Toronto Transit...

I'm a a downtown hotel, but the ExitCertified office where I'm teaching is in midtown, so I'm taking the subway a few stops up. Beats trying to find or paying for parking.

This is the subway, at Eglinton Station, in midtown Toronto, near the office. When I posted this earlier to Google Plus, all the New Yorkers refused to believe this was an operational station--too clean!

Toronto's got streetcars, too. This line runs on College St. I caught this car as it stopped to pick up passengers at Yonge, location of the subway station near the hotel.

Happy 295th, New Orleans!

May 7, 1718 is the official "birthday" of the City of New Orleans. That makes us 295 years old. Not much in the Grand Scheme of Things, considering the age of many European, Asian, and African cities, but not too shabby for North America.

Here's a map of Nouvelle Orleans in 1728, ten years later. It shows the grid laid out by Adrien de Pauger, an engineer employed by Bienville to survey and design New Orleans and Biloxi.

Streetcars and the Clay Monument

Related to a discussion earlier today on Facebook, this is a planning drawing to illustrate the problem with leaving Henry Clay in the middle of Canal Street at St. Charles Avenue. The big circular base of the monument had already been cut down radically, but the city and the NOCRR Company weren't comfortable with running the streetcars so close to the statue. So, in 1901, off it went to Lafayette Square. (Drawing courtesy NOPL/

Mississippi Valley RR of Louisiana, 1880 (via @accessarchives)

x-posted to NOLA Legends


1880s...Louisiana was still working through Reconstruction, but the
worst of the post-war violence was over. Immigrants from Italy came to
New Orleans by the thousands, leaving a mark on the city that's lasted
to this day. African-Americans began to experiment with variations on
brass band/marching band music that would become the first Jazz tunes.
Many of our Legendary Locals were also leaving their mark on history in
the 1880s.

The 1880s also were an incredible period
of growth for the railroads. Their surveys were quite accurate, leaving
wonderful maps for us to peruse.

Click the map to
jump to a version, where you can look at the original in

(h/t to Accessible

Hail, Rex!


My good friend Charlie Cornelius posted this lovely pic on his Zuckerbook wall last week, and a bunch of us immediately wanted to find out if it was available as a poster. I re-posted the image on my wall and within minutes, a couple of friends pointed me at the website of Ms. Diane Millsap, the artist. Ms. Millsap uses Fine Art America to sell her work, but unfortunately, this image is not yet available there. We'll keep watching. In the meantime, check her out, she's got some very lovely paintings.

Feature Photo: Canal Street at Night, 1920


Looking up Canal Street from St. Charles Avenue (on the left of the photographer) and Rue Royale (on the right). The stores are lit up for Carnival, with Daniel Henry Holmes' department store on the right the brightest of the bunch. This shot was taken late at night, because Canal in the evenings would have been filled with streetcars. To have the four main line tracks on Canal empty for so many blocks means it's well past midnight.

The large rectangular building one block up from Holmes Department Store is that store's biggest competitor, Maison Blanche. To the left of MB is the Chess, Checkers, and Whist Club.

Today is Release Day for my new book, Legendary Locals of New Orleans! If you're in Metro New Orleans, get thee to Maple Street Book Shops, Octavia Books,
Garden District Book Shop, Barnes & Noble, or your neighborhood
Walgreens and buy my book! :-)

You can also order it online (B&N, Powells, Amazon, Direct from Me), but there's no ebook version yet.

OR, if you like book events, hold out until January 31st, and join me for a discussion and signing at Octavia.

Even if you're not coming to a book signing, you can purchase signed copies from this website, or I'll gladly sign your copy when I'm in town. I'll post my "coffee shop office hours" for folks when I'm home.

Cover photos and desktop wallpaper

Borrowing an idea from the Free Library of Phildelphia, we're putting together some historic New Orleans images you can use as desktop wallpaper, and cover pictures for Facebook and Google Plus. Since Ed's article this week for is on St. Louis Cathedral, we'll start with that New Orleans landmark.

Desktop wallpaper of St. Louis Cathedral. Clockwise, from top left: the church in 1794, just before it was designated as a cathedral by the first bishop of Louisiana and Florida, Don Luis Ignacio Maria de Pefialver y Cardenas, a Havana native (and Legendary Local). Next, the large photo is a shot of St. Louis Cathedral today, and in the bottom corner is a shot of the Cathedral in 1849, as it was being renovated/expanded. Click the images for the full-resolution file.

Here's the same three images, formatted for Facebook click image for the full size version).

And one for Google Plus. Since the width of a G+ cover picture is a bit more than FB, we added a fourth image, the plans for the original 1726 Church of St. Louis, drawn by Adrien de Pauger.

Feel free to comment here or on FB/G+ with ideas for other cover pages/wallpapers!

Book Signing - Thursday, January 31st at @OctaviaBooks!

join us at Octavia Books, 513 Octavia Street (corner of Laurel), on
Thursday, January 31st at 6PM, for the first book

Ed will do a short talk on some
of the Legendary Locals in the book, we'll have some discussion, and
books will be signed. All in the intimate (and independent) setting of

Links to event




Feature Photo: Desire, 1948

In 1948, the "Streetcar Named Desire" transitioned to bus service. At the time, the New Orleans City Council required that streetcars have two-man crews, a motorman and a conducter. Buses, on the other hand, only required one driver. That meant New Orleans Public Service, Incorporated (NOPSI) could reduce their payroll on the street by 50% ever time they discontinued a streetcar line. With the war over, the War Department's restrictions on rubber sales meant tire manufacturers were back in full swing. With gas and rubber available, Detroit began making buses again, and cities like New Orleans bought into them.

2000s on Carrollton Avenue

A 2000-series Carrollton car, heading down St. Charles Avenue, back to her regular route. The "red ladies" are stored at the streetcar barn behind the A. Philip Randolph bus terminal on Canal Street, but return to Carrollton Station periodically for body work and other maintenance. This car's going the wrong way on the track (inbound on the outbound track), because the St. Charles line is currently undergoing renovation and track work in advance of the Super Bowl.

Courtesy FleurtyGirl, so go buy her stuff so she takes more streetcar photos for us. :-)


Streetcar and New Orleans Books!

Legendary Locals of New Orleans
, published by Arcadia is a 128-page treasure trove of people, famous as well as "unsung heroes," whose lives made an impact on the City of New Orleans.Read the back-cover textBuy the book (signed from author, Amazon, B&N, Powells)
NOTE: Accepting PRE-ORDERS! Book release scheduled for 14-Jan-2013

Blanche Department Stores


Of The Sacred Heart In New Orleans


Orleans: The Canal Streetcar Line

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