Today in New Orleans History

November 26

Shushan Airport Milneburg Joys

Ostrich Farm For Sale
615 City Park Avenue
November 26, 1915
In 1903 the City Park Board of Commissioners announced that an ostrich farm would "Likely be located at City Park" after a New York business proposed a 2 to 3 acre farm on undeveloped park-owned property which would be home for 40 ostriches.  This never came to be.  In 1910 the board turned down a similar proposal by Jacksonville, Florida entrepreneur William W. Ford.  But in In 1914 L.M. Hughes presented a proposal to develop an ostrich farm (50 ostriches) on one acre of undeveloped park-owned property adjoining Holt Cemetery on the upper side of the Orleans Canal near the park's shooting range.  His $40,000 investment would include the construction of pens, fences, coops, a feather workshop, and an office building.  In October 1914 the board approved the proposal with glowing praises that the farm would make City Park more attractive and would become a "showplace and a commercial venture".  By November two acres were set aside across the Orleans Canal from the main park were adult ostriches were to be placed, eggs exhibited, and chicks hatched and raised in what was "expected to be a great attraction" according to the local newspaper. 
In February 1915 the farm finally opened as "Hughes Farm".  John B. Cefalu had organized the business appointing Hughes the vice-president and J.F. Gulacker the secretary/treasurer.  With much fanfare ostriches Antony (valued at $8000 according to Hughes) along with Cleopatra, Marcus Brutus, Portia and 48 other African ostriches which had been transported from El Paso, Texas made their debut to the public on the far eastern edge of park property, two blocks from the Canal Street cemeteries. Again the City Park board members sang its praises..."expected to prove the biggest attraction the popular resort ever has offered the people".  Hughes chimed in, adding that he would "get a skilled jockey for Brutus, and show you what the bird can do in the way of smashing speed records.  There isn't a trotting or running horse that can touch him on long or short distance".  The birds enjoyed accommodations under a South African-style bungalow and in 12 pens.  An ostrich egg, weighing 4.5 pounds, was on display. Admission was 10 cents.
In May advertisements began appearing in the Times-Picayune touting a sales-room and factory farm where "Old feathers [were] made new" and a city store at 635 Canal Street.  Brutus (and other male ostriches) pulled men in harnesses everyday at 3, 4, 5, and 6 P.M.  Meanwhile, at the Spanish Fort pavilion, Miss Myrtle Howard performed the "ostrich walk" and ostrich glide" (after having spent much time at the farm observing the birds) in Uncle Hiram's Barn Dance act which allegedly attracted 1000 to 2000 people.  Eggs laid on the farm were displayed at Spanish Fort and the arrival of new chicks was anxiously awaited but the first ostrich ever born in New Orleans hatched at the farm on the City Park property. 
On Friday, November 26, 1915 a receiver's sale offered all property at 615 City Park Avenue, including the birds, chicks,  racers, wagons, harnesses, office furniture and feathers.   The final fate of the New Orleans Ostrich Farm is unknown to this researcher but In December the City Park board allowed an indefinite lease to the farm managers, noting that the enterprise was an "educational institution".  In 1916 homes for sale ads noted properties near the farm which illustrates its popularity at the time.
Note in the 1915 postcard below that the roof reads "N.O. Ostrich Farm --615 City Park Ave". New Orleans Ostrich Farm Inc. 615 City Park Ave.  (From the LSU Libraries Postcard Collections/Louisiana State University Libraries, Special Collections)
Photo above from the New Orleans Public Library.

To receive an update for each day in New Orleans history,  join our facebook page - Today in New Orleans History

If you have enjoyed these daily updates, please consider these books by Catherine Campanella for your holiday gift giving:


To raise the money to re-publish a new, updated edition of My Awakening, David Duke instigated a 21-day fundraising drive on November 26, 2007 where he had to raise "$25,344 by a December 17 deadline for the printers."  Duke stated that this drive was necessary because the work "has become the most important book in the entire world in the effort to awaken our people for our heritage and freedom."

November. 26, 2000 - Saints beat the defending Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams on the road, 31-24 for franchise's 200th all-time victory

November 26, 1984 - Saints owner John W. Mecom Jr. announced that the Saints were for sale for the non-negotiable price of $75 million

The Town of Metairie Ridge

Some Metairie residents lobbied to remove the gambling houses which came before them from their new upscale neighborhoods. C. P. Aicklen, co-owner of Borden-Aicklen Auto Supply Company was selected as chairman of the anti-gambling Metropolitan Municipal League which circulated a petition for incorporation as a town disassociated from Jefferson Parish government officials who flagrantly turned a blind eye to gambling and liquor laws.

The boundaries of the new town would be Shrewsbury Road, the Illinois-Central Rail Road tracks, the Bonnabel Canal, and the Orleans Parish line. This would include the Beverly Gardens, Metairie Inn, Victory Inn, Tranchina Night Club, the Metairie Kennel Club, and the DeLimon dog track – these contributed the vast majority of taxes collected in the area. Incorporation as a town would allow more tax revenue for municipal improvements, which made the prospect a double-edged sword regarding pro and anti-gambling interests.

Although 7,500 people lived in the district only some 900 were registered voters whose signatures could carry weight on the petition which required a two-thirds majority. 500 voters purportedly signed the petition for a city/town charter.

Governor Henry L. Fuqua received the petition and approved it in 1926. The new town of Metairie Ridge, Louisiana would be headed by Aicklen as mayor, W. J. Dwyers as marshall, F. W. Bogel as clerk, and E. Howard McCaleb as city attorney. The first ordinance adopted by Mayor Aicklen and endorsed by new Governor O. H. Simpson created the City of Metairie on July 9, 1927. Aicklen announced that he would shut down gambling houses by working with the new municipal courts.

On November 26, 1928 the Supreme Court of Louisiana decided that the City of Metairie Ridge had been illegally incorporated because not enough signatures were included on the petition. Jefferson Parish District Attorney Archie T. Higgens and Judge L. Robert Rivarde along with pro-gambling factions had prevailed. In December 1928 the city was dissolved and gambling remained active although largest operations moved to Jefferson Highway and River Road. In January 1929 taxes collected by the now defunct city, amounting to $22,00, were turned over to Jefferson Parish. #036 Aicklen LLM

Marie Eugène Berjot, physician, writer, painter.  Born in Valence, France, April 22, 1816; son of Vincent Berjot and Jeanne Bray.  Claimed to be the godson of the Marquis de Lafayette.  Probably educated at the University of Paris Faculty of Medicine.  Probably served as medical officer in French Army in Algeria.  Married, two children who did not survive him.  First visit to United States:  1838.  First recorded presence in New Orleans:  1869.  First wife died; second marriage, July 28, 1884, to Fannie Reinack (1846-1927), French-born daughter of Valentin de Reinack and Babetha Daniel.  No children.  Practicing physician; published treatise on mesmerism, Manuel historique, élémentaire et pratique de magnétisme animal … (1858).  Author of thirteen short stories ("Histoire d'une vieille femme," "Episode de la Révolution de 1830," "Un Voyage à la Nouvelle Orléans," etc.) and one poem in French, published mainly at his own expense.  First prize for best historical painting in the United States at the Fifth Grand State Fair of Louisiana, December 2, 1871.  Died, New Orleans, November 26, 1898; interred Metairie Cemetery.  B.S.O.  Sources:  Naturalization petition; New Orleans city directories; marriage license; marriage certificate; New Orleans Daily Picayune, December 3, 1871; obituary, November 28, 1898; will; epitaph.  From


To receive an update for each day in New Orleans history,  join our facebook page - Today in New Orleans History

If you have enjoyed these daily updates, you might also enjoy these books by Catherine Campanella:



You Can Support this Site by Clicking on & Shopping from the Amazon Ad/Link below -- and it won't cost you a penny more:

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
To receive an update for each day in New Orleans history,  join our facebook page - Today in New Orleans History.