Today in New Orleans History

October 10

Milneburg Joys

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Milneburg -- Pontchartrain Beach

Left: "Bird Cage Cottage" and other camps at Milneburg on October 10, 1923.  Right: The after view on May 28, 1941 shows the same area,
now filled and the site of the Army's recreation center and the new Pontchartrain Beach amusement park.  Photos from the New Orleans Public Library

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As Hurricane Katrina approached, tolls were halted on the Crescent City Connection on August 26 to aid in speed of evacuation of the Metro area. Toll collection resumed on October 10, 2005.

Allowing only one lane of traffic in each direction, the east span of I-10 Twin Span Bridge over Lake Pontchartrain was reopened after Hurricane Katrina on October 10, 2005.  The Louisiana Department of Transportation & Development (DOTD) had accepted a bid of $30.9 million from Boh Brothers Construction Company on September 9 to reconstruct the bridges. Phase 1 of the project was to reestablish two-way traffic on the eastbound span within 45 days. Scavenged bridge segments from the westbound span were used to fill in the gaps in the eastbound span.

Barbara Boggs Sigmund, Mayor of the Borough of Princeton, New Jersey and daughter of Congressman Hale Boggs and Congresswoman Lindy Boggs, died on October 10, 1990 of cancer, at age 51, following an 8-year battle.  In 2005 she was postumously inducted into the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame.

Born in New Orleans on July 25, 1899, musician Johnny Wiggs (Born John Wigginton Hyman) started his music career on the violin, then the cornet.  In the late 1920s he took a job as a teacher, adopted the stage name "Johnny Wiggs), and moonlighted in New Orleans jazz clubs at night. He made his first recordings as "John Hyman's Bayou Stompers" in the late 1920s.  In the 1940s he quit teaching (after having trained a young Pete Fountain), led several bands, made some recordings, and became an an important figure in the revival and preservation of the local music by founding the New Orleans Jazz Club.  Hyman remained active until the 1970s.  He passed away on in New Orleans on October 10, 1977.

Singer Constance Foore "Connee" Boswell, born in Kansas City, Missouri on December 3, 1907, together with her sisters Martha and Vet (Helvetia), formed the Boswell Sisters in 1929 -- the nationally popular close harmony 1930 singing group which was considered the model for the Andrews Sisters.  They had previously played in the New Orleans Symphony Orchestra, but the recording successes of their trio took them on a tour of Europe in 1933 and again in 1935.  Though confined to a wheelchair by polio, she went on to become a star in several Hollywood musicals and recorded duets with Bing Crosby on the Decca label.  Her sisters retired from show business in 1936.  Connee appeared on radio and television with entertainers such as Perry Como, Steve Allen, Arthur Godfrey, and Frank Sinatra. She died in New York City on October 10, 1976. (From

Born on December 31, 1868 in Ascension Parish, musician Claiborne Williams worked the Werlein Music Company on Canal Street, where he repaired musical instruments. At the age of 17 he led a band at the Wilbert Theatre in Baton Rouge. At 18 he was also leader of the St. Joseph Brass Band, and was a music teacher in the nearby towns of Donaldsonville where notable pupils included Louis Nelson and Oscar "Papa" Celestin.  Williams' musical career continued well into the early 1940s. Members of the Claiborne Williams band included Dave Bartholomew, "Papa" John Joseph, Richard Jones, and Walter Lewis.  Claiborne Williams died in New Orleans on October 10, 1952.  (NOPL)

Grammy Award winning Drummer and singer Cyril Garrett Neville was born in New Orleans on October 10, 1948. In 1970 he released his debut solo single, “Gossip”/“Tell Me What’s On Your Mind,” which included backing music by brother Art’s band, the Meters. He then joined the band which toured with the Rolling Stones World Tour in 197.  He has co-written songs with Bono of U2, Taj Mahal, Daniel Lanois among others and is featured on recordings by Bob Dylan, Robbie Robertson, Dr. John, Tab Benoit, Edie Brickell, and Willie Nelson.  Cyril has been a member of Galactic, the Voice of the Wetlands All-stars, The Neville Brothers, and his own group Tribe 13. He has also appeared in HBO’s series Treme.

Songwriter and keyboard player Ed "Zeke" Volker, born on October 10, 1948, was a founding member of the long-running (33 years) local band The Radiators and was its major contributing writer.

Jazz drummer Edward Joseph Blackwell, born in New Orleans on October 10, 1929, played in a bebop quintet during the 1950s with pianist Ellis Marsalis and clarinetist Alvin Batiste. They toured briefly with Ray Charles. Blackwell achieved national attention as the drummer with Ornette Coleman's quartet around 1960, when he took over for Billy Higgins in the quartet's legendary stand at the Five Spot in New York City. He is known as one of the great innovators of the free jazz of the 1960s, fusing New Orleans second line style and African rhythms with bebop. In the 1970s and 1980s Blackwell toured and recorded extensively with fellow Ornette Quartet veterans Don Cherry, Charlie Haden, and Dewey Redman in the quartet Old and New Dream. He died on  October 7, 1992.

At the Port of New Orleans, screwmen (responsible for tightly compressing and packing cotton bales into the holds of ships) ended a strike for better working conditions which begand on October 1, 1903. Shippers had experienced more than $400,000 in losses and the workers lost $50,000 in wages after they prevented any bales of cotton from leaving the port between October 1 and October 10, 1903.

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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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