Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Images from TOC New Orleans in Commerce and Culture

Grain being transferred from a primitive turn-of-the-century barge to an elevator to a ship. Note the grain dust wafting away on the air! Note also the high water.

Teen-aged workers at the Lane Cotton Mills in New Orleans, Circa 1912. What does this suggest about race, class, and gender?

Madison Street, circa 1905. Notice Begue's restaurant on the right. And you thought today's FQ streets were dirty!

Once again, loading bananas on the docks, circa 1904. The carrying over the shoulder would be replaced eventually by a conveyor belt with canvas sacks that did mechanically the same job. But it was still very inefficient. Locals called the banana boats "The Great White Fleet" as they were, in fact, painted white. Many would be turned over to use by the government during World War II and be sunk. They were also obsolete by then, leading to further modernization in the banana industry. Lastly, consider integration from ship to rail, essentially what goes on in today's modern "multi-modal" transportation hubs using shipping containers. The missing ingredient in 1905 is the semi truck and, of course, the container.

Before the construction of the Huey P. Long bridge, heading west to places like Houston meant ferrying rail cars across the river in segments. Here we see such a ferry doing its job during the turn-of-the-century. Note the big sidewheel steam mechanism (barely visible) and the pedestrian gangways on the right and left of the ship. The ferry's large wheel is just visible in the pilothouse. How must the aquatic landscape of New Orleans shaped life for those who needed to traverse it - both a blessing and a curse. Once across the river, they would travel West from "West we go" or Westwego.

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