Today in New Orleans History

July 10

Shushan Airport Milneburg Joys

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 Aerial Progress Shot of Veterans Administration Hospital
July 10, 1948
A new Veterans Administration Hospital in New Orleans was an obvious post-World War II need. By mid-1946 the city and the VA had decided on a site just behind the existing Charity Hospital complex. That property belonged to New Orleans Public Service Inc. NOPSI's gas plant, where artificial gas had been manufactured from 1835 until natural gas became universal on September 8, 1928, was in the process of demolition when this photograph was taken. The larger circular elements are remnants of the gas holding tanks that had dominated the "back of town" skyline for almost a century (the smallest of the circles was a tar well). Construction of the VA Hospital did not begin until late in 1949; the facility was dedicated on November 23, 1952.

Other points of interest in the photograph:

  • the Charity Hospital Nursing School to the left of the VA site
  • Charity's power plant, steam laundry, and other support facilities (note the smokestack) to the right of the VA site
  • South Claiborne Avenue, with trees on the neutral ground, before construction of the overpass
  • St. Katherine's Church across Tulane Avenue from Charity Hospital
  • the old Criminal Court Building (near the upper right hand corner of the photograph), now the site of the Main Library.

Text and photo from the New Orleans Public Library.

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On July 10, 2010, during their 35th-anniversary performance at New Orleans' Mahalia Jackson Theater, the band Zebra was inducted into The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. (WIKI)

On July 10, 2003, a 52-year-old grandmother was strapping her 4-year-old grandson in the Joker's Jukebox ride at Six Flags New Orleans when the ride started up. She died from blunt-force internal injuries after being struck by a ride vehicle. The park added mirrors to the ride for ride operators to view around the blind spot where the accident occurred, and have added a safety announcement notifying guests that the ride is about to start. (WIKI)

Elijah Eugene Pitts (February 3, 1938 – July 10, 1998) was an American football halfback in the National Football League for the Green Bay Packers, the Los Angeles Rams, and the New Orleans Saints. He played college football at Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas. After his playing career ended, Pitts was an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Rams, the Houston Oilers, and the Buffalo Bills, coaching in all four of the Bills' Super Bowl appearances in the early 90s. Pitts occasionally substituted as head coach for Marv Levy in the mid-1990s. In October 1997, while still the Bills' assistant head coach, Pitts was diagnosed with stomach cancer, which claimed his life nine months later at the age of 60. (WIKI)

On July 10, 1991, a L'Express Airlines Beech C99, flying as Flight 508 originating in New Orleans, and in transit from Mobile to Birmingham, crashed while attempting to make an ILS approach to Runway 5 (since renumbered to Runway 6) at Birmingham Municipal Airport (now Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport) in Birmingham, Alabama. The plane crashed in the Fairview area near Five Points West in the Ensley neighborhood and subsequently injured four persons on the ground, as well as destroying two homes. Of the 15 occupants on board, there were 13 fatalities. (WIKI)

Nat G. Kiefer (born c. 1939, died July 10, 1985) was a Louisiana state senator from New Orleans. He was instrumental in the construction of the Lakefront Arena at UNO. (WIKI)

Mayor Ernest N. Morial with President Jimmy Carter, July 10, 1980. [Official White House Photograph]

Copies of views taken in City Park about 1900. Among these are: the first building erected in the park, long since replaced by a modern brick structure; old track of the New Orleans Business Men's racing association, now the location of th e Roosevelt Mall; old pigeon house replaced with a picturesque brick structure; lagoon as it was before the WPA installed a unique drainage system; and views of old wooden and plate-girder Grandjean bridge across the lagoon before WPA built a modern concr ete bridge, copied July 10, 1949 (NOPL)

Photos of Felix J. Dreyfous, president of the City Park Commission and a member of the original board of the New Orleans City Park Improvement Association, created fifty years ago, is pictured here with the original minute book of t he association, July 10, 1949.

Map of City Park indicates the various tracts of land and the dates of their acquisition by the City Park Commission since the original tract was deeded by the John McDonogh estate in 1859 to the city. The largest ac quisition, of 600 acres, comprising the City Park extension now being improved by the WPA, is not shown on the map, July 10, 1949..

NOPL photo -- Scene from "Colored" Play Day at the Macarty School Playground, July 10, 1947.

NOPL photograph of the construction of the Naval Air Base on the lakefront. The caption for the photo, taken on July 10, 1941, says, "Spreading asphalt for one of the two runways at the base. The runways are built to grade and drainage structures built by WPA labor. Actual laying of asphalt is being performed by contract. Unfinished hangar for the base is shown in the background." The smokestack visible in the background, originally part of the base's heating system, is the only Air Base structure still standing on the UNO campus. UNO hopes to raise money to incorporate the smokestack into the design of its planned Homer L. Hitt Alumni Center. (NOPL)

Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe, known professionally as Jelly Roll Morton, was born into a Creole of Color family in the Faubourg Marigny. Sources differ as to his birth date: a baptismal certificate issued in 1894 lists his date of birth as October 20, 1890; Morton and his half-sisters claimed he was born on September 20, 1885 His World War I draft registration card showed September 13, 1884, but his California death certificate listed his birth as September 20, 1889. No birth certificate has been found to date.  Widely recognized as a pivotal figure in early jazz, Morton is perhaps most notable as jazz's first arranger to publish musical notations. His composition "Jelly Roll Blues" was the first published jazz composition, in 1915. Morton is also notable for naming and popularizing the " Wolverine Blues", "Black Bottom Stomp", and "I Thought I Heard Buddy Bolden Say", the latter a tribute to New Orleans personalities from the turn of the 19th century to 20th century. Reputed for his arrogance and self-promotion as often as recognized in his day for his musical talents, Morton claimed to have invented jazz outright in 1902 — much to the derision of later musicians and critics.  He died on July 10, 1941. Source:

When the Hi-Way Baseball Park opened on Sunday, July 10, 1927 on Jefferson Highway at Harlem Avenue (now Causeway Boulevard) Jefferson Bottling Works began sponsoring a team (and would continue to do so for many years).  The first game played at the new park pitted the Shrewsbury Athletic Club against Eiriatem ("Metairie" spelled backwards, the team was made up of Metairie High School students) followed by the Jefferson White Sox against Jefferson Bottling Works in a double header.  The park's grandstand seated 1000 spectators.

In 1911, the Jesuit schools in New Orleans were reorganized. The College of the Immaculate Conception, founded in 1847 in downtown New Orleans, split its high school and college divisions and became solely a secondary institution, now known as Jesuit High School. Loyola was designated as the collegiate institution and was chartered as Loyola University on July 10, 1912. (WIKI)

CSS PAMLICO, a side-wheel steamer purchased in New Orleans on July 10, 1861, was placed in commission of the Confederate navy on September 2 with Leutenant W. G. Dozier, CSN in command. She operated in the vicinity of New Orleans, clashing ineffectually with vessels of the Federal blockading squadron on December 4 and 7, 1861, and on March 25 and April 4, 1862. PAMLICO was burned by her officers on Lake Pontchartrain, when New Orleans fell to the Union.

Paul Charles Morphy, born in New Orleans on June 22, 1837 was considered to have been the greatest chess master of his era and an unofficial World Chess Champion. He died in New Orleans on July 10, 1884. (WIKI)

James Dunwoody Brownson DeBow (July 10, 1820 – February 27, 1867) was a publisher and statistician, best known for his influential magazine DeBow's Review, who also served as head of the U.S. Census from 1853-1857.  (WIKI)

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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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