Today in New Orleans History

November 24

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 Blaine Kern Displays His Work
November 241969
State Library of Louisiana photograph
This November 24, 1969 photograph shows Blaine Kern with an unidentified journalist in his float den.  He had established Blaine Kern Studios 22 years prior, in 1947. Few people know that, along with designing floats, Kern was the creator of City Park's Storyland characters (see December 30).
Blaine Kern grew up on the West Bank of the Mississippi.  New Orleans was always a presence and an inspiration.  Blaine’s father, Roy, was a sign painter who worked his way through the Depression painting names on the bows of freighters.  Blaine learned and watched and waited for his chance.

That chance came when Blaine’s mother was hospitalized.  The young man painted a mural in the hospital to help pay her medical bills.  The painting caught the eye of a surgeon who was captain of a Mardi Gras krewe.  One float led to another and Blaine was hired to design a complete parade.  Over time, he became the city’s leading parade creator, working with Rex, Zulu and all the legendary krewes.

Traveling in Italy, Blaine was impressed by the extravagant prop concepts and animation that marked the European style of float building.  He brought them home to New Orleans and developed the monumental scale and lavish ornamentation of today’s Mardi Gras spectaculars.

Blaine Kern is universally recognized as the man who makes Mardi Gras magic.  Under the leadership of his son, Barry Kern, Blaine Kern Studios produces floats and props for over forty New Orleans parades as well as pageants around the world—from Philadelphia to Antibes.

Kern props and sculptures enhance themed environments in Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Japan’s Toho Park and many other entertainment centers.  Corporate partners include Coca-Cola, M&M Mars and Chik-Fil-A.  (That’s a Blaine Kern cow in Atlanta Braves Stadium and on all those billboards).

Blaine Kern Studios, on the New Orleans riverfront, is the city’s largest and most diverse complex of premier event venues.  It embraces the unique attraction, Mardi Gras World, where visitors and locals alike immerse themselves in the color, music, history and magic of Mardi Gras every day of the year.

So much of what we love in Mardi Gras was created by Blaine Kern and his team of artists and magicians.  That’s why he’s earned the name by which he’s known and honored:  Mister Mardi Gras. 

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On November 24, 2008, in a 51-29 win over Green Bay, the Saints tied a franchise-record for points scored in a single game. RB Deuce McAllister broke the record for the most touchdowns scored in team history with his 54th on a three-yard run.

WCKW-AM radio station signed on in December 2, 1970 as country music outlet "WKQT" and was the sister station of WCKW-FM. These stations were founded by Sidney Joseph Levet III, a New Orleans native and an electronic engineer. In February 1990, Levet was named Broadcaster of the Year by the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters.  By 1973 both stations became simulcasts with the AM becoming "WCKW" on March 2, 1985.  After the FM flipped to active rock, the AM was sold in 2000 to River Parishes Radio who switched it to a gospel format. Covenant Network purchased the station on January 2, 2007, and began transmitting Catholic programming. The station briefly became "WLTS" on October 20, 2000. The station was re-assigned the call sign "WCKW" by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on November 24, 2000.

On November 24, 1980, after a 27-7 loss to the L.A. Rams in a Monday Night Football game at the Superdome, Saints head coach Dick Nolan was relieved of his duties.

On November 8, 1980, Fourth District Officer Gregory Neupert was found mortally wounded in Algiers. After a deadly confrontation between the alleged slayers and police, Superintendent James C. Parson resigned on November 24 amid a groundswell of protests by various groups. Deputy Superintendent Henry M. Morris was placed in charge on an interim basis. (Wiki)

John William Corrington (October 28, 1932 – November 24, 1988) was an American film and television writer, novelist, poet and lawyer. He received a B.A. degree from Centenary College, in 1956 and his M.A. from Rice University in 1960, the year he took on his first teaching position in the English Department at Louisiana State University. While on leave from LSU, Corrington obtained his D.Phil. in 1965, from the University of Sussex and then moved to Loyola University New Orleans in 1966, as an Associate Professor of English, where he also served as chair of the English Department. Corrington graduated from Tulane University Law School in 1975, joined a small New Orleans personal injury law firm, Plotkin and Bradley, and spent the next three years practicing law.  During this time Corrington published four books of poetry, Where We Are (1962), The Anatomy of Love (1964), Mr. Clean (1964) and Lines to the South (1965). With Miller Williams, Corrington edited Southern Writing in the Sixties: Fiction (1966) and Southern Writing in the Sixties: Poetry (1967). Corrington also published four books of short stories, The Lonesome Traveler (1968), The Actes and Monuments (1978), The Southern Reporter (1981) and All My Trials (1987) and four novels, And Wait for the Night (1964), The Upper Hand (1967), The Bombardier (1970) and Shad Sentell (1984). He won an Award in Fiction from the National Endowment for the Arts and had a story included in the O. Henry Award Stories (1976) and three in the Best American Short Stories series, (1973, 1976 and 1977). With his wife, Joyce Hooper Corrington, Corrington wrote five screenplays, Von Richthofen and Brown (1969), The Omega Man (1970), Boxcar Bertha (1971), The Arena (1972) and Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973) and a television film, The Killer Bees (1974).  Corrington gave up the practice of law in 1978 and he and his wife, Joyce Corrington, became head writers for daytime serials. The Corringtons scripted Search for Tomorrow (1978–80), Another World (1980), Texas (1980–81), General Hospital (1982; hired by Gloria Monty), Capitol (1982–83, hired by John Conboy) and One Life to Live (1984). They also wrote and produced Superior Court, a syndicated series (1986–89). Texas and Superior Court were each nominated twice for a Daytime Emmy Award. During this time, the Corringtons also published So Small a Carnival (1986), A Project Named Desire (1987), A Civil Death (1987) and The White Zone (1990). After Bill Corrington's death, his novella, "Decoration Day", was adapted as a Hallmark Hall of Fame television special (1990), which was nominated for an Emmy and won a Christopher Award and a Golden Globe award. The Collected Stories of John William Corrington was published in 1990, by the University of Missouri Press. (From wikipedia)

Photograph -- dedication of Rosenwald Gymnasium, New Orleans Recreation Department, November 24, 1984.

Photograph -- dedication ceremonies for the Simon Bolivar monument, on the site of the old Southern Railroad Station at Basin and Canal, November 24, 1957.

On November 24, 1917, the Original Dixieland Jazz Band recorded "Oriental Jazz" (or "Jass").

Thomas Sully (November 24, 1855—March 14, 1939) was a largely self-trained architect based in New Orleans.  Among his designs were Memorial Hall of the Louisiana Historical Association, linked to the adjacent Howard Library, the Hennen Building, the original Whitney Building, Milliken Memorial Hospital, and the third St. Charles Hotel building, The Columns Hotel at 3811 St. Charles(one of a few still standing), Valence Street Baptist Church, and  the Grand Victorian Bed & Breakfast at 2727 St. Charles Ave. He was a grand-nephew and namesake of the painter Thomas Sully. He was a member of the Boston Club, the Elks, and the Southern Yacht Club. (Wiki)

The New Orleans Bee (French: L’Abeille de la Nouvelle-Orléans, Spanish: La Abeja de Nueva Orleans) was a newspaper in New Orleans, Louisiana, founded on September 1, 1827, by François Delaup and originally located at 94 St. Peter, between Royal and Bourbon. Initially published three times a week in French, an English section was added on November 24, 1827, and in this form it was the most successful of New Orleans daily newspapers in the middle of the nineteenth century. The English section was abandoned in 1872 because of increased competition from English-language newspapers, but later restored. A Spanish-language section (Abeja) was published in 1829-1830. Until at least 1897 L'Abeille remained "almost certainly the daily newspaper of choice" for French officials in New Orleans. The title was purchased in 1921 by The Times-Picayune and was published weekly until it closed in 1923. It was by some accounts the last French-language newspaper in New Orleans, ceasing publication on December 27, 1923, after ninety-six years; others assert that it was outlasted by Le Courrier de la Nouvelle Orleans, which continued until 1955.

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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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