"Online since 1999"
radio and growing up in New Orleans in the 50's, 60's and 70's!
In the summer of 1958, either TIX or NOE had a contest, to find a key to a new '58 Chevy Biscayne. The key was "hidden" in plain view on a telephone pole, on the Elysian Fields neutral ground, lake side of Southline Drive (now Leon C. Simon). I lived on Madrid St, off Elysian Fields and Robert E. Lee, and walked to the beach nearly every day. I must have walked right past that key 20 times. Man, was I sick when I heard the key was found, and where it was hidden.
I remember that promotion...I couldn't talk my parents into driving from Carrollton to Elysian Fields to look for that key. I'm sure it was WTIX. And I bet that car's radio was stuck on...WTIX. I don't recall WNOE really being seriously in the rock & roll radio wars until around '60.
From '57 to '61 I attended St. Joseph Seminary in St. Benedict, La near Covington. They had a high school and junior college program then. As a Benedictine boarding school, you might expect the place was strict about things such as radios, etc. So, I bought a crystal radio (shaped like a rocket ship. The nose had a metal rod which could be used to tune in stations by extending or retracting the rod) My bunk was near a large window, and I was able to connect the antenna wire to the metal window screen. Of course, the only station I could get was clear channel WWL but I could lie in bed and listen to the Blue Room shows. While I was not a huge fan of Kelner's, I really enjoyed that touch of home. I could also catch the late baseball scores and (since we could only read the first page of the sports section...and then one day late) I amazed my friends with my "predictions" of the previous day's results. So, to this day, memories of Kelner are nostalgic and sentimental.
I had one of those little plastic red and white rocket ship radios too. They didn't need batteries...they just transformed the strongest radio signals into sound in your earpiece. Ironically, the only station I could pick up with that variable metal tuning rod on the cone was WWL as well. So I threw it away. But I did catch quite a few Leon Kelner Blue Room broadcasts as well on other radios during that time and those are some of my fondest radio memories of that era as well.
Robert E. Lee 1940-1946 Gonna miss the old school name
Mater Dolorosa 1947-1949 School and being Altar Boy
Alcee Fortier 1950-1954 - Boys only most of that time
Alcee Fortier Army R.O.T.C.and Wood Shop
Elevator at Canal Street Ferry. My grandmother operated
St. Claude Streetcars. My Dad was conductor for 17 years
Western Auto Store on Carrolloton Avenue
Corner Grocery on Birch and Dante Streets
Carrolloton Street Car Barn
A&G Restaurant & Girls at Carrolloton and S. Claiborne
Best Ice Cream Store on Magazine at Jackson Avenue
Blackouts, Scrap Drives & Buying War Bonds during WWII
Buck's Famous Fried Chicken in Algiers
Colored fountain on Tulane Avenue in front of NOPSI Bldg.
Colored Water Fountain at West End during the 1940's
Manual's Hot Tamale Cart at Carrolloton & Canal Streets
Mardi Gras Parade Floats pulled by white blanketed mules
Mardi Gras Parade Floats lit by Flambeau bearers
Barts at the Lake...Brunnings at West End
French bread with every meal and between meals <G>
Crabbing at Bayou St. John at the Lake
High Schools dances at the Jung Hotel
Parking at College Inn, Lenfants and the Rockery
Listening to great Rock & Roll in my 1951 Chevrolet
Goin to Drive in Theaters & occasionally watching movie
Carrolloton Avenue drug stores and cherry cokes
Carrolloton neighborhood friends who have scattered
I am in the process of doing a scrapbook of all aspects of my life for my daughter and I am missing a picture of the ole Robert E. Lee school on Carrolloton & Birch. If anyone could post one I would really appreciate it a bunch.
I love those memories of Carrollton that we both shared...except the Mardi Gras mules and the WWII stuff (whew) ! :-)
If I can scrounge up a picture of Robert E. Lee School I'll post it.
Hello, Just finished browsing your website... it was great fun. Back in the early 70's, I resided in Bay St Louis [shortly], working for Pete Fountain (Pete owned property along Julia St/ Beach Blvd.; He was developing a weekend Naw'ins get-away). I was young & rather new to the area. I once took a young lady (trying to impress her) to Gus Steven's Supper Club. At that time I did not know of the great reputation it had. I found it rather sad to hear the place had been demolished. Do you have pictures avail of this establishment?
No, and there were so many opportunities over the years to take pictures. I really wish I had, even in the later years when it was just a delapidated and abandoned building. It was indeed demolished around 2002 and the memories went with it. There is a beach souvenir shop on that spot now. But if someone has a picture to offer us I will certainly post it.
Lawyers learned a long time ago that reality varies between people for many reasons. Five people will hear the same thing 5 different ways. Case in point, I remember hearing "Coming to you from the beautiful Blue Room high atop the Roosevelt Hotel in downtown New Orleans" many Saturday nights from my room in South Arkansas. Could I be mistaken also? I never saw the place so I would not have know that "...high atop..." was not right.
Nope, the Blue Room was/is located on the first floor, just inside the entrance on University Place (the hotel lobby extends a full block with the other entrance on Baronne St.). The highest the Blue Room has ever been is up the 7 or 8 stairs from the sidewalk to the revolving lobby entrance door. And the studios of WWL Radio were located at that time on the mezzanine floor of the Roosevelt, which is roughly a 10-story hotel. Many people get it amusingly confused because of that 1968 novelty song "Loving You Has Made Me Bananas" by Guy Marks, whose intro on the song is a direct humorous poke at Don Lewis, the announcer, and the Roosevelt Blue Room show broadcast.
CHERYL ANDRUS FALGOUST:
Hi Bob - I lived on Zimple St., near Carrollton. My parents owned Oak Electric for many, many years. I "lived" on Oak Street as a child. I went to Mater Dolorosa and Dominican (class of 1965). My sister and I still have the house on Zimple and own the building that the barber, shoe repair, beauty shop, and sno-ball stand occupy now. (The sno-ball stand was originally "created" by my father as a way of keeping me busy during the summers and earning my own money, instead of hitting the cash register at Oak Electric.)
I remember all the things you listed as well as:
Sister Clare using a "cricket" at recess
Stopping everything in the schoolyard at noon to pray the Angelus
Eschete's Garage on Oak St.
K&B cherry cokes (the best)
Courgerols (spelling?) Hardware Store on Oak St.
Punch's Grocery Store
Adolf's Restaurant (the BEST fried chicken and roast beef sandwiches anywhere. Still haven't found any as good). Now I think it's Jacques-Imo's.
Paper sales at good old Mater Dolorosa.
There was a general store on a corner of Oak St. at Cambronne where I used to buy kites.
A furniture store next to Junkers on Oak.
Poplar Theater on Friday night. Also Saturday matinees with the Duncan yo-yo contests.
Brother Fidelis (7th grade boys teacher at MDS about 1960) All the girls had a crush on him.
Devil's Den on Canal @ Carrollton
F & M Patio- Neville Bros. before famous
The Beacon Lounge (or was it the Beaconette)
The Sands on Jeff Hwy
The Baby Grand on River Road
WTIX and WNOE
Dominican High School on St. Charles
Going to the Beatles concert at City Park right after school and having the principal get upset when she saw us on TV in our UNIFORMS.
The Krystle hamburger shops. I think they were a nickel each.
Riding the St. Charles Streetcar after school-standing room only.
Audubon Park Swan Boat and Sunday afternoon entertainment on the stage.
Pontchartrain Beach and the Miss N.O. pageants
Getting dressed up to go to Canal St.
Maison Blanche and DH Holmes restaurants.
The grand old "Steamer President" My dad (Dutch Andrus) played on the boat for many years. When I was little, I used to go so often and visit with Capt Strekfus, I thought it was our boat.
The great movie theaters downtown-especially the Saenger.
Martha Jane's Melody Lane on Carrollton near Tulane Ave. It was a record store with rooms with record layers. You could listen before you bought. My aunt used to take me there when I was little. That was where she and her friends used to smoke.
Baby Huey, Katy Keene "funny books"
At parades, the call of "Peanuts. Get your peanuts. Nickel a bag." Peanuts tasted the best at Mardi Gras.
It's been fun. Thanks.
Wow, how nice to hear from another Carrollton/MDS writer. Being from Carrollton I remember every one of those great recollections and it's an honor to hear from the daughter of the legendary New Orleans bandleader Dutch Andrus. Your dad was as much of a neighborhood celebrity at his electric appliance repair shop in the first block of Oak Street as Al Hirt was when he lived two blocks away on Freret Street in the early 60's. Back in those days when broken appliances were repaired instead of thrown away, I can't begin to tell you how many times my parents brought me along to get something fixed by Dutch. Everybody knew everybody from the neighborhood on a first name basis back then. I would look at your dad in his store and think that it must be nice to be a music celebrity like him. I was already well aware of him and his high profile band by the late 50's.
I still remember Sr. Clare's "cricket" to this day from the 6th grade at MDS. If you didn't heed that cricket and stop what you were doing she'd whack you with the blackboard pointer. And there were always two Christian Brothers who taught 7th and 8th grades at MDS. The young girls all had a crush also on Brother Gabriel, my 8th grade teacher in '59.
Don't forget, too, Max's Bar on Oak & Cambronne, where my dad liked to "visit" often to ... uh ... make sure sales were good for the Jax Beer he helped bottle at the brewery. And at the other end of Oak Street at 8739, my aunt and uncle's landmark Compagno's Grocery.
Hi Bob, I was Leon Kelner's bassist for 21 years. Leon was such a great musician and mentor. i want all to know that his music didn't leave the earth with him. I have taken over the band and we still play "club dates." Leon willed his library to me and we still do the big band scene. I would love to do a Leon Kelner "revival" at the Blue Room on New Years Eve. By the way, Liston Johnson, Leon's tenor man since 1948, still plays with us.
Great to hear from you! I think I get more inquiries about Leon than any other topic on my N.O. Radio Shrine site. Keep the Leon Kelner sound going...it's a rare treasure that we're fortunate to still have with us today.
NANCY IN SLIDELL:
Wow, what a great site, brings back some wonderful memories. Thanks so much Bob. I was born and raised in New Orleans, but have lived in Slidell since 1979. I'm a 1962 Graduate of Nicholls High School. Remember the REBELS, Blue and Grey, the days when the entrances didn't have to be painted with the street name in order to know which way to go in, the Nobles band, what a great band they were (of course I can say that because I dated one of the members for years). Truly, they were very good, playing for many weekend dances at Sacred Heart & St. Anthony. We would go to the Rockery Inn or Lenfants afterwards for something to eat. What great carefree days those were.
Memories of walking with a group of friends to Canal Street to catch all the Mardi Gras parades. Back row in the movies at the NOLA theater (when nobody bothered to watch the movie), skating rink in Arabi, Lovers Lane at the Point, Fats Domino's pink car with gold bumpers, Elvis Presley's first appearance at Pontchartrain Beach, the Manuel's Hot Tamale cart, the (Roman Candy) taffy cart with horse drawn carriage passing, St. Roch fish market on St. Claude Avenue, Tiger Drive In, Morrison's Cafeteria in downtown New Orleans with fake balconies and an outdoor atmosphere. Getting all dressed up and going to the Orpheum or Saenger movie theater on a Sunday afternoon with your beau.
Remembering open bedroom windows with a window fan planted in the kitchen that would blow breeze through each window in a shotgun house, your parents forcing you to go to church, getting into a small claustrophobic booth and telling this stranger (priest) all the bad things you did the previous week (THAT WASN'T SUCH A GOOD MEMORY).
I learned to drive on my dad's brand new 1957 Chevy Bel-Air which he paid $1,500 for in those days. He would allow me to take my friends in the car to school games and I would set the radio on WTIX and blast it till the speakers almost blew. I would forget to change the station back before he used it and it would nearly break his ear drums when he started the car. He threatened not to let me drive it anymore, but he always gave in and forgave me. He was the greatest dad.
Yeah, those lovely days when every student just knew the streets that bounded his/her high school. Geez...take us back... before the Bobcats...
SUSAN IN INDIANA:
In the early 1970's, I could occasional pick up WWL at night and loved listening to a program that had two old prospecters. Can you help me identify this program and maybe who starred? Thanks so much.
I've asked around in radio circles and nobody seems to remember this one. I'll keep trying tho and let you know if I hear anything.
REPLY ON 9/13/04 FROM ROBERT CHANDLER (Baton Rouge):
The 'Charlie Douglas Road Gang' occasionally would do a brief comedy bit for long-haul truckers. There were lots of gems in there. The one that 'Susan in Indiana' is remembering is a bit called appropriately "The Old Prospectors." The comedians were a wonderful team called "Hudson and Landry." They had some LPs out-never saw a CD.. Pity. Also loved the opening theme to the 'Road Gang.' It was Danny Davis and the Nashville Brass doing 'Foggy Mountain Breakdown.'
LINDA WALSH, AUGUSTA, GA
Hi, Bob! Greetings from Augusta,GA from the daughter of two Bogalusa High grads! I wasn't born in Louisiana but I DID manage to get baptized there and spent every blessed holiday there from 1957 to around 1972. Your website brought back so many wonderful memories, including:
The Great McNutt and Johnny's Follies--I can still see Johnny dancing in front of the curtain in his straw hat and striped jacket and hear the old theme:
"Hail, hail! The gang's all here!
Here at Johnny's Follies, Here at Johnny's Follies
Hail, hail! The gang's all here,
Everybody give a cheer--YAAAAAAY!!!"
And the fragment of the other theme:"It's time to meet---the Great McNutt!"
Mister Bingle--who could forget that show, that song! I still have my Mister Bingle christmas stocking made in 1955--it was not exactly Mr. B but a lady made the snowman to be a dead ringer, and when I was little I BELIEVED it was Bingle--still do<ggg>.
The best brownies in the world--those dainty brownie fingers you could get at MacKenzie's, glazed with chocolate frosting and sprinkled lightly with finely chopped pecans....pardon while I wipe the drool off the keyboard..
Hanging around around noon, outside Preservation Hall. Lots of the players would be sitting outside in the sunshine, drinking a cold Jax and eating a muffalatta and you could hear that divine music drifting into the street.
The wonderful record store at Lakeside--I remember Lakeside was bloody near a trip to Disneyland--nobody in my neck of the woods had ever seen a MALL before! I remember buying my copy of the Woodstock soundtrack there.
Dear, mad MORGUS!!! He was my hero! I always made sure I was home in time to see him on WWL doing the weather forcast, although as a little kid I was kinda scared of Chopsley and E.R.I.C. I used to sneak downstairs and watch "Morgus Presents" when nobody else was around.
Eating Red Bird Peppermint Candy ice cream, made by a small dairy owned by the mayor of Bogalusa--we'd fix a dish while we watched the evening news--I got to stay up long enough to see the nightly cartoon by John
Katz and Bestoff lables on nearly everything in the medicine cabinet.
Christmas windows at DH Homes and Maison Blanche--we'd go window shopping and then for a treat have dinner at the Blue Room. My parents were having dinner there when they heard about the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
Those thick, white china cups full of steaming cafe au lait at Cafe Du Monde and Morning Call--and three beingnet to a plate--one for me, one for my brother...and one for us to fight over!
Being scared witless at Ponchartrain Beach of that huge clown's head, nearly wetting my pants on the Zephyr and Wild Maus, falling on my butt over and over in the funhouse and those pig and lion talking trashcans that sucked up paper--the lion never worked when I was there, but the Pig--called Porky The Paper-eater, was funny. There was also a make-your-own-record booth and my cousins Kate and Carol and I gleefully shrieked out our own version of "Henry the VIII" by the then-popular Herman's Hermits.
The original Audubon Park Zoo--they had these Talking Storybooks--you bought the Key To The Zoo, which was a flat, red plastic elephant with a round-barreled key for a trunk. Insert the nose in the book and you'd hear a recorded message about the animal before you--and I remember being at Grandmother's and hearing about the awful fire that killed so many of the animals.
All the great DJs--like Poppa Stoppa.
Playing on the levees...and Dad warning us we could slip in and get eaten by the gators...not that it stopped us...
Watching "Midday" and waiting for Jayne Mansfield to come on...only to hear she'd just died in a car accident--was that on Chef Mentur?? I can't remember.
REAL glass throws--I still have a pair of necklaces from the old days when beads weren't cheap and plastic and doubloons were metal coins.
The horrible smell in the alley behind my grandmother's house on Saturday, because there was about ten pounds of shimp head and tails and shells rolled up in soggy newspaper along with empty Ritz cracker boxes. The only stench that was worse was the foul fog from Crown Zellerbach's paper mill in Bogualusa--one mile from our house.
And, of course...looking for REAL live pirates in Pirate's Alley.
Bob--thanks. You don't know what a pleasure it's been!
The pleasure is all mine...thanks for sharing a ton of goodies!
Bob: just saw your website and thought you might be interested to know that my Dad and my aunt were two of the original vocalists of "At the Beach, at the beach". My aunt passed away just a couple of years ago but my Dad is still with us and living here in New Orleans. My grandparents had a music school (Jacobs Vocal School) and a radio program that aired every Sunday from the 1930's until the 1960's. It was broadcast, variously, on WWL, WJMR and other stations that I can't recall just now. Beverly Brown was one of the original announcers but Poppa Stoppa actually announced for us for a short period of time. The main advertiser was Red Goose Shoes. I guess through their music/radio contacts they got the job doing the beach commercial. Unfortunately, we only have a very poor recording of "At the Beach" so if you could locate a clear one, I would love to give it to my Dad. Thanks for the memories.
Your dad and your aunt created a sound that is part of all of our younger days...days we fondly remember. Thank you for writing, and if anyone contacts me with a copy of the *original* Pontchartrain Beach jingle that they recorded I'll let you know. And ya gotta love dem Red Goose shoes!!
1. F. T. Nichols rebels.
2. Camel sign blowing smoke rings on Canal St.
3. Bakery on St. Claude/Rampart? Sarah Bernhart cake. I would make a trip to have a cake if they were still there.
4. Boys wearing knickers.
5. Snow cones.
6. Three cigarettes for a nickel at the candy store across the street from George Washington Grammar School.
7. Mel Leavitt, sportscaster.
8. Wrestling matches with Gorgeous George, The Skull, and Lew Thess.
9. At 10 yrs old, my dad telling me to go to the store and buy a pack of Picyunes for 32 cents and going to the bar and buying a six pack of Dixie, returning six empties in our metal six pack carrier.
Picayunes? Cough COUGH...hack...wheeze... whew! Those were some STRONG coffin nails there!
Bob, how about Strawberry (or other flavors) Malts at K & B Drugstores, where they put a scoop of ice cream and whipped cream in the glass and gave you the metal container with an ample portion of malt, ready to pour into the glass . Or - Mr. Bingle, the Maison Blanche Christmas character (Jingle Jangle Jingle, Here comes Mr. Bingle, with a jolly message from Kris Kringle)! Or- the great animated Jax Beer commercials (on T.V.) - "My uncle, I thought he was YOUR uncle! - And other classics!!! Just some more fond memories.
You get the feeling that Dillard's, who owns Mr. Bingle now, are missing the boat these days?
JIM CLARKE (Captain Jim):
Hi Bob, I ran across your web site and I wanted to say hi. I now live in Washington DC. I've remarried and adopted a son from Romania. I'm still in sales. I now sell industrial air quality systems. I was shocked to read about Darlene Gentner. I always thought she was great. She did my traffic at a few stations I worked at over the years. Also the O-bit on Bill Elder. I thought that guy would live forever. I hope you are still doing well. I always enjoyed knowing you. You were a straight up guy. If your ever in DC, call me. My information is below. Take care and I hope to see you later.
How nice it is to hear from not only a great N.O. DJ / TV personality (Popeye & Pals) from those golden years, but from one of my favorite friends. Y'know, when Darlene died seemed to be when radio went down the crapper. I miss her...she was such a good person.
Hi, Bob. When I was a boy during the 60's, there were several Dixie Beer commercials that featured some pretty background music. In one commercial in particular, a horse and carriage rode along Lake Ponchartrain while a truly lovely song played. For years I tried to find out what that song was. I contacted Dixie Beer, the ad agency (at the time of the commercial) and various other possible sources in New Orleans and never could get an answer. Then, a few weeks ago, while listening to an internet radio station from Florida, I heard this song. I could not believe it! I checked the site's song listing and identified the song as "That Happy Feeling" by Bert Kaempfert. It is available on several Bert Kaempfert CDs. I just purchased "The Very Best of Bert Kaempfert" and am reliving some wonderful memories. I hope this information helps others who may remember this song and have longed to find it.
Dixie Beer provided many of us with "That Happy Feeling" through the years. The "bright, cheerful tomorrow" they promised was another thing!