Today in New Orleans History

May 28

Shushan Airport Milneburg Joys

Pontchartrain Beach
Milneburg was the other [asided from West End and Spanish Fort] popular early resort area on the Lake, at the terminus of the Pontchartrain Railroad line, which began operation in 1831. New Orleanians rode the famous "Smokey Mary" out to the many camps that dotted the shoreline and to the hotels, restaurants, roadhouses, shooting galleries, bathing facilities and fishing piers. It was at Milneburg's bandstands, dance halls and honky-talks that much of New Orleans' early jazz was first heard.

Like Spanish Fort, Milneburg fell victim to changing tastes and to the massive construction projects undertaken by the Orleans Levee Board and the WPA in the late 1920s and 1930s. This Levee Board photograph (included among the WPA photographs of Lakefront projects) was taken on October 5, 1927 from the famous Milneburg lighthouse looking to the east after demolition of the camps and other structures that occupied the shoreline.

The "after" view below, taken several years later on May 28, 1941, shows the exact same area with Pontchartrain Beach and its WPA-built bathing beach, bath house under construction, and one of two light towers built by the WPA for night swimming.

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Shushan Airport Milneburg Joys

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Photo -- Mayor Victor H. Schiro and Mrs. Ellis, May 28, 1964. Mrs. Ellis was being honored as Woman of the Year by the Women's Auxiliary of the Protestant Children's Home.

Page Mercer Baker, journalist. Born, Pensacola, Fla., February 23, 1840; son of James McCutcheon Baker of Pennsylvania, a naval veteran of the War of 1812 and the Mexican War, and Ann Eliza Mercer of Baltimore. Education: local schools. Removed to New Orleans, 1858; traveling salesman for hardware firm, McCutcheon, Howell & Co. Civil War service: volunteered, 1861; served in Virginia; transferred to Washington Artillery. Spent last year of war in Confederate Navy, assigned to the ironclad Tuscaloosa. After war, returned to New Orleans and engaged in many business pursuits, including insurance. Entered the field of journalism, 1868, largely owing to influence of elder brother, Marion, then city editor of the Daily Picayune. As a reporter, became active in the struggle to free the state from Radical rule. In 1870 was one of the committee of 100 Louisianians who went to Washington, D. C., to protest to President Grant the military policy being pursued by the federal government in Louisiana. In 1872, one of several individuals who founded the New Orleans Herald, a short-lived venture. Shortly thereafter, joined with Dan Byerly to establish the New Orleans Bulletin, which is alleged to have fostered the organization of the White League, leading to the riot of September 14, 1874. Soon after, subject retired from journalism because of ill health and death of his partner. Reentered journalism, 1880, as managing editor of the New Orleans Times, and continued to serve in that capacity after consolidation of the Times and the New Orleans Democrat in 1881. Continued as editor and manager of the Times-Democrat until death, bringing the paper to the zenith of its success. Always encouraged young writers, including Lafcadio Hearn (q.v.), who dedicated his first book to subject. Originated the Doll and Toy Fund later continued by the Times-Picayune. Married (1) Constance Fell (d. 1889), of New Orleans, daughter of Peter B. Fell. Married (2) Mary Fell, sister of first wife. One child, Constance. Died, New Orleans, May 28, 1910; interred Metairie Cemetery. G.R.C. Sources: New Orleans Daily Picayune, May 29, 1910; Fayette Copeland, "The New Orleans Press and the Reconstruction," Louisiana Historical Quarterly, XXX (1947); New Orleans Times-Picayune, January 25, 1937.  From

BEAUREGARD, Pierre Gustave Toutant, Confederate general and influential figure in postwar Louisiana. Born, Contreras Plantation, St. Bernard Parish, La., May 28, 1818; son of Jacques Toutant-Beauregard and Hélène Judith de Reggio. Education: local schools; "French School" in New York City; U. S. Military Academy, 1834-1838; commissioned second lieutenant in Corps of Engineers. Married (1), September 1841, Marie Laure Villeré (d. 1850), daughter of Jules Villeré, Plaquemines Parish sugar planter, granddaughter of Jacques Villeré (q.v.), second governor of Louisiana. Children: René, Henry, and Laure. Mexican War service: engineer on staff of Gen. Winfield Scott; received brevet, August 1847, for gallantry at Battle of Contreras; wounded twice in Battle of Mexico City; again breveted, September 1847. After war, returned to Louisiana in service of Corps of Engineers; promoted to rank of captain, March 1853; chief engineer for New Orleans during remainder of decade. Unsuccessful candidate in 1858 New Orleans' mayoral race. Married (2), 1860, Caroline Deslonde, daughter of André Deslonde, St. James Parish sugar planter, sister of Mrs. John Slidell. Became superintendent of West Point, January 23, 1861; resigned, January 28, 1861. Civil War service: appointed brigadier general (Confederacy's first), February 1861; assumed command at Charleston, S. C., ordering bombardment of Ft. Sumter on April 12; commanded army under Gen. J. E. Johnston at Battle of Manassas (First Bull Run), June 1861; second in command to Gen. A. S. Johnston (succeeded to command upon Johnston's death), at Battle of Shiloh, April 1862; after retreat to Corinth, Mississippi., turned command of army over to Gen. Braxton Bragg (q.v.), June 1862; given command of coastal defenses in Georgia and South Carolina, September 1862-April 1864; defeated Gen. Benjamin Butler (q.v.) at Drewry's Bluff, Va., May 1864; directed defense of Petersburg, Va., June 1864, where his command was merged with Gen. R. E. Lee's; given command of Military Division of the West (extending from Georgia to Mississippi River), October 1864; served as second in command to Gen. J. E. Johnston in Carolinas during last months of war. After war, declined commands in Rumanian and Egyptian armies; active in political effort to end Republican control in Louisiana; president of New Orleans, Jackson and Mississippi Railroad, 1866-1870; president of New Orleans and Carrollton Railroad, 1866-1876; supervisor of Louisiana Lottery, 1877-1893; appointed adjutant general of Louisiana 1879; contributed article, "The Battle of Bull Run," to Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, November 1884; elected commissioner of public works of New Orleans, 1888. Beauregard Parish and Camp Beauregard (near Pineville) named for subject. Died, New Orleans, February 20, 1893; interred Metairie Cemetery, tomb of the Army of Tennessee. W.S. Sources: New Orleans Daily Picayune, obituary, February 21, 1893; Dictionary of American Biography; Official Records of the War of the Rebellion; Jon L. Wakelyn, Biographical Dictionary of the Confederacy (1977); Goodspeed, Memoirs of Louisiana, Vol. I; Alcée Fortier, Louisiana, Vol. I (1909); T. Harry Williams, P. G. T. Beauregard: Napoleon in Gray (1955); Hamilton Basso, Beauregard: The Great Creole (1933); Alfred Roman, The Military Operations of General Beauregard . . . (1884).  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).

Shushan Airport
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