tulane University, B. A. Married (1), 1931, Anna Pfeifer (1908-1956) of New Orleans. One child: Edgar Leon. Married (2), 1970, Colette Morrow. Began career in stock brokerage firms, then went to Schwartz Bros. Wholesale Dry Goods of New Orleans. In 1932 joined the staff of Maison Blanche, a New Orleans department store founded by his grandfather, where his uncle Herbert J. Schwartz (q.v.) was president. Entered U. S. Army, 1942, rose to rank of lieutenant colonel and chief of procurement for Transportation Corps, an experience beneficial to his later career. After war, returned to New Orleans; from 1949-1963 served as president of Maison Blanche. In 1963, removed to New York to serve as president of City Stores Corporation, the parent company of Maison Blanche. Retired, March 1, 1975. President, New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, 1953; vice chairman, Louisiana Sesquicentennial Celebration, 1953; vice president, International Trade Mart; director, Hibernia Bank; director, New Orleans Public Service; director, New Orleans Tidewater Development; vice-chairman, board of directors, Isidore Newman School; member, board of administrators, Tulane University; member, board of directors, Greater New Orleans Educational TV Foundation; founding member, National Merit Scholarship Corporation. Was instrumental in the eventual construction of the Greater New Orleans Bridge and the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet; promoted and worked for a public TV station for New Orleans. Returned to New Orleans, 1975; went to Paris in 1979 to argue for a world exposition in New Orleans before International World Fairs Committee, result was the 1984 Louisiana World's Fair. Died, New Orleans, January 23, 1981. E.N. Sources: New Orleans Times-Picayune, obituary, January 24, 1981; Newman News, (Summer, 1981), p. 1; Who's Who in America; The Story of Louisiana (1960).  From

Marion Pfeifer Abramson is Born
 August 29, 1905
Born in New York City on August 29, 1905, Marion Pfeifer Abramson was raised in New Orleans, attended Isidore Newman School and graduated from Sophie Newcomb College in 1925.  She was editor of the Newcomb/Tulane Hulaballoo student newspaper and Ghost-wrote newspaper columns for football end Jerry Dalrymple ("My End of It" -- which several times appeared in the Saturday Evening Post) and  Tulane back Don Zimmerman ("Back Talk").
She married Louis Abramson Jr. in June 1925.  They had one child, Lucie Lee, who grew up to follow in her mother's footsteps regarding service to the community.  After World War II Marion became a member of the national board of the American Association of University Women and later served as president of the New Orleans chapter. She served on the Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee in 1946, as a member of the Independent Women's Organization, and was elected in 1959 to serve as Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committeewoman for Ward 14.
During the 1950s she began planning for an educational television station for New Orleans. Her project was brought to fruition on October 23, 1957, when National Educational Television (NET) station WYES opened with Marion as Chairperson of board of directors of the Greater New Orleans Educational Television Association.  WYES-TV signed on the air on April 1, 1957 as the twelfth educational television station in the nation. In 1970, the station swapped frequency allocations with another local station, thus becoming Channel 12.
On September 21, 1965 August Perez and Associates submitted plans for the design of Marion Abramson High School at 5500 Reed Road in New Orleans East. Several weeks later, after a life of community service, Marion Abramson died on November 30, 1965, knowing that her name would live on in association with education.
The grainy newspaper photograph to the right is from the Friday, July 29, 1960 edition of the Times-Picayune.  It pictures the members of the Board of Trustees of the Greater New Orleans Educational Television Foundation. It was captioned: Members of the board are (from left, seated) Mrs. Abramson, James W. Ganus, Mrs. Walter Carroll Jr. (standing) Dr. Mayo L. Emory, T. Sterling Dunn, and Francis C. Doyle. The related article described a meeting of the group at the International House where Nash C. Roberts presided as President of the Board of Trustees.  The foundation was planning a two-hour (6-8 p.m.), 1500 women-strong, door-to-door fund-raiser and membership drive ($5 membership) to hopefully raise $25,000.  
Sources: The Times-Picayune, and WYES-TV. 
Related reading: 

Katrina Time-Line

Monday, August 29, 2005


At 5:10 AM CDT (1010 UTC), Hurricane Katrina made its second landfall as a strong Category 3 hurricane near Buras-Triumph, Louisiana, with sustained winds of more than 125 mph (205 km/h), although Category 4 winds may have briefly affected the area. Katrina also made landfall in St. Bernard parish and St. Tammany parish as a Category 3 hurricane for a total of three landfalls in Louisiana

By 8:00 AM CDT (1300 UTC), in New Orleans, water was seen rising on both sides of the Industrial Canal.

At approximately 8:14 AM CDT (1314 UTC), the New Orleans office of the National Weather Service issued a Flash Flood Warning for Orleans Parish and St Bernard Parish, citing a levee breach at the Industrial Canal. The National Weather Service predicted three to eight feet of water and advised people in the warning area to "move to higher ground immediately."

At about 9:00 AM EDT, reports from inside the Superdome were that part of the roof was "peeling off," daylight could be seen from inside the dome, and rain was pouring in. The Associated Press stated there were two holes, "each about 15 to 20 feet (6.1 m) long and 4 to 5 feet (1.5 m) wide," and that water was making its way in at elevator shafts and other small openings. 

By 9:00 AM CDT (2100 UTC), there was 6–8 feet of water in the Lower Ninth Ward.

At 10:00 AM CDT (1500 UTC), Hurricane Katrina made its third landfall near Pearlington, Mississippi and Slidell, Louisiana, with sustained winds of 120 mph (193 km/h) after crossing Breton Sound. Also at 10:00 AM. while at a Medicare event in El Mirage, Arizona, President Bush said, "I want to thank the governors of the affected regions for mobilizing assets prior to the arrival of the storm to help citizens avoid this devastating storm."

By 11:00 AM CDT (1600 UTC), there was approximately 10 feet (3 m) of water in St. Bernard Parish. Many rooftops could not be seen here as they were submerged. Therefore, there was much more than 10 feet (3.0 m) of water in many places.

At 2:00 PM CDT (1900 UTC), New Orleans officials confirmed a breach of the 17th Street Canal levee There was also confirmation of breaches at two other canals.

In a press conference at 3:00 PM CDT (2000 UTC), New Orleans Homeland Security Director Terry Ebbertt stated that he was positive that there were casualties resulting from the storm, based on calls to emergency workers from people trapped in trees and homes. He said that, "Everybody who had a way or wanted to get out of the way of this storm was able to. For some that didn't, it was their last night on this earth." Police were fanning out across the city to assess damage, rescue people, and get a good look at the situation before nightfall. The hardest-hit areas of the city were the Lower Ninth Ward, New Orleans East, Gentilly, Lakeview, St. Bernard parish, and Plaquemines parish.

Governor Blanco ordered 68 school buses into New Orleans from surrounding parishes to begin evacuating any survivors that remained in the city. 6908 Army National Guard and 933 Air National Guard were deployed (7,841 total). Governor Blanco and the National Guard stated that they could "handle it". FEMA Director Michael Brown also urged local fire and rescue departments outside Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi not to send trucks or emergency workers into disaster areas without an explicit request for help from state or local governments. Brown sought the approval from Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff five hours after landfall to dispatch 1,000 Homeland Security workers into the region. Brown acknowledged that this process would take two days. He described Katrina as a, "near catastrophic event."

Brown defined the role of requested assigned personnel and additional aid from the United States Department of Homeland Security: "Establish and maintain positive working relationships with disaster affected communities and the citizens of those communities. Collect and disseminate information and make referrals for appropriate assistance. Identification of potential issues within the community and reporting to appropriate personnel. Convey a positive image of disaster operations to government officials, community organizations and the general public. Perform outreach with community leaders on available Federal disaster assistance."

President Bush declared a major disaster for Louisiana, Mississippi,and Alabama,under the authority of the Stafford Act.


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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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