Today in New Orleans History

July 1

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Streetcar Strike
July 1, 1929
One of the lengthiest and most violent transit railway strikes the nation ever experienced began in New Orleans on July 1, 1929. Although an agreement was reached in August, the union members did not agree to go back to work until October.

NOPSI took a financial beating during the strike, with four million fewer people using the transit system than in the previous year.

What good fortune could possibly come out of the misfortune just described? It was the beginning of the famous New Orleans sandwich called the po-boy. Benny and Clovis Martin, owners of Martin Brothers Restaurant on St. Claude Street (Avenue), were grateful for the business they enjoyed. Many of those who frequented their place of business were the street railway workers.

With the strike came difficult economic times for these laboring men. Things were already tough because of conditions leading to the Depression. The added burden of no take-home pay added to their misery. The two brothers set out to help in any way they could.
They decided the best way was to offer an inexpensive sandwich that would feed practically an entire family. They contacted an Italian baker named Gendusa and told him of their idea.
New Orleans French bread traditionally was short and wide. Gendusa decided he would have a new loaf that would be much longer (36-42 inches) and smaller in width. Martin Brothers, as agreed, purchased and cut the bread into 13-15-inch lengths, filled it with gravy, roast beef, mayo, lettuce, tomato and pickles. This they would then sell for a nickel to the poor boys to help them feed their families. The name that stuck from this New Orleans sandwich creation was the “po boy.”

Because of the misfortune of the ’29 transit strike, the city’s No. 1 sandwich, until this day, was born.

Martin Brothers’ kindness in thinking of their customers was not forgotten. The restaurant became the most popular eating spot in town for many years. Its creation received the greatest compliment available. It was copied by every location in New Orleans and Louisiana, wherever sandwiches were sold. Yes, to be copied is the greatest form of flattery.

By  Buddy Stall at  Photo source unkown.

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The United States Census Bureau estimated that the population of Louisiana was 4,601,893 on July 1, 2012, a 1.5% increase since the 2010 United States Census. The population density of the state was 104.9 people per square mile.

In December 2005 the Tulane University board of directors announced that the university would be reorganized on July 1, 2006, to accommodate needed changes due to losses following Hurricane Katrina. The board also approved the recommendation of a special Tulane Renewal task force to name a revised, co-educational, single undergraduate college -- Newcomb-Tulane College. The new college within the university is not strictly a successor to Newcomb College. Arguing the "renewal" plan violated the donor's original intention of the gift, Newcomb's heirs filed and lost two suits against the university to invoke the restrictions of Newcomb's lifetime gifts and bequest in her will. The university stated that by naming Tulane her universal legatee in her will, Josephine Louise Newcomb placed no conditions on the use of her donations, but entrusted her gifts to the discretion of the Administrators of Tulane University. In 2008 Susan Henderson Montgomery, a great niece of Josephine Louise Newcomb and the plaintiff claiming to be her successor, after losing in New Orleans civil district court, appealed to the state. On October 13, 2010, a state appeals court sided 3-2 with Tulane University. On February 18, 2011, the Louisiana Supreme Court voted, 4 to 2, with one abstention, to let a lower court's ruling in favor of Tulane stand.

On July 1, 1944, the Liberty ship Floyd W. Spencer was launched byDelta Shipbuilding Company.

According to Buddy Stall at
On July 1, 1925, brothers Sam and Emanuel Pulitzer, ages 20 and 22 respectively, decided to team up and make their mark in the business world. With very little formal education, less experience and even less money ($300), they formed the Pulitzer Brothers Neckwear Company. The basis of their entering this line of business was that Emanuel had worked in New York and had gained some expertise in the sale of neck ties.

Although their business experience was nil, they both had learned from their parents the importance of hard work tempered with scheduled time for relaxation.

In 1925 bow ties were the standard wear. The company purchased them from a manufacturer in New York and the enthusiastic brothers, blanketed every town in south Louisiana. The first month they each earned $60. The brothers were on cloud nine. That is, until they learned the meaning of cash flow. Their selling skills outshined their customers’ capacity to pay on time. They also learned the harsh reality of borrowing money. Through dedication and persistence they overcame these two giant obstacles.
At the end of the work day when Emanuel looked for his coat, it was gone. Sam suggested someone might have taken it by mistake as the coat rack was by the front door. Emanuel took the loss as just one of those unfortunate things. He hoped that someone would bring it back when they realized their mistake. Sam stuck the tie in his coat pocket.

When he got home, he took the rumpled tie out and tied it around his neck. He wore it the rest of the evening. When he took it off to go to bed, he tied a knot in it again. The next morning he could not wait to untie the knot and smooth it out. He had breakfast and when he got back, whamo, there were no wrinkles.

With the new miracle tie, priced at $1, they sold in one week all they could manufacture in three months. Once again that old menace, cash flow, was ready to reappear. The bank said they could not extend a line of credit of that amount unless the company raised an additional $25,000 of capital. In two days, with the help of their influential customers, the $25,000 was raised.

One of the decisions made at this time was to change the name of the company. The new name selected was WEMBLEY. This name was chosen because one of the mills producing the Nor East fabric was located in Wembley, England.

In 1968, Emanuel’s stock was purchased by his brother’s heirs. WEMCO, the new name selected for the company, is currently producing 35,000 ties a day. It is the largest tie manufacturer in the world.

Jacques Philippe Villere was born in St. John's Parish, Louisiana on April 28, 1760. His education was attained in France at the expense of Louis XVI. Villere served in the French Army, as first lieutenant of artillery, stationed in Saint Domingue. After returning to his native state, he served as a major general in the territorial militia and fought in the Battle of New Orleans. Villere entered politics in 1812, serving as a member of the first State Constitutional Convention. He was elected governor by a popular vote on July 1, 1816, and then confirmed by the legislature. This was the election procedure according to the 1812 State Constitution. Villere was sworn into office on December 17, 1816. During his tenure, legislation pertaining to the Black Code was sanctioned, the death penalty was imposed on anyone who killed a person in a duel, limitless immigration was banned, and negotiations between the American and Creole populations were conducted. After completing his term, Villere left office on December 18, 1820. Four years later, he ran unsuccessfully for reelection to the governor's office. He later served as a presidential elector in 1826. Governor Jacques P. Villere passed away on March 7, 1830. According to Buddy Stall, Villere, as governor, gave the shortest inauguration speech on Louisiana record. Sources: Dawson III, Joseph G. The Louisiana Governors: From Iberville to Edwards. Baton Rouge: Lousiana State University Press, 1990. 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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