Today in New Orleans History

May 23

Shushan Airport Milneburg Joys

The Beginning of Pontchartrain Beach
May 23, 1939


This New Orleans Public Library photograph, shot on May 23, 1939,  captured WPA workers as they began work on the sand beach at Elysian Fields and the Lakeshore Drive (Milneburg) at what would become Pontchartrain Beach. Plans called for the construction of the beach, a swimming pool, a bath house, parking areas and roads.  The seawall had already been completed and the sand beach would lie between it and the lake waters.  Pontchartrain Beach amusement park closed 44 years later, in the summer of 1983.

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Brennan's Restaurant on Royal Street was sold at an Orleans Parish sheriff’s sale on Thursday, May 23, 2013 for $6.85 million to its mortgage holder Leggo/4.  The property was included in the sale after Owen “Pip” Brennan failed to post a $150,000 bond by 10 a.m. Thursday morning, a requirement of the injunction ordered Wednesday afternoon by Orleans Parish Civil District Court Judge Piper D. Griffin. If the bond had been posted, the injunction would have stopped foreclosure of the property.

The Bonnet Carré Spillway, near New Orleans, was built to divert water from the Mississippi River to Lake Pontchartrain, and from there to the Gulf of Mexico, reducing water levels and flow near New Orleans. On May 23, 2011, 330 of the structure's 350 bays were opened due to rising water levels otherwise anticipated to jeopardize levees protecting New Orleans. The Army Corps of Engineers began closing the spillway gates on June 12 as the river level began to fall and the last of the gates were closed on June 20.

Photo -- South Galvez Street from Delachaise Street to General Taylor Street "before" Paving Lien-3rd Phase; Curbs, gutterbottoms, asphault surfacing completed May 23, 1958. Photo taken on October 13, 1957, Photography by Leon Trice. (NOPL)

Several NOPL photos captioned " As a feature of "This Work Pays Your Community Week" more than 100 students of the homemaking classes of the WPA education division staged a fashion show at St. Joseph's Auditorium". May 23, 1939.

Several NOPL photos -- The concrete flooring of the Cotton Warehouse (Napoleon Avenue and the River) was a major item in the general repair program of WPA to New Orleans docks.  May 23, 1938.

On May 23, 1934, a team of police officers, led by former Texas Ranger Frank Hamer, ambushed bank robbers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow near Gibsland, Louisiana, killing them both.

Charles F. Fischer, 90, of New Orleans, died Tuesday, April 25, 2000, in New Orleans. He was born May 23, 1909, in Natchez and at the age of 12 became a member of the Jolly Boys Band. He played harmonica, accordion and organ with the Foot Warmers at the Grand Theatre in Natchez and along the Creole Trail between Natchez and New Orleans. In New Orleans, he played with a variety of musicians, including Papa Celestin, the Creole Tuxedo Band, Bunk Johnson and Creole Serenaders and traveled as far as Chicago to play. He joined the U.S. Navy in 1941, became a second lieutenant and worked for the Navy's Geodetic Survey. Mr. Fischer studied ministry in Alabama, received a doctorate in divinity studies and was a member of the International Ministerial Alliance, traveling to Japan and Korea in the 1980s to meet with clergy. Survivors include one nephew, William Fischer, and four grandnephews, Darius Fischer, Marc Fischer, Bryan Fischer and Paul Fischer, all of the New York City area.

Garbage Boats on the River -- "Resolved, moreover, that the Mayor shall have a notice inserted in the newspapers to announce to the public that the contract of two chalands or flatboats shall be adjudged to the lowest bidder at the Mayoralty office, on the day and time the Mayor shall fix; that said chalands shall be constructed according to the model to be furnished the Contractor by the Mayor and a Committee of the City Council under the supervision of the Mayor and said Council -- that they shall be placed on the river at the places to be designated by the Surveyor, conformably to the resolution taken in this respect by the City Council, and that the person who shall construct said chalands or boats shall pass a contract with the Mayor, to receive the garbage or filth of the City and Faubourgs which shall be carried thereto by the tumbrels for that purpose in order to be thrown, by means of a device of said chalands or boats in the current of the river, at a distance from the bank to be designated by the Mayor ..."  [Ordinances and resolutions of the Conseil de Ville, Session of May 23, 1818]  Source and photo:

On May 23, 1783, the Attorney General of the Cabildo called attention to the bad condition of the bridges at the corners of the streets. The Commissioners resolved that the property owners repair the bridges during the month of June. (Don Pedro Volan built seven new bridges for which the Commissioners agreed to collect from each individual to reimburse him).  (NOPL)

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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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