Today in New Orleans History

August 16

Shushan Airport Milneburg Joys

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231 Bourbon St. Opened as Tony Robino's Whiskey A-Go-Go on August 16, 1965 with Johnny Rivers headlining.
Previously, Leon Prima operated his Shim Sham Club here. During WWII, this was the location of Marty Burke's club. In 1948 it was Sloppy Joe's Haven. During the 1950s it was the Moulin Rouge club.  In May 1963 the door was padlocked due to "evidence of depravement in its lowest form" as an alleged brothel.  In 1964 Freida's Lounge at this location was damaged in a fire which closed the whole block for more than two hours.
I later became the Lido Club and Pete Fountain's French Quarter Inn. The building was badly damaged in a six-alarm fire on Thursday, October 13, 1983 (when the Mad Mad World t-shirt shop). The three-story building was 138 years old.

Gangster "Dandy Phil" Kastel Dies
August 16, 1962


In 1928, Phillip "Dandy Phil" Kastel went to work for New York mobster Frank Costello and later moved to New Orleans to establish gambling operations, primarily slot machines, during the mid-1930s. Between 1935 and 1937, the Costello-Kastel partnership earned an income of over $2.4 million from slot machines alone according to federal authorities. Although both were charged in 1939 for tax evasion, Kastel and Costello were both acquitted. By the 1940s, with control over the majority of gambling in Louisiana, both legal and illegal, Kastel and Costello began to expand their operations opening high class gambling casinos in Jefferson Parish and earning millions of dollars.   The  October 1, 1951 edition of Life Magazine included, “Things are tougher for gamblers in Jefferson Parish where Frank Costello and Phil Kastel once operated one of America's finest gambling clubs, [The Beverly]. Sheriff Frank Clancy who piously agreed with Senator Tobey [at Senator Estes Kefauver's federal Special Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce] in Washington hearing that gambling was evil and promised the committee he would close down his kingdom”.  This was not done and Kastel continued to run the organization throughout the 1950s without interference from city or parish officials, most notably Jefferson Parish Sheriff Frank Clancey.  In 1956  Kastel's fine Old Metairie home was up for auction. – he was busy preparing for the opening of the $15 million Tropicana casino in Las Vegas.  Back at home, gambling operations declined and were eventually taken over by Carlos Marcello.  On August 16, 1962, in failing health, having lost his sight in one eye and worsening vision in the other, Kastel died an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head at his his apartment in the Claiborne Towers (later renamed  Grand Palace Hotel which was demolished July 22, 2012 to make way for the new University Medical Center, a replacement for Charity Hospital). 

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On August 16, 1972, Wishbone Ash performed at A Warehouse at 8:00 P.M.  Ticket price -- $3.00. Beaver Productions presented Emerson, Lake, & Palmer at A Warehouse the same night at  9 P.M.  General admission tickets -- $5.00.

On August 16, 1967, the contents of Marks Isaacs store on Canal Street  were auctioned.

On August 16, 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald passed out Fair Play for Cuba leaflets with two hired helpers in front of the International Trade Mart. The incident was filmed by local TV station WDSU.

In the spring of 1963, Oswald had written to the New York City headquarters of the pro-Castro Fair Play for Cuba Committee, proposing to rent "...a small office at my own expense for the purpose of forming a FPCC branch here in New Orleans."[ As the sole member of the New Orleans chapter of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, Oswald ordered 1,000 leaflets with the heading, "Hands Off Cuba" from a local printer. On August 16, 1963, Oswald passed out Fair Play for Cuba leaflets in front of the International Trade Mart in New Orleans.

Mayor Mitchell Joseph "Mitch" Landrieu born August 16, 1960 is the former Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana, and a member of the Landrieu family. Landrieu is a member of the Democratic Party. He is the son of former New Orleans mayor and Secretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, Moon Landrieu and the brother of the senior U.S. Senator from Louisiana, Mary Landrieu. In 2007 he won a second term as lieutenant governor in the October 20, 2007 jungle primary by defeating two Republicans: State RepresentativeGary J. Beard and Sammy Kershaw. He was elected Mayor of New Orleans on February 6, 2010, garnering 66 per cent of the city-wide vote and claiming victory in 365 of the city's 366 voting precincts.

Times-Picayune, Tuesday, August 16, 1949

Barbara George (16 August 1942, Smithridge, Louisiana - 10 August 2006, Chauvin, Louisiana) was an American R&B singer and songwriter. Born Barbara Ann Smith, she was raised in New Orleans and began singing in a church choir. She was discovered by singer Jessie Hill, who recommended her to record producer, Harold Battiste. Her first record on Battiste's AFO (All For One) record label, "I Know (You Don't Love Me No More)", which she wrote, was issued in late 1961, and both topped the R&B chart and made #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was later recorded by many other artistes, including Freddie King, the Merseybeats, Ike and Tina Turner, and Bonnie Raitt. Two subsequent releases, "You Talk About Love" and "Send For Me (If You Need Some Lovin')", both on AFO, reached the Hot 100 later in 1962, but failed to match the national success of her first hit. (Wiki)

Through the years the intersection of Carrollton and Tulane avenues has been many things for many people.  In 1903, C. Werbeck's blacksmith shop shop was here.  In 1905, Mr. Morto's horse and buggy were found abandoned here.  On August 16, 1906, Athletic Park Amusement Company's arcade, casino, band building, ice cream building, and Japanese building were up for auction where Pelican Stadium would later reside.  White City amusement park took its place in 1907.  The Pelicans began playing baseball here around 1913. In 1939, M. B. Hardy set up a "gaily beautiful sales yard" complete with camellias, azaleas, evergreens, rose bushes, and native shrubs where the Mid-City Shopping Center would later locate.  The Krewe of Endymion began their extravagant parades here. 

Dudley Joseph LeBlanc, Sr., known as Coozan Dud LeBlanc (August 16, 1894 – October 22, 1971), was a colorful Democratic and Cajun member of the Louisiana State Senate whose entrepreneurial talents netted him a fortune through the alcohol-laden patent medicine known as Hadacol. He is also considered the "father of the old age pension" in Louisiana.

Jonas H. French was the 22nd mayor of New Orleans, serving during the Civil War for only a few days from August 16, 1862 until August 20, 1862.

On August 16, 1861, the New Orleans, Louisiana Free Market was established, distributing donated food to indigent families of Confederate soldiers. It was located at the foot of Canal Street near the levee.

On August 16-17th, 1831: The Great Barbados hurricane, very destructive, hit just west of Last Island, west of Baton Rouge. Killed 1500 people along its path from Barbados to New Orleans. A fishing village on Grand Isle was destroyed when the tide rose 6 feet. Sugarcane crops were damaged severely from Baton Rouge to Pointe a la Hache. Orchards and gardens in Plaquemines parish sustained considerable damage.

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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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