Today in New Orleans History

October 13

Milneburg Joys

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 Stephen Ambrose Dies
October 13, 2002  


Photo by Jim Wallace (Smithsonian Institution)

Historian and biographer of U.S. Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard NixonStephen Edward Ambrose was a longtime professor of history at the University of New Orleans and the author of many best selling volumes of American popular history. He founded the Eisenhower Center at the University of New Orleans in 1989, serving as its director until 1994. The Center's first efforts, which Ambrose initiated, involved the collection of oral histories from World War II veterans about their experiences, particularly any participation in D-Day. By the time of publication of Ambrose's D-Day, June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II, in 1994, the Center had collected more than 1,200 oral histories. Ambrose donated $150,000 to the Center in 1998 to foster additional efforts to collect oral histories from World War II veterans

Ambrose's work for the Eisenhower Center, specifically his work with D-Day veterans, inspired him to found the National D-Day Museum in New Orleans. Ambrose initiated fundraising by donating $500,000. He secured large contributions from the federal government, state of Louisiana, Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, and many smaller donations from former students, who answered a plea made by Ambrose in the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

A longtime smoker, Ambrose was diagnosed with lung cancer in April 2002. His health deteriorated rapidly, and seven months after the diagnosis he died, at the age of 66. 

In 2003, Congress designated the museum as "America's National World War II Museum," acknowledging an expanded scope and mission for the museum. "The Stephen E. Ambrose Memorial Fund continues to support the development of the museum's Center for Study of the American Spirit, its educational programs and oral history and publication initiatives."

The Ambrose Professor of History was established at the University of New Orleans after his death. The position is reserved for a military historian. (Wiki) 

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In December 2005 the Tulane University board of directors announced that the university would be reorganized on July 1, 2006, to accommodate needed changes due to losses following Hurricane Katrina. The board also approved the recommendation of a special Tulane Renewal task force to name a revised, co-educational, single undergraduate college -- Newcomb-Tulane College. The new college within the university is not strictly a successor to Newcomb College. Arguing the "renewal" plan violated the donor's original intention of the gift, Newcomb's heirs filed and lost two suits against the university to invoke the restrictions of Newcomb's lifetime gifts and bequest in her will. The university stated that by naming Tulane her universal legatee in her will, Josephine Louise Newcomb placed no conditions on the use of her donations, but entrusted her gifts to the discretion of the Administrators of Tulane University. In 2008 Susan Henderson Montgomery, a great niece of Josephine Louise Newcomb and the plaintiff claiming to be her successor, after losing in New Orleans civil district court, appealed to the state. On October 13, 2010, a state appeals court sided 3-2 with Tulane University. On February 18, 2011, the Louisiana Supreme Court voted, 4 to 2, with one abstention, to let a lower court's ruling in favor of Tulane stand.

During a press conference held in Gallier Hall on October 13, 1994, Mayor Morial announced that his search for a new police superintendent had resulted in the selection of Richard Pennington, an assistant chief with 26 years of experience with the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C.

The Riverfront Expressway 


The Times-Picayune graphic of the proposed Riverfront Expressway, Feb. 15, 1965.

The Louisiana Highway Department (predecessor to the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development) hired Robert Moses as a consultant in 1946 to examine New Orleans' traffic and propose solutions. His proposals included a 40-foot high, 108-foot wide freeway running south 3.5 miles from I-10 exit 237 near Elysian Fields Ave, following Elysian Fields at ground level to the riverfront, and continuing southwest, elevated to the US 90 Mississippi Bridge approach. There it would turn southwest and run to a point near Lafayette Street, where ramps would connect to the Greater New Orleans Bridge (U.S. Highway 90 Business). An extension, never part of the Interstate Highway System, was to continue west to meet the Earhart Expressway (Louisiana Highway 3139).It was not added to the Interstate Highway System as an urban route in the 1950s due to a lack of funding, but by 1961 it was being considered for addition. One proposal to gain the mileage was to shift Interstate 10 to the Riverfront route, but eventually, in 1964, the Interstate 420 bypass of Monroe was removed from the Interstate System and the mileage transferred to the Riverfront Expressway project. It was officially added to the Interstate Highway System on October 13, 1964, as Interstate 310.  From 1964 to 1969, it remained designated as Interstate 310.

Known as the Vieux Carré Riverfront Expressway, the plan was ill-received by New Orleanians who fought to prevent its construction through the French Quarter.  The voice of the people was heard and the elevated expressway was never built.  The freeway was removed from the Interstate System on August 22, 1969. Its mileage was used in part for a new southern bypass of New Orleans—Interstate 410—which was itself never completed   However, one component of the original plan, a six-lane tunnel, 690 feet long by 98 feet wide, under the Rivergate Convention Center (now Harrah's New Orleans Casino) was built and is presently used for valet parking. 

The Oaks on North Claiborne Avenue, August 29, 1968 (Photograph by Joseph C. Davi from the New Orleans Public Library)

While the French Quarter was spared from the intrusion of the interstate highway, Treme was not.  The width of Claiborne Avenue provided the second most convenient route for its construction.  The opposition of the largely African-American residents of Treme did not overcome the alternate route of an elevated expressway there.  The lush oak trees (pictured here in  August 1966 were destroyed to make way for the highway and the neighborhood was changed forever.  (See also October 12).

Meteorologist Isaac Monroe Cline, born in Madisonville, Tennessee on October 13, 1861, entered the U. S. Weather Service (then Signal Corps, U. S. Army) on July 7, 1882, beame assistant observor at Little Rock, Arkansas from 1883-1885, was in charge of the observation station at  Abilene, Texas (1885-1889) and in in Galveston (1889-1891). He was the local forecaster and sectional director of the Texas Section Climatological Service, then the Weather Bureau of U. S. Department of Agriculture (1891-1901) New Orleans. From 1901-1935, he was in charge of forecast center for Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana and in charge of cooperation between Mexican Weather Service and U. S. Weather Bureau.  When he retired on December 31, 1935 he was the principal meteorologist for the U. S. Weather Service and had devoted 53 years in service to the government. His work included forcasting during the Mississippi River Flood of 1927.  Instructor Climatology, University of Texas, 1897-1901; Fellow, American Meteorological Society, president, 1934-1935; Tulane University, honorary Sc. D., 1934. New Orleans Academy of Sciences, president, 1934-1935; American Geological Society, A.A.A.S.; member, National Institute of Social Sciences; Pi Gamma Mu; delegate, Second Pan-Am Scientific Congress, Washington, D. C., 1915; member, Union Géodésique et Géophysic, Commission pour l'Etude des Raz de Marée; past commander, San Felipe de Austin Commandery #1, Knights Templar, of Galveston, Tex.; honorary curator of paintings, Louisiana State Museum in New Orleans; Conglist Club; National Arts Club of New York; the Art Club of Washington, D. C., and the New Orleans Press Club. Author of many bulletins and published articles on climate of the Southwest. Author of Tropical Cyclones. Made a special study of art and antiques. Brought together through the years and restored a notable collection of American paintings, some of which are in the Andrew Mellon Collection and other museums. Also a collection of Chinese bronzes, which was presented to the Delgado Museum of Art and which is lost. Restored many paintings until 1952. Author of Art and Artists in New Orleans during the Last Century (1920); also Contemporary Art and Artists in New Orleans (1924), both in pamphlet form. He died in New Orleans on August 3, 1955 and is interred in Metairie Cemetery.  (From

The New Orleans Greys were organized in New Orleans on October 13, 1835, at the Coffee house and Arcade of Thomas Banks. Adolphus Sterne, a Nacogdoches businessman, favored the Texas Revolution and with approval from the Texas provisional government, financed the operation. The Greys were a Military volunteer unit of two militia companies that totaling about 120 men that had formed for service in the Texas War of Independence. Their name came from the grey military fatigues they wore.

Sister Thérèse of the Cross (Julie Thérèse Chevrel), born in Fougères, France on October 13, 1806, entered newly established Third Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (later known as Sisters of St. Martin) at Tours in 1824; served as mistress of novices and superior. Among those dispersed after 1830 revolution; resided in Paris, 1831-1833. Called to Louisiana by Bishop Léo de Neckère (q.v.) to help with growing Catholic educational effort. Arrived in New Orleans, November 1, 1833, with Sister Augustin Clerc. Directed small Catholic school in Assumption Parish, La., 1834-1838; called by Bishop Antoine Blanc to staff school for young ladies of color on Bayou Road, New Orleans, 1838. Resided on this property adjoining St. Augustine Church (1841) for 50 years. Superior general of Sisters of Mount Carmel of Louisiana from 1833 to her retirement in 1885. Under her leadership, Sisters received official approval as a Louisiana Catholic religious congregation, 1859, adapted their statutes and rule to conditions in Louisiana, and grew from 2 to 78 professed Sisters by 1885. Under Sister Thérèse's leadership, the Sisters of Mount Carmel pioneered Catholic education in Lafayette (1846), Thibodaux (1855), Algiers (1857), New Iberia (1870), St. Charles (1874), St. John (1876), Paincourtville (1876), Washington (1879), and Abbeville (1885) and took charge of Mt. Carmel Orphan Asylum on Piety Street, New Orleans (1869). Authored brief "History of the Third Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel" and a short spiritual treatise on Carmelite life (1879). Died, New Orleans, December 21, 1888; interred St. Louis Cemetery III.  (Source:

Philanthropist, school founder of Christian, inventor, and industrialist John Baldwin was born in Bransford, Connecticut on October 13, 1799.  Founded grindstone industry; devised uses of water and steam power; built sawmills, gristmills, railroad; promoted development of Berea. Made fortune; invested largely in Methodist schools: Baldwin University, Berea, 1846; Baker University, Baldwin City, Kansas, 1859. Bought Darby Plantation, St. Mary Parish, La., 1867; founded Baldwin Seminary; helped Freedman's Society secure land and establish Godman's School; later became Gilbert Industrial School, Gilbert Academy, moved to New Orleans; became part of Straight University, which combined with Dillard University After 1934, original plant operated by Sager-Brown Foundation as school and home for orphan and local blacks. Founded Baldwin Boys' High School and Baldwin Girls' High School in Bangalore, India, for children of Methodist missionaries. Had Puritan upbringing: opposed slavery, alcohol, tobacco; favored Christianity, education of women, poor, minorities. Operated plantation, sugar mill, sawmill, Baldwin, La., until death December 28, 1884; interred grounds of Darby House; body later moved to Berea, Ohio. J.C.D.† Sources: A. R. Webber, Biography of John Baldwin, Sr. (1925); Virginia Gatch Markham, John Baldwin and Son Milton Come to Kansas: An Early History of Baldwin City, Baker University and Methodism in Kansas (1982). (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).

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