Today in New Orleans History

October 7

Milneburg Joys

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Steamboat Washington Arrives in New Orleans
October 7, 1816


Commemorative Stamp Issued March 3, 1989. Watercolor by Richard Schlecht.

On October 7, 1816 the Washington, built by Henry M. Shreve, was the first double-decker. steamboat to arrive in New Orleans and became the model for the classic style of Mississippi river boats -- flat-bottomed, two stories, steam-powered paddle wheel mounted on the stern, two smoke-stacks. First used to carry cargo it was soon open for passenger transportation. The Washington moved at lightning speed compared to other boats on the rivers -- 16 mph upstream and downstream at as much as 25 mph.

Shreve launched the boat earlier that year on the Monongahela River just above Pittsburgh. Shreve's cleverly designed Washington had all the features that would soon come to characterize the classic Mississippi riverboat: a two-story deck, a stern-mounted paddle wheel powered by a high-pressure steam engine, a shallow, flat-bottomed hull, and a pilothouse framed by two tall chimneys. Perfectly designed for the often-shallow western rivers like the Mississippi and Missouri, the Washington proved itself on its inaugural voyage the following spring. Steaming upriver against the current with full cargo, the Washington reached Louisville in only 25 days, demonstrating that the powerful new generation of steamboats could master the often-treacherous currents of the mighty western rivers. Soon the Washington began to offer regular passenger and cargo service between New Orleans and Louisville.

With the brilliant success of the Washington, other similarly designed steamboats followed. At the peak of the era of the paddle wheelers in 1850, 740 steamboats regularly moved up and down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, carrying three million passengers annually. Had it not been for the ready availability of this rapid transportation technology, settlement of the western United States would undoubtedly have been far slower. Many emigrants setting out for the far western part of the U.S. often cut the first stage of their long journeys short by booking passage on a steamboat to the overland trailheads at Independence, Saint Joseph, and Council Bluffs. Gold seekers heading for Montana after 1867 could even take steamboats all the way up the Missouri to Fort Benton, just below the Great Falls, cutting months off the time required for an overland journey.  By the late 19th century, though, the golden age of the western steamboat was over, a victim of cheap rail transport and diesel-powered towboats and barges. But in its era, the steamboat was as important as any explorer or trailblazer in opening the American West to widespread settlement. (Wiki)

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As of September 2013 Drew Brees held the record for consecutive games with at least one touchdown pass which stood at 54. He set the record on October 7, 2012 when he surpassed the streak of 47 consecutive games by Johnny Unitas which had stood since December 11, 1960.  Unitas had held the record for nearly 52 years when he surpassed Cecil Isbell's streak of 23 which had been established as the record in 1942. Brees record streak of 54 games ended on November 29, 2012 against the Atlanta Falcons.  Brees also holds the record for consecutive uninterrupted games with a touchdown pass including playoffs with 49, surpassing Brett Favre's record of 39. Tom Brady holds the record for most consecutive regular season uninterrupted games with at least one touchdown pass with 50, setting the record on 2 December 2012, surpassing Brees' 43. Both players had surpassed Favre's record of 36, set in 2004.

On October 7, 2012, Marques Colston broke Joe Horn's record for most touchdown catches by a Saints receiver, catching three touchdowns to make 52 for his career. (Wiki)

Marlin Gusman graduated from Jesuit High School in New Orleans, the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce at the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, and Loyola University School of Law. He served as director of the Department of Property Management in Mayor Dutch Morial's administration and was the city's Chief Administrative Officer during most of Mayor Marc H. Morial's terms in office. In 2000 he took a leave of absence from the CAO position to run for the District D City Council seat. He defeated Joyce Glapion in the October 7, 2000 election. Marlin Gusman resigned from the Council on November 18, 1994 following his election as Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff. (NOPL)

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.

Clergeryman Lucien Joseph Caillouet, born in Thibodaux on Decmber 29, 1894 was the eighth child of Judge Louis Philip Caillouet and Marie Adèle Lagarde. He entered St. Joseph Seminary, St. Benedict, La., in September,  1907. The seminary buildings were destroyed by fire two months later and he attended Holy Cross College in New Orleans, and the re-opened seminary in Carrollton (uptown New Orleans), returning to St. Benedict in September 1908. He matriculated at the American College, University of Louvain, Belgium, autumn, 1913. The outbreak of World War I forced him to continue his philosophical and theological studies at Fribourg, Switzerland. Returned to U. S. as deacon; ordained to priesthood July 25, 1918, in chapel of Academy of the Sacred Heart, New Orleans. First appointment to St. Louis Cathedral, July-December 1918; then to St. Joseph Church, Baton Rouge, January 1919 to August 1920. Initial pastorate at Sts. Peter and Paul Church, Lobdell; in 1928 the former Holy Family Mission of Port Allen became the church parish seat and he was named first pastor. On October 25, 1934, appointed pastor of St. Agnes, Baton Rouge, organizing there a parochial school. On June 1, 1938, transferred to St. Francis de Sales, Houma, embellished church interior and planned new elementary-secondary school. Became pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Church, New Orleans, built a million-dollar school. Stayed at Lourdes from 1946 to 1968, the fiftieth anniversary of his ordination, when he retired from active ministry. Named vicar general, April 27, 1946; domestic prelate, September 3, 1943; and prothonotary apostolic, June 10, 1947. Last residence at the Chateau de Notre Dame. He died on October 7, 1980 and is interred in the  priests' tomb at St. Joseph Cemetery in Thibodaux.  From

Smiley Lewis (July 5, 1913 – October 7, 1966) was an American New Orleans rhythm and bluesmusician. The journalist, Tony Russell, in his book The Blues - From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray, stated "Lewis was the unluckiest man in New Orleans. He hit on a formula for slow-rocking, small-band numbers like "The Bells Are Ringing" and "I Hear You Knocking" only to have Fats Domino come up behind him with similar music more ingratiatingly delivered.  He died on October 7, 1966 at the age of 53.

George Edward Burch, academic, physician, editor.  Born, Edgard, St. John the Baptist Parish, La., January 10, 1910; son of George Edward Burch, M.D. (d. 1930), and Lottie Edith Monroe.  Education:  Edgard High School, graduated 1927; attended Tulane University, 1927-1929; Tulane School of Medicine, 1929-1933.  Married Vivian Ann Gerard, September 16, 1932.  Four children.  Interned at Charity Hospital, New Orleans, 1933-1934; became a three-year clinical fellow in internal medicine at Tulane and Charity, as well as assistant, 1934-1935, and instructor, 1935-1942, in the department headed by John Herr Musser (q.v.).  Received B. S. degree, Tulane University, 1935.  During service as instructor, launched academic career by selection as a Commonwealth Foundation Fellow in cardiovascular research at the hospital of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, 1939-1941.  In 1942 became assistant professor at Tulane; 1943, named associate professor.  Four years later followed mentor as Henderson Professor and chairman of Department of Medicine, serving from October 7, 1947, to January 10, 1975.  During that time he was physician-in-chief of the Tulane unit at Charity Hospital.  Continued at Tulane as Emeritus Henderson Professor until his death.  In other activities, served as captain, Louisiana National Guard, 1936-1940; captain, Medical Reserve Corps, U.S. Army, Tulane Base Hospital No. 23, 1940-1942.  Editor, American Heart Journal for over 25 years; served on numerous editorial boards.  Author of Hot Climates, Man and His Heart (1962).  Other books on cardiology (1947), venous pressure (1950), spatial vector cardiography (1953), electrocardiography (1945, 1964, 1967), congestive heart failure (1954), digital plethysmography (1954), Clinical Measurement of Blood Pressure (1962), and Of Publishing Scientific Papers (1954) and Of Research People (1955).  Pioneer work in using radioactive elements to study electrolyte turnover led to Gold Medal Award, American Medical Association, 1947.  President, American College of Cardiology, 1968; membership on American Board of Internal Medicine, 1955-1962.  After death awarded Scientific Achievement Award, American Medical Association.  Died, New Orleans, April 15, 1986; cremated, ashes scattered over courtyard of Charity Hospital, New Orleans.  J.P.M.  Sources:  Burch Papers, National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, Maryland; Burch's twelve books and over 800 published papers, Rudolph Matas Medical Library, Tulane University Medical Center; William C. Roberts, American Journal of Cardiology, LVIII (1986); Who's Who in America, 1976-77; New York Times, April 23, 1986; Orleans Parish Medical Society Bulletin (May, 1986); John Duffy, The Tulane University Medical Center … (1984).  From

The WWII Liberty Ship SS Ales Hrdlicka was launched on October 7, 1944 by Delta Shipbuilding Company.

Born in Jefferson Parish on October 7, 1930jazz trumpeter George Girard was known for his great technical ability, playing in a style that combined traditional New Orleans Dixieland jazz with the big-band-style trumpet, and a member of the Basin Street Six. In highschool he studied music under Johnny Wiggs and became a professional musician immediately after graduating in 1946. He played and toured with the bands of Johnny Archer and Phil Zito before cofounding the band The Basin Street Six, made up mostly of friends he had grown up with, including clarinetist Pete Fountain. The band got a regular gig at L'Enfant's Restaurant in New Orleans, as well as regular televisionbroadcasts over WWL. The band started receiving favorable national attention, but Girard was dissatisfied with it and broke up the band in 1954 to found his own band, George Girard & the New Orleans Five which included trombonist Bob Havens, drummer Paul Edwards, and bassist Bob Coquille. Girard landed a residency at the Famous Door in the French Quarter, recorded for several labels, and got a weekly broadcast on CBS. Girard had ambitions to make a national name for himself (and according to many fellow musicians the musical ability to do so), but became ill and had to give up playing in 1956. Girard died in New Orleans on January 18, 1957. (Wiki)

Artist Archibald John Motley Jr. was born in New Orleans on October 7, 1891.  He studied painting at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago during the 1910s, graduating in 1918. He is most famous for his colorful chronicling of the African-American experience during the 1920s and 1930s, and is considered one of the major contributors to the Harlem Renaissance. (Wiki)

Albert Baldwin Jr., businessman, civic leader. was born in New Orleans on October 7, 1866; son of Albert Baldwin (q.v.) and Arthemise Bouligny. Education: University of Louisiana (Tulane). Married, February 25, 1890, Helen Hardie (b. 1868), daughter of John T. Hardie (q.v.). Children: Alice Hardie (b. 1891), Albert (b. 1893), Alma (b. 1897), and John (b. 1899). President of New Orleans National Bank; president, A. Baldwin & Co., Ltd.; president, Gullet Gin Co.; president, New Orleans Water Supply Co.; secretary-treasurer, Salmen Brick and Lumber Co.; vice president and treasurer, Times-Picayune Publishing Corp.; director, Union Ferry Co., Illinois Central Railroad Co., director, Texas and Pacific Railroad Co., vice-president, Public Library Board of New Orleans. Member, Boston Club; several carnival organizations. Mason. Died, New Orleans, March 11, 1915. G.D. Sources: Family papers and newspaper obituaries. 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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