Today in New Orleans History

September 2

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Gentilly is a broad, predominantly middle-class and racially diverse section. The Gentilly neighborhood is bounded by Lake Ponchartrain to the north, France Road to the east, Bayou St. John to the west, and the Louisville and Nashville Railroad to the south. The major north-south streets are Franklin Avenue, Elysian Fields Avenue, St. Anthony, St. Bernard, St. Roch, Paris, Wisner, A.P. Tureaud (formerly London) Avenue and Press. The east-west streets are Lakeshore Drive, Leon C. Simon, Robert E. Lee (a section of which was formerly called Hibernia), Prentiss, Harrison, Filmore, Mirabeau, Hayne, Chef Menteur and Gentilly.

The first part of Gentilly to be developed was along the Gentilly Ridge, a long stretch of high ground along the former banks of Bayou Gentilly. A road, originally "Gentilly Road", was built on the ridge, and formed the eastern path into the oldest part of the city, today's French Quarter to Chef Menteur Pass. The high ground became Gentilly Boulevard and U.S. Highway 90, part of the Old Spanish Trail from St. Augustine to Los Angeles.

Settlement was originally mostly confined to along the long narrow ridge, plus Milneburg, built on elevated piers on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain. Most of the ground between the ridge and the lake was swampy. The first residential section adjacent to the ridge, Gentilly Terrace, dating to the early 20th century, was built by excavating and piling up the earth in the shallow swamp to create blocks of terraced land where houses could be built. With the development of improved drainage pumps, land reclamation and higher lakefront levees, the land extending from the ridge to the lake was developed by the mid-20th century, and the entire area popularly came to be known as Gentilly.

Gentilly has traditionally been defined variously. Some definitions include a somewhat wider area, extending the neighborhood into the Upper 9th Ward. Some older New Orleanians extend the definition even further, to include the section of old Gentilly on the east side of the Industrial Canal, now part of Eastern New Orleans. Other definitions diminish the area occupied by Gentilly by placing the western boundary of Gentilly along the London Avenue Canal, not Bayou St. John, and the northern boundary along Leon C. Simon Drive, not the shore of Lake Pontchartrain. By this reckoning, Vista Park and Oak Park, lying between the London Avenue Canal and Bayou St. John, fall outside of Gentilly, as do the Lakefront subdivisions of Lake Terrace and Lake Oaks, and the Lakefront campus of the University of New Orleans. (Wiki)


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Local broadcaster Garland Robinette came to national attention with Hurricane Katrina in 2005. As the storm made landfall radio station WWL was the only broadcast media in New Orleans able to continue operating during the disaster. Robinette was broadcasting from a hastily thrown together set-up in a closet of the WWL studios after the high rise building windows blew out. In the days between the time when the hurricane hit New Orleans and when outside help arrived, Robinette's broadcasts were an important information source for those able to hear radio broadcasts in the Greater New Orleans area. On September 2, 2005, Robinette conducted the famous interview with Mayor Ray Nagin where the mayor urged those in the Federal Government who had been promising but not delivering aid to "get off your asses".  (Wiki)

Born in New Orleans on  September 2, 1954, Vance Elliott DeGeneres is best known locally as the former host of  WRNO-FM  radio's New Wave New Orleans show in the late 1970s, he was the bass guitar player in the popular new-wave band The Cold in the early 1980s, originator of  the role of "Mr. Hands" in Walter Williams's Mr. Bill features on Saturday Night Live, a member of the band Cowboy Mouth, and Ellen's big brother.  He moved from New Olrean to work in television and film production. (Wiki)

American model and actress China Lee, born Margaret Lee in New Orleans on September 2, 1942 to Chinese parents who had emigrated to the United States after their marriage.  She is the youngest of eight children and the younger sister of Harry Lee, who served as the sheriff of Jefferson Parish for 28 years. Lee worked as a hairstylist and waitress, then as a Playboy Club Bunny, before appearing in Playboy. She had been a "Training Bunny," which required her to travel to different Playboy Clubs to teach prospective Bunnies their duties. She was Playboy's Playmate of the Month for the August 1964 issue, and the first Asian American Playmate. Her centerfold was photographed by Pompeo Posar. According to her Playmate profile, her name is pronounced "chee-na" to rhyme with "Tina". The name "China" is derived from the nickname "Chinita" ("little Chinese girl") bestowed on her by Spanish-speaking neighbors who admired her dancing as a child. Lee appeared at the end of Woody Allen's What's Up, Tiger Lily?, performing a striptease. She married comedian Mort Sahl in 1967. They divorced in 1991. Their only child, Mort Sahl, Jr. died on March 27, 1996 at the age of 19.  (Wiki)

Alcide Patrick Nunez (March 17, 1884 – September 2, 1934), also known as Yellow Nunez and Al Nunez, was an early jazz clarinetist. He was also one of the first musicians of New Orleans who made numerous audio recordings and he was announced by Pee Wee Russell as the greatest jazz clarinetist of the world.

On September 2, 1909, New Orleans was first linked by rail to Houston.  Amid celebrations and ceremonies the train left the New Orleans Terminal Station at 6:10 A.M.   On board were Ben R. Mayer representing the Mayor of New Orleans, F.B. McQueety, Secretery of the Baton Rouge Board of Trade representing the board, and other officials.  The first stop was at the Edenborn Depot (Gonzales. Louisiana) where large delegations from the board along with businessment in general awaited the train. Extending congratulations were Joe Gottelieb, Jules Rpux, S.H. Reymond, W.N. Barrow, N.S. Dougherty, R.J. Hummell, H.N. Wax, Abe Abramson, Dupre Stondard, Pat Aldrich, J.N. Ogden, Fred Greace, W.N. McFarland, and Alexander Grouchy.

Louisiana Lottery advertisment, September 2, 1909.

This math problem ran on the children's page of the Daily Picayune on September 2, 1906 in a section titled "Picayune's Popular Problems".  Today's children would'nt have a clue!  "Picayune's Popular Problems" was a product of Captain George Soule & Sons.  Soule (1834 -- 1926) founded Soule College (a business school)  which served New Orleanians for 127 years having opened in 1856 and closed in 1983.

The Ammonia Motor & Railway Company was chartered on September 2, 1890 with the intention of building motorcars and locomotive driven streetcars during the era when streetcar were pulled by horses and mules.  Organizers Artwood Violett, Thomas Woodward, and J.L. Byrne were motivated by the comparative cost differences between streetcars pulled by mules ($9.910 per car per day) and by ammonia locomotives ($6.775 per day). Similar to steam engines in design, the aqua-ammonia engines used 1/5 part ammonia to 4.5ths water heated in circulating tubes by a coal fire. Steam-powered streetcars remained in use until February 1, 1893 when the city electrified the lines, with the exception of some electric cars (still not perfected) used in 1884 for the World Cottom Centennial (World's Fair) at Audubon Park.

CSS PAMLICO, a side-wheel steamer purchased in New Orleans on July 10, 1861, was placed in commission of the Confederate navy on September 2 with Leutenant W. G. Dozier, CSN in command. She operated in the vicinity of New Orleans, clashing ineffectually with vessels of the Federal blockading squadron on December 4 and 7, 1861, and on March 25 and April 4, 1862. PAMLICO was burned by her officers on Lake Pontchartrain, when New Orleans fell to the Union.

During the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, on September 2, 2005, the charred body of Henry Glover was found in a destroyed Chevrolet Malibu  parked on a Mississippi River levee. He was last seen uninjured on September 2, four days after the storm, by his sister. Five current and former officers of the New Orleans Police Department were charged with Glover's death. (Wiki)

On September 2, 2005, the Canadian government deployed an Airbus 321 to New Orleans, to transport Canadians stranded in the area after Hurricane Katrina to airlift them to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio and Canadian Forces offered help in Hurricane Katrina effort. Defence Minister Bill Graham announced a deployment of four warships to Louisiana as well as a Coast Guard vessel filled with relief supplies. A British Columbia rescue team described chaos in Louisiana.

On September 2, 2005, CNN's Soledad O'Brien asked FEMA Director Mike Brown, "How is it possible that we're getting better info than you were getting... we were showing live pictures of the people outside the Convention Center... also we'd been reporting that officials had been telling people to go to the Convention Center... I don't understand how FEMA cannot have this information." When pressed, Brown reluctantly admitted he had learned about the starving crowds at the Convention Center from news media reports. O'Brien then said to Brown, "FEMA's been on the ground four days, going into the fifth day, why no massive air drop of food and water... in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, they got food drops two days after the tsunami".

Following the devastation caused by floodwall and levee failures post-Hurricane Katrina, National Guard troops first began delivering food, water and ice in New Orleans on September 2, 2005.  18,678 Army National Guard and 2,464 Air National Guard were deployed (11,142 total).  The same day, President Gerge W. Bush toured parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama and declared that the success of the recovery effort up to that point was "not enough". saying that was ordering additional active duty forces to the region.  He also signed the $10.5 billion relief package the same day, after Congressional approval.  Bush also authorized a drawdown of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

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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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