Today in New Orleans History

May 29

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Desire Streetcar Ends its Run
May 29, 1948
This streetcar named Desire lost an argument with a large truck.  Car 888 is seen here on May 13, 1947 on Jeannette St. adjacent to Carrollton Station, where it has apparently been towed.  Yes, this end of the car looks fine, but look closely through the center window.  The other end of the car is simply gone!  Rather than being repaired, the car was scrapped, the first Perley Thomas car to leave the roster. — Charles Franck photo, collection of Earl Hampton (Source:

The famous Streetcar Named Desire, i.e., the Desire Line [which began operating on October 17, 1920], was a one-way loop which ran from Canal Street down Bourbon through the Vieux Carré, down Dauphine to Desire Street, then out its namesake street to Tonti, down to France Street, and back in to Royal, finally returning through the Vieux Carré to Canal.  In the process, it passed Elysian Fields Blvd., the site of most of the action in the famous Tennessee Williams play and movie.  Incidentally, Tennessee Williams got the travel directions backwards, presumably a bit of artistic license.  Blanche enters New Orleans at the railroad station at the foot of Canal Street, and tells a helpful stranger that she has been told to take a Desire streetcar and transfer to one marked Cemeteries.  In the movie, a Desire streetcar promptly comes around the loop at the foot of Canal Street, and she boards.  In real life, Desire cars never ran to this loop.  The correct travel directions would have been to take a Cemeteries car and transfer to one named Desire!  But dramatically, it sounds better the way Williams wrote it. (From
This line ran through the French Quarter down to its namesake street in the Bywater district until May 29, 1948.  The line was converted to buses on May 30, 1948. Various proposals to revive a streetcar line with this name have been discussed in recent years, but the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority has no current plans to rebuild. For many years, a 1906 Brill-built semi-convertible streetcar was displayed in the French Market with a Desire route sign, although there is no evidence that cars of this type ever served the Desire Line. At first it was under cover; later out in the open, it deteriorated from the weather, and in the 1990s it was turned over to New Orleans RTA. It is currently housed at Carrollton Station in the car shops. 

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Photo -- New Orleans Lakefront Airport dedication of parallel runways, May 29, 1981.  Pictured are Lieutenant Governor James E. Fitzmorris, Jr., Unidentified, Congresswoman Lindy Boggs, governor Dave Treen, Unidentified, Mayor Ernest N. Moria. (NOPL)

On May 29, 1977, the First Annual Superdome KOOL Jazz Spectacular featured Aretha Franklin, Al Green, The Spinners, and The Mighty Clouds of Joy. Jimmie "J.J." Walker from the TV series "Good Times" was the guest M.C.

Photo -- NORD city-wide baseball clinic, May 29, 1948, attended by more than 2000 kids, who received instruction from members of the New Orleans Pelicans and the Memphis Chicks. After the clinic, the participants were invited to stay on to watch the game between the Pels and the Chicks.(NOPL)

Photo --Original, WPA-built Lincoln Beach bath house (May 29, 1941). With the renovation of the Beach in the early 1950s, this building was remodeled and converted to a restaurant. At this time, it was a Negro beach and recreation park between the New Orleans Airport and Little Woods under construction by WPA. Plans call for a 10 acre beach playground for negroes with paved walks and a shell parking area for automobiles. Lincoln Beach was closed in 1964 by a federal order forbidding the operation of segregated facilities and over the years, the abandoned area fell into decay (though picnickers and sometimes swimmers still occasionally used it surreptitiously).  (NOPL)

John Lenfant petitioned for a bar and grocery license for 2001 N. Rampart on May 19, 1906.

Louisiana seceded from the Union on January 26, 1861.  The state was readmitted on May 29, 1865 and military control was withdrawn in April 1877.

The La Gazette newspaper on May 29, 1823, reported: “The present jail is calculated for 40 persons and not withstanding it always contains 150 and sometimes as many as 200.”

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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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