Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Carondelet Street, New Orleans

Source: NYPL Digital Collection
The postcard above is from 1907-1908. My great-grandfather Harry O'Brien was living on Carondelet Street in New Orleans during this time. The Picayune's Guide to New Orleans (1904) describes the area as the "Wall Street of New Orleans."

Harry had gone to New Orleans to attend Soule Business College. Unfortunately the records for Soule College were damaged in Hurricane Katrina, so it is not clear exactly when he graduated. I suspect it was around 1906, he would have been 21 then.

In the 1907 City Directory for New Orleans, Harry appears as a musician, living at 708 Carondelet Street. Harry was in the city during the birth of the jazz scene, likely playing clarinet in clubs.
New Orleans City Directory, 1907
The house on Carondelet was close to Lafayette Square, the second oldest park in New Orleans, and a short walk to the Mississippi River waterfront. When I first ran a search through the City Directory, it was not immediately clear how significant the find of Harry O'Brien living in this house would prove to be. There is quite a lot to this story. For now, the detail will have to wait a little bit longer.

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