Today in New Orleans History

October 5

Milneburg Joys

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In anticipation of the October 5, 1961 opening of the Playboy Club  in New Orleans, on June 27, 1961,  an ad ran in the Times-Picayune, seeking "attractive, intellegent,  personable young ladies of legal age and good moral character" to work at the Playboy Club at 725 Iberville Street.  The advertisement, which ran on the amusement page, described the clubs as "distinguished private key clubs"

 Lakefront Before Pontchartrain Beach
October 5, 1927
TodayInNewOrleansHistory/1927October5Milneburg.gif TodayInNewOrleansHistory/1941May28PB.gif
Before and after photographs on the lakefront. Before view (10/5/1927) was taken from the Milneburg lighthouse looking to the east. The after view shows the same area with the new amusement park and its WPA-built bathing beach, bath house under construction, and one of two light towers built by the WPA for night swimming. (Text and photos from the New Orleans Public Library)

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October 5th marks the annual Feast Day of 5 Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos, who was assigned, in 1866, to the Redemptorist community in New Orleans.  He also served as pastor of St. Mary of the Assumption parish. He died after contracting yellow fever, on October 4, 1867, at the age of 48 years and 9 months.  Pope John Paul II beatified Father Seelos in St. Peter's Square on April 9, 2000.The National Shrine of Blessed Francis Seelos, C.Ss.R is located at St. Mary's Assumption Church.


Established by executive order under President Barack Obama on October 5, 2010, the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force exists to "address the damage caused by the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, address the longstanding ecological decline, and begin moving toward a more resilient Gulf Coast Ecosystem."


The Martin Luther King Branch of the New Orleans Public Libary opened in 1995 at 1611 Caffin Avenue in the Lower 9th Ward.  Considered completely destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, the building, housing both the library and a school, was gutted and rebuilt. The library reopened on October 5, 2007 as a temporary branch funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Gulf Coast Libraries Project.


On Wednesday, October 5, 2005, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Mayor Ray Nagin announced that, due to lack of funds, New Orleans would lay off 3,000 non-essential employees from the city's payroll, or about half of its workforce, over the next two weeks.


Banjoist Emanuel Sayle, born on January 31, 1907, perormed with William Ridgely's Tuxedo Orchestra and worked with Fate Marable, Armand Piron, and Sidney Desvigne on riverboats up and down the Mississippi River. In 1929 he participated in recordings with the Jones-Collins Astoria Hot Eight.  He moved to Chicago in 1933, where he led his own group and worked often as an accompanist on blues and jazz recordings with Roosevelt Sykes and others. He returned to New Orleans in 1949, playing with George Lewis (with whom he toured Japan in 1963-64) and Sweet Emma Barrett. He played with Punch Miller in Cleveland in 1960, then played again in Chicago in the house band at the Jazz Ltd. club from 1965-67. Returning once more to New Orleans in 1968, he played with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Sayles recorded with Peter Bocage, Kid Thomas Valentine, Earl Hines, and Louis Cottrell, Jr.  He died on October 5, 1986.


Born in New Orleans on December 11, 1897, Herbert William Christenberry attended New York University and served in the United States Navy during World War I (1917 to 1918), received an LL.B. from Loyola University New Orleans School of Law in 1924, and was in private practice in New Orleans from 1924 to 1933. He was an assistant attorney of the Board of Commissioners, Port of New Orleans, Louisiana from 1933 to 1935. He was a deputy commissioner on the Louisiana Debt Moratorium Commission in 1935, and was an assistant district attorney of the Parish of Orleans, Louisiana from 1935 to 1937. He was an assistant U.S. Attorney of the Eastern District of Louisiana from 1937 to 1942, and was then the United States Attorney for that district from 1942 to 1947.  On July 11, 1947, Christenberry was nominated by President Harry S. Truman to a seat on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana vacated by Adrian J. Caillouet. Christenberry was confirmed by the Senate on December 18, 1947, and received his commission on December 20, 1947. He served as chief judge from 1949 to 1967, and continued on the court thereafter until his death on October 5, 1975 in Kentwood, Louisiana.


Born in New Orleans on November 15, 1930, Harold Joseph Bevan played Major League Baseball for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1961.  He went on to become a scout for the Atlanta Braves and died from a kidney infection in New Orleans at the age of 37 on October 5, 1968

The Southern Society for Clinical Investigation was founded as the Southern Society for Clinical Research on October 5, 1946, at a meeting in New Orleans attended by representatives from nineteen medical schools in the southern U.S. Its first president was Tinsley Randolph Harrison, and it began holding annual scientific meetings in 1947. The organization was renamed in 1966 to its present name, in order to avoid confusion with the Southern Section of the American Federation for Clinical Research. In 1984, it became the sponsor of the American Journal of the Medical Sciences.

Mel Ott Sets Major League Baseball Record
October 5, 1929 



Gretna born right fielder Mel Ott set the National League Baseball record for most walks in a doubleheader with six, on October 5, 1929 and did it again on April 30, 1944. When he appeared on the July 2, 1945 edition of Time Magazine the cover story included “In 1941 Brooklyn won the pennant and the Giants got a new manager: Melvin Thomas Ott, the club's slugging right fielder with a peculiar but potent cocked-leg stand. The feud was and still is in flower, but hard as they tried, the Flatbush faithful could not hate stumpy, boyish Mel Ott.  A soft spoken, brown-eyed little (5 ft. 9 in.) guy with a passive Southern accent and an active taste for Crayfish Bisque New Orleans style, Playing Manager Mel has long been a favorite of fans everywhere. More important than his batting records, he had something that made people like him."

Melvin Thomas Ott was born on March 2, 1909 and later nicknamed "Master Melvin". played his entire career for the New York Giants (1926–1947).  In his 22-season career, Ott batted .304 with 511 home runs, 1,860 RBIs, 1,859 runs, 2,876 hits, 488 doubles, 72 triples, 89 stolen bases, a .414 on base percentage and a .533 batting average.  He was the first National League player to surpass 500 home runs.
He was a 12-time major league All-Star (from 1934 to 1945) and was named four times to the All-Star Teams of The Sporting News (1934-36 and 1938) He is one of only six players to have spent over 20 years with one team.  In 1999, he ranked number 42 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and he was a nominee for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.


"With the fans at Yankee Stadium & Polo Grounds - Chesterfield is by far the largest selling cigarette - Always buy Chesterfield."

Mel Ott managed the New York Giants for seven years between 1942 and 1948. It was in reference to Ott's supposedly easy-going managing style that then-Dodgers manager Leo Durocher made the oft-quoted and somewhat out-of-context comment, "Nice guys finish last!" Ott was the first manager to be ejected from both games of a doubleheader, when the Giants lost both games to the Pittsburgh Pirates on June 9 1946.

His number "4" was retired by the Giants in 1949, and it is posted on the facade of the upper deck in the left field corner of AT&T Park. He was selected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1951 with 87% of the vote. 

After his playing career was over, Ott broadcast baseball on the Mutual radio network in 1955. From 1956 to 1958, Ott teamed with Van Patrick to broadcast the games of the Detroit Tigers on radio and television.

Ott died in an auto accident, which also seriously injured his wife, on November 21, 1958 in New Orleans.  He is interred in Metairie Cemetery. He is  remembered in his hometown of Gretna, where a park is named in his honor. Since 1959, the National League has honored the league's annual home run champion with the Mel Ott Award.

In the 1989 film Field of Dreams, Ott was one of several deceased players portrayed in farmer Ray Kinsella's Iowa cornfield. In 2006, Ott was featured on a U.S. postage stamp, as one of a block of four honoring "Baseball Sluggers" — the others being Mickey Mantle, Hank Greenberg, and Roy Campanella. In announcing the stamps, the U.S. Postal Service stated, "Remembered as powerful hitters who wowed fans with awesome and often record-breaking home runs, these four men were also versatile players who helped to lead their teams to victory and set impressive standards for subsequent generations". Ott is also remembered in the name of the Little League of Amherst, New York which was named for him in 1959.

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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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