Today in New Orleans History

December 18

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 Roosevelt Hotel Fountain Room
December 18, 1935 


This advertisement appeared in the December 18, 1935 edition of the Times-Picayune.  Patrons were invited to lunch to the tunes of Albert Kirst or dine and dance to Ben Pollack's Orchestra at the new Fountain Room a the Roosevelt Hotel.

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On December 18, 1971 Humble Pie and Yes performed at A Warehouse.

On December 18, 1944 the Liberty ship "Jagger Seam" was launched at  Delta Shipbuilding Company.

Jazz and Blues singert Louise "Blue Lu" Dupont Barker, famous for  "Don't You Feel My Leg" and "Look What Baby's Got For You" was born in New Orleans on November 13, 1913. She often sang and performed with her husband Danny Barker.  Her recording of "A Little Bird Told Me" was released by Capitol Records and reached the Billboard chart on December 18, 1948 and remained on the chart for 14, peaking at #4. Blue Lu was inducted into the Louisiana Blues Hall of Fame in 1997, one year before she died in her home town on May 7, 1998 at the age of 84.

Times-Picayune, December 18, 1916: "Judge Fred D. King, Monday, gave Mrs. Effie Boyer $10,000 damages against John Rengel and Morris Levy, owners of the Crescent Box Factory, as compensation for her being scalped by the machinery of the company. In rendering the decision, Judge King said Mrs. Boyer had been employed by the factory two or three days when her hair was caught by a revolving belt and she was scalped, leaving her head entirely bare. The testimony of Dr. Danna, introduced by the defendant, concurred that the injury was serious. Dr. Danna had made a graft of skin on the scalped head in an endeavor to secure a growth of hair, and even from that operation she had suffered intense pain, in addition to the pain of scalping. The evidence was plain that the box factory was almost criminally negligent in the way the belt was run. It had provided a small room in which the women could dress and undress, in an establishment where one hundred and fifty women were employed, and the accident occurred two or three days after the employment of the plaintiff, and no notice was given her of the danger of her employment.

The defense was that the case came under the Workmen's Compensation Act, but Judge King held that the Legislature had no power to deprive a person, permanently injured, of the right to sue for damages sustained. If the act did this, the poor woman would get a mere pittance. After studying the act, it was clear to his mind that the measure was intended for the benefit of the working men and women, but if he put upon it the construction defendants contended for, it was an injury to both, because it deprived them of a legal right.

Besides that, under the compensation act itself, it was the duty of the defendant to inform this woman when she entered employment, of the compensation act, and to get her to say whether she accepted employment under this act, or stood under the general law. This woman is young, said Judge King, under thirty years of age, and is disfigured for life. She is deprived of the chances of marriage, and of working with other persons without comment. He knew of only one other case as painful, and that was where an employe of the railways company was caught in electric wires and cremated before the eyes of his wife and children. He was firmly convinced a judgment of $10,000 should be given."

From the New Orleans Public Library

WDSU Television Goes on the Air
December 18, 1948 

TodayInNewOrleansHistory/WDSUTVAirSign.jpgWDSU-TV first signed on the air on December 18, 1948, as the first television station in the state of Louisiana. It was originally owned by New Orleans businessman Edgar B. Stern, Jr., along with WDSU radio (1280 AM, now WODT; and 93.3 FM, now WQUE-FM). The station initially carried programming from all four major broadcast networks at the time: NBC, CBS, ABC and DuMont. Even after WJMR-TV (channel 61; now Fox affiliate WVUE on channel 8) signed on in November 1953 as a primary CBS and secondary ABC affiliate, WDSU continued to "cherry-pick" a few of the higher-rated CBS and ABC programs until 1957, when WWL-TV signed on as a full-time CBS affiliate. At that time, WJMR took the ABC affiliation full-time, leaving WDSU as an exclusive NBC affiliate. It lost DuMont when that network ceased operations in 1956.

The radio station was originally located at the DeSoto Hotel (now Le Pavilon Hotel) on Baronne Street; the "DS" in the name stood for the DeSoto, while the "U" stood for Joseph Uhalt, who founded the radio station in 1923. WDSU-TV began operations in the Hibernia Bank Building, the tallest building in New Orleans at that time. The WDSU stations moved into the historic Brulatour Mansion on Royal Street in the French Quarter in April 1950. At that point, Stern reorganized his broadcast holdings as the Royal Street Corporation. The transmitter site remained at the Hibernia Bank Building until 1955, when the new transmitter facilities were completed in Chalmette, where the tower remains today.

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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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