Today in New Orleans History

September 12

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 "Jumbo" and Gumbo
September 12 1967

In 1967 AL Hirt became one of 18 minority owners (Hirt had 2.5%) of our brand new NFL expansion team, the New Orleans Saints. He is pictured on September 12 1967 playing to Gumbo, the Saints' mascot, at a Jung Hotel luncheon for coaches and players before the kickoff of the first season.  Gumbo had been a gift to the team by the Louisiana Restaurant Association. Hirt was the musical director for the Saints and played the National Anthem at the first season game, five days later on on September 17.  Hirt became a fixture at Saints games,playing his horn for fans as often as possible. Gumbo's descendant, Gumbo IV was fired in November 1985, now replaced by a human dressed in a St. Bernard costume.  The photograph is by J.W. Guillot/Times-Picayune archives.

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Charlie's Steak House Sold
September 12, 2007
Charlie's Steakhouse closed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  It was sold, and purchased by Matthew And Eugene Dwyer on September 12, 2007 who began renovations that day.

Katrina Aftermath
Monday, September 12, 2005

Michael D. Brown resigned as Director of FEMA for, "the best interest of the agency and the best interest of the president."  Officials awarded a $30.9 million contract to repair the, "twin spans" I-10 bridge to New Orleans to Boh Brothers Construction Co. on September 12, 2005. It was estimated that 45 days would be required before the bridge could reopen to normal traffic. Water pressure had now been restored in the majority of the Jefferson Parish. A "boil water" order was still in force on the East Bank, but had been lifted for the West Bank. On the East Bank, 17% of sewage pumps were operational, and 39% were operational on the West Bank.

BROWNLEE, Charles Henry, attorney, politician, businessman.  Born, Algiers, Orleans Parish, La., January 23, 1853; son of John Brownlee (q.v.) and Mary Ann Spence.  Education:  local schools; Tulane University, LL. B. degree, 1891.  Machinist and clerk of Boiler Department at Southern Pacific Railroad Company until 1886.  Delegate to the Louisiana Democratic Convention, 1888.  Clerk, Third City Court of New Orleans, 1888; reelected, 1892.  Elected to clerkship in the appellate court, 1899.  Member, Ancient Order United Workmen; The Essenic Order; Knights of Pythias; grand dictator of The Knights of Honour.  Married in New Orleans, December 13, 1876, Ellen Agnes Connell of Cleveland, Ohio, daughter of John Connell and Maria Dunn.  Children:  Eleanor Spence (b. 1877), William John (b. 1879), Lillian Gertrude (b. 1881), Maria Louise (b. 1883), Charles Henry, Jr. (b. 1884), Florence Mary (b. 1890), Ruth Evelyn (b. 1892), Norman Edward (q.v.).  Died, New Orleans, September 12, 1924; interred Metairie Cemetery.  C.M.B.  Sources:  Birth #467, October 31, 1860, New Orleans Vital Records; Brownlee family bible and records; C. V. Kraft, ed., The Herald, Vol. XIII, special edition, p. 112; Marriage Book 9, folio 34 and Death Certificate #572, New Orleans Vital Records; New Orleans Times-Picayune, September 13, 1924; Lake Lawn Cemetery records and tombstone engraving, Metairie Cemetery, Section 92, Lot 133; Louisiana Census 1870, 1880.  From

Advertisements on the page appeared in the September 12, 1954 edition of the Times-Picayune 


The Arcade mentioned in the Maison Blanche article above, as advertised in the March 1, 1908 Daily Picayune.

1897 Hurricane
September 12, 1897
Hurricane skirted the Louisiana coast near Port Eads, then moved inland into Southeast Texas, north near Beaumont. At Port Eads, winds were 72 m.p.h.. In Abbeville, winds were stiff out of the east. The storm vented its fury between dusk and 10 P.M., waning after 11. Damage was inflicted upon the pear, pecan, cotton, and rice crops. At Cheniere au Tigre, boats and schooners were badly damaged and washed up on the beach. Wind mills were blown down. Area cattle took refuge on Pecan Island. At Calcasieu Pass, the only damage noted was to cotton and growing crops. See Texas Hurricane History for more on this storm.  September 7-9th, 1900: Galveston Hurricane strikes Southeast Texas on September 7th. Cameron Parish saw hurricane force winds.  Johnson's Bayou was over-washed by the storm surge, but there was no loss of life. That night, winds were strong out of the east at Abbeville; the winds continued through the 9th. Gales were experienced as far inland as DeRidder and as far east as New Orleans.  Tides in the bayou were the highest since the Indianola Hurricane of 1875. Rice was threshed out by the wind. At Cheniere au Tigre, a few calves were drowned. Winds reached 31 mph out of the northeast at Port Eads. Damage was considered light across the state, all things considered. See Texas Hurricane History for more on this storm.

Salvatore Pizzati is Born
September 12, 1839

The Pizzati Gate erected in 1910 is one of the the oldest structures in the Park. It is located at was the main entrance at Alexander Street and City Park Avenue. Donated by Steamboat Captain Salvatore Pizzati the gate as rededicated on October 25, 2001 in memory of Edgar A. Luminais, an original member of the Board of Commissioners.  The gas-lit ornate cast-iron Belknap Fountain (left of center) was built in 1870 by Jackson Ogden Belknap who used it primarily as an advertising stand on the neutral ground of Canal Street until it was donated to the park.  The bridge was named in honor of Victor Anseman, the "Father of City Park".

TodayInNewOrleansHistory/pizzatiStJosephsSchool.gifIn 1903, the benefactor of this beautiful gate presented a plan for the construction of Saint Joseph's Parochial School at 417 South Roman Street (right), along with the $70,000 cost to build it -- the largest donation to Catholic education yet in the South.  Speaking of his wife and himself, Pizzati said, "We have no children. God has blessed us abundantly. Let us do for the children of others.  Together we make this gift".  The school opened in 1904, able to accommodate 800 students. His name “Captain Salvatore Pizzati" was inscribed in stone above the main entrance.

In 1904 Mother Cabrini, having heard of his generosity, called upon him to build an asylum and school for orphans to be run by her the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart.  The order bought property on Esplanade Avenue near Bayou St. John on the site of the Srickler Seed Company for $18,000 and the Pizzati donated $75,000 for the construction of the school, convent, and apartments for the ophans.  Mother Cabrini said, "I learned that Captain Pizzati and his wife always work in concert.  It was Mr. Pizzati who inspired the gift of St. Joseph's new school...Now it is Captain Pizatti himself who conceives the thought of this orpanage and industrial school".

Born on September 12, 1839 in Palermo, Sicily, he came to the United States in 1808 as a skilled boat master. He began working in association with Captain Grande on schooners trevelling between Spanish Honuras and New Orleans -- he was the first steamship captain to bring bananas into the United States.  He was an admiral in the Honduran navy and commodore of the Oteri-Pizzati Steamship Company which, when sold to United Fruit Company in 1899, included ten ships, plantations, and plants. He was a director of Whitney Central Bank and Interstate Bank and owner of Columbian Brewery and Southern Insurance Company.  He owned three plantations in Buras, one named for him where he cultivated 14,000 orange trees.

Pizzati was honored by many, Pope Pius X who bestowed upon him The Great Cross (Chevalier de Papa) in recognition of his charitable works.  He was a commandotore of the King of Italy, an admiral in the Honduran navy, a colonel of the staff of Governor J. Y. Sanders, and a special officer of the New Orleans Pollice force (his obituray stated that he knew and was known by all of the local officers).

The City Park gate was his last public donation before his death on Thursday, December 30, 1915. He was survived by his wife Frances Vallenzano and adopted son Marco Antonio Pizzati at 2502 Canal Street.

The Pizzati gate was rededicated in 2001 in honor Edgar Alphonse Luminais, one of the original Lower City Park commissioners (Audubon Park was then called "Upper City Park" and City Park wass the "Lower City Park"). Luminais was on the board in 1891 when the bylaws were drafted for the City Park Improvement Association which officially changed the name and acquired control of the park from the City of New Orleans. He served alongside Victor Anseman, the "Father of City Park" (who was given a $40 salary as the park's keeper).  During his time as a commissioner when the park was largely undeveloped, Luminais oversaw the construction of a fence in the front of the park, the addition of over 50 iron benches, an octagon-shaped dance pavilion, a ladies rest area near the gate, a mens rest area near Bayou Metaire, a foot bridge across the bayou, the addition of 50,000 orange, lemon, and fruit trees as a source of revenue, entertainment for the same purpose, the addition of cattle pasturing in the rear for a fee, a prohibition against shooting and trapping in the park, and a long-range plan for improvement.


During the 1920s visitors entering the Pizzati Gate would be greeted by these one-hundred year-old bare-breasted ladies (left) on Anseman Avenue. They had originally hovered high above the main entrance to the New Orleans Cotton Exchange building (above) which was built in 1823 but being readied for demolition in 1920. They were acquired by the park along with the granite caryatids which flanked the exchange's door and the standing figure between the two ladies in the photograph. Their tenure in the park was brief – some citizens were outraged. The ladies went on to reside at Metairie Cemetery and the caryatids can still be seen near the cemeteries on City Park Avenue.  The fate of the top center figure is unknown.

Photos from  the Louisiana Digital Library.  Text from New Orleans City Park (Images of America) by Catherine Campanella

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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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