Historic Algiers Point Walking Tour
RIDE THE FERRY TO ALGIERS POINT HISTORIC DISTRICT
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places
Walking distance from the French Quarter
Cross the mighty Mississippi River on the Canal Street-Algiers Point ferry, in continuous operation since 1827
Walk the quiet streets of this 19th century village and discover “New Orleans’ Best Kept Secret”
ALGIERS POINT HISTORIC NEIGHBORHOOD SELF-GUIDED WALKING TOUR
Suggested Route (approx. 2 miles)
Leave the ferry terminal; (turn left [downriver] on Morgan St., or spend a few minutes on the Mississippi River levee enjoying the spectacular view of the skyline of New Orleans or watch the boats drifting by. For the bird watchers, the batture (the area of foreshore between the levee and the river) is a haven for pelicans, cormorants, egrets, hawks, owls, gulls and numerous smaller birds). Imagine, in the mid-19th century, seeing steamboats, dry docks, lumber yards and railroad tracks crowding the riverbank.
1. 225 Morgan St., Algiers Courthouse, 1896. The Richardsonian Romanesque style building was constructed after the Algiers Fire of 1895, when approximately 200 homes were destroyed, to replace the Duverje plantation home (1812) that had served as a courthouse. The present courthouse is the third oldest continuously used courthouse in the State of Louisiana. Feel free to enter and browse this interesting building and check out the Algiers’ Jazz exhibit in the foyer.
2. At the rear of the courthouse is the Algiers Museum & Jail.
(On leaving the courthouse, continue downriver on Patterson, or for a better view, get back up on the levee, to the corner of Verret St.)
3. 501 Patterson St., Canal-Commercial Trust & Savings Bank (originally the Commercial Germania Trust & Savings Bank), 1907. Designed by noted New Orleans architect Emile Weil in the Classical style with marble facing and terracotta brackets and is a New Orleans historic landmark.
(Continue on Patterson to Larkin Park)
4. Larkin Park. Site of St. John’s Market in the 1870’s and later the Algiers Farmer’s Market, this pocket playground was dedicated in 1926 to honor Father Thomas J. Larkin, S. M., who served 18 years as a much loved and respected pastor in the parish of Holy Name of Mary. It was redesigned and rebuilt in 1989 by the Algiers Point Association.
(Continue on Patterson and turn right on Olivier St.)
5. 200 block, Olivier St., 1850’s-1890’s. Well-kept homes built over a fifty year span feature a wide range of architectural styles including Greek Revival (205), Italianate (221, 222, 224), Eastlake (209), Queen Anne (236), and Creole cottage (239). Notice the carriage house in the rear yard of 236 and the uniquely New Orleans raised bungalow at 228.
(Turn left on Pelican Ave)
6. 718 Pelican Ave., c.1871. Italianate style two-story with a beautiful leaded glass door and a fine example of Corinthian pillars. The brick banquette (French for sidewalk) was unearthed in 1986. Note the Gothic fence, which supports the owners’ favorite roses.
7. 813 Pelican Ave., Belleville School, 1895. Built on the site of John Hughes’ Hotel.
(At the end of Pelican Ave., was the site of the Algiers Railroad yards, 1853-1950’s. The yards were two blocks wide and extended 22 blocks from the river to the Orleans parish line. Railroad engines and cars were constructed and repaired in the yards, and a massive ferry transported both passenger and freight cars across the river to continue their journey to the East and West coasts. Founded in 1852 as the New Orleans, Opelousas & Great Western Railroad, these yards eventually became part of the Southern Pacific system and in their heyday employed approximately 4000 men, which could account for the fact that in 1911 Algiers boasted 39 saloons, 20 of which were in Algiers Point)
(At this point, turn around and backtrack on Pelican Ave.)
8. 725 Pelican Ave., Hubbell Algiers Point Library, 1907. This was originally the site of Eureka Hall, a lodge hall and early music venue. This Italian Renaissance style building is one of four remaining Carnegie Grant buildings in the city and one of two that are still used as libraries.
9. 705 Pelican Ave., 1848. This Greek Revival two-story center hall home was built by Francois Vallette who had interests in shipbuilding and lumber importing in Algiers. Vallette Street is named for him. The Barrett family was later residents and operated one of Algiers’ first funeral parlors from their home.
10. 530 Pelican Ave., Mount Olivet Episcopal Church, 1867. This Country Gothic church is the oldest surviving structure in Algiers. It originally faced Olivier Street, but was moved in the 1890’s to serve as a hall for a brick church, which was demolished in 1960. The stained glass windows are from that 1894 structure. The congregation dates from 1846.
11. 300 Olivier St., the Old Masonic Hall, 1890’s. In addition to its service as a lodge hall, this building was the Algiers Recorder’s Court, a police station, and a tax assessor’s office.
(Continue along Olivier St.)
12. 342 Olivier St., Knights of Columbus Home, 1895. A grand family residence with Eastlake details, stained glass windows, and a porte-cochere. It has been the home of the Santa Maria Council No.1724, Knights of Columbus since 1915. The home served as hospital for Algiers during the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918.
(Turn left on Alix then right on Vallette)
13. 446 Vallette St., 1940. This Art Deco style former movie theatre, the “Algy,” has been converted into a glass blowing studio and serves as reminder of the times when commercial buildings stood on almost every block.
(Cross Vallette St. onto Eliza St. so that the former Holy Name of Mary School is to your left)
14. International School of Louisiana (formerly Holy Name of Mary School).
(Corner of Eliza and Olivier Sts.)
15. Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1911. The congregation was organized in 1875 by German families in Algiers and the first church was soon built on the lot just to the left of the present structure. The Gothic/Colonial Revival style church was built with lovely period art glass windows.
(Continue on Eliza St. to Verret St. and turn right)
16. McDonogh Park (to your left, between Bermuda, Verret and Alix Sts.), known locally as the “Bermuda Triangle,” offers a large play area centered by the Algiers War Memorial. This was the site of McDonogh No.4 School, the first public school in Algiers and a 1907 fire station.
17. Holy Name of Mary Church, 1929, corner of Verret and Alix Sts. The church is built in Tudor Gothic style with over 75 stained glass windows (several from the Meyer firm of Munich, Germany) and beautiful marble and artwork from an earlier church. The Catholic parish in Algiers was established in 1848, and a small wooden church was built across from the Duverje home on Morgan St. In response to a growing population, the congregation first built at this location (a mid-19th century site of voodoo dancing and a Federal prison camp during the Civil War) in 1870.
18. 346 Verret St., Rosenthal’s Drug Store. A popular hang out with a soda fountain in the 20’s and 30’s, this large corner store was originally Kleinkemper’s Grocery. A Hibernia Bank branch operated at 340 Verret St. where the façade shows square pilasters and store windows of a different style from the main building. On the Alix St. side of the building notice the service wing extension which was used as living quarters for servants.
(Continue on Verret St. to Confetti Park)
19. Confetti Park, corner of Verret St. and Pelican Ave. Algiers’ first firehouse was built here in 1851. The small beautifully maintained playground was a legacy of the Duverje family and was playfully redesigned using a grant from the Arts Council of New Orleans.
(Turn left on Pelican Ave.)
20. 446 Pelican Ave., the Gulf gas station, 1930. The longest continuously operated service station in the South until it closed in 1990, the tiny tile roofed brick structure was the model of efficiency and customer service at the beginning of the automobile age.
(Turn right on Lavergne St.)
21. 405-407 Delaronde St., 1850. Corner of Delaronde and Lavergne Sts. This large double-galleried Greek Revival two family home with Gothic railings was built for sea captains and railroad men Augustin Seger and Thomas Rees. The large double is unique to Algiers and reflects the prosperity of the owners. The magnificent live oak tree in the side yard is about 200 years old and one of four similar aged oaks on the Point.
(Turn left on Delaronde St.)
22. 237 Bermuda St., 1896. This was the home of Dr. & Mrs. W. H. Riley. Built in the very latest style to reflect the owner’s status in the community and replaced a similar size home which burned in the 1895 Fire. This Neoclassical Revival home is a style popularized by the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition and has several Tiffany-style windows at the front and north side and shows a return to a simpler, less ornamented architectural style. Its large double lot provides a spacious side yard, unusual in Algiers Point.
(Turn left onto Bermuda St.)
23. The 300 block of Bermuda St. is notable for the continuous line of iron fences in front of homes embellished with 19th century gingerbread. Fencing at the front property line was common in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; cast and wrought iron or wooden picket fences were the norm for large or more modest homes. Many Algiers Point fences have been lost to damage, disrepair, or a desire to “modernize.”
(Turn right on Pelican Ave.)
24. 228 Pelican Ave., 1897. The former home of Martin Behrman, longest serving mayor of New Orleans (1904-1920, 1925-1926), and the only mayor from Algiers. Behrman’s home office was in the right bay of the structure, and Algerines wishing to visit him gathered on the porch and on the sidewalk to wait with their petitions. His Eastlake ornamented Queen Anne home is in a block of homes with fine late-Victorian details, all of which were constructed soon after the Great Fire of 1895.
Turn right at Bouny St. and head back up the cobbled street towards the ferry terminal.
Or search out these other points of interest listed below
For the Jazz lover, try the Robert E. Nims Jazz Walk of Fame on the levee or the two self-guided Jazz Tours of Algiers, "Over da River" Jazz Tour #1, or "Brooklyn of the South" Jazz Tour #2
A. 511 Seguin St. An 1856 Creole cottage with a steeply pitched West Indian-style roofline and front façade roof extension, which forms the front porch. The home was originally a convent built for the sisters of Mount Carmel on the corner of Alix and Seguin Sts. and later moved to this site. The sisters established the first school in Algiers at the former site in 1870.
B. Delcazal Park, where Verret and Seguin Sts. meet Opelousas Ave., was the original site of the Duverje cemetery and chapel. The remains of the Duverje and Olivier families and their slaves were moved in 1916 to Metairie Cemetery, and the land was donated to the City as a playground.
C. The Opelousas Ave. live oaks were planted in 1913 as part of the “City Beautiful” campaign that originated with the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893.
D. 425 Opelousas Ave., Fire Station, 1925. This structure was built on the site of an earlier 1897 fire station.
E. 501 Opelousas Ave., Love’s Outreach Christian Church, was formerly Philip Foto’s Folly Theatre, built in 1915 as a vaudeville and early silent screen theatre. Built on the earlier site of Algiers first playground, which opened in 1913.
F. 637 Opelousas Ave., Algiers United Methodist Church, 1922. This Colonial Revival church replaced an earlier building, at the corner of Delaronde and Lavergne Sts. that was damaged by the hurricane of 1915. The exceptional faceted glass windows were installed in 1979. The Algiers Methodist congregation was organized in 1844.
G. 648 Opelousas Ave., the former Sts. John Masonic Temple, 1926. The site of Jazz dances through the 20’s and 30’s and later served as the Algiers Post Office.
H. 715 Opelousas Ave., Martin Behrman School, 1929. The Spanish Revival Colonial style school was the first public high school in Algiers and retains its decorative stonework, terracotta roof tiles and ornate bell tower. The clock was repaired in 1997 after being dismantled during World War II.
I. 630 Pacific Ave., 1892. The renovation of New Orleans’ most famous “shotgun” house was seen on PBS Television’s “This Old House” in 1991. The floor plan of the shotgun is arranged with all the rooms in a straight line from front to back allowing a bullet shot from the front door to pass out of the rear door without hitting anything. This home was originally a double, or two family, shotgun, and has been converted into a single.
J. 701 Patterson St., Renecky Shoe Company Store, 1870’s. A well-preserved example of a corner store with residence above that retains its cast iron railed balconies over the sidewalk and features the original stained glass window signs. The second floor was formerly a meeting and concert hall.
K. 509 Wagner St., 1916, the former home of “beat writer” William S. Burroughs in 1948-49, Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady being two of his visitors. His books include “Queer,” “Naked Lunch” and “The Soft Machine.” This home is outside of the Algiers Point neighborhood and can be reached by a 15 minute walk downriver from the Renecky Shoe Company Store on the levee or Patterson St., then turn right on Wagner St.
Copyright © 2016: Kevin Herridge
Researched and written by Kevin Herridge and Judi Robertson.
"Over da River" Jazz Tour
RIDE THE CANAL STREET/ALGIERS POINT FERRY
FROM THE FRENCH QUARTER
ACROSS THE MIGHTY MISSISSIPPI RIVER TO ALGIERS
“OVER DA RIVER” -
TO HISTORIC ALGIERS
TAKE A FREE SELF-GUIDED WALKING TOUR, AND VISIT THE FORMER HOMES OF ALGIERS’ JAZZ MUSICIANS, THE VENUES THEY PLAYED IN, AND THE ROBERT E. NIMS JAZZ WALK OF FAME, AND GET THE BEST VIEW OF NEW ORLEANS’ SKYLINE
COPYRIGHT © 2016, KEVIN HERRIDGE www.risingsunbnb.com
Jazz musicians of the 1920s referred to Algiers as “over da river” or the “Brooklyn of the South,” the latter for its proximity to New Orleans as compared to New York and Brooklyn, both separated by a river. This tour concentrates on the Algiers Point neighborhood, that has a long, rich history of African American, French, Spanish, German, Irish, and Italian/Sicilian residents. Algiers, the second oldest neighborhood in New Orleans after the French Quarter, was the site of the slave holding areas, newly arrived from Africa, the powder magazine, and slaughterhouse of the early 18th century. John McDONOGH, the richest man, and largest landowner in New Orleans, lived here.
Algiers was famous countrywide in the African American communities for its “Voodoo” and “Hoodoo” practitioners, and is celebrated in songs on this subject.
The earliest bands containing Algiers’ musicians included the Pickwick Brass Band (1873-1900s), the Excelsior Brass Band (1880-1928), Jim DORSEY’s Band (1880s), Prof. MANETTA’s String Band (1880s), BROWN’s Brass Band of McDonoghville (1880s), and Prof. A. L. TIO’s String Band (aka the Big Four) (1880s), the Pacific Brass Band (1900-1912), and Henry ALLEN’s Brass Band (1907-1940s). These dates are approximate, as very little evidence has been found of definite dates.
Other Algiers’ bands included the Tom ALBERT Band, the Algiers Brass Band, the Algiers Naval Station Band, Mervin BUDGE’s Band, Peter BOCAGE’s Creole Serenaders, the Norman BROWNLEE Band, the Charles DEVERGE Band, George LEWIS’ Ragtime Jazz Band, Billy LUFT’s Band, Bert PECK’s Princeton Revellers, the Sam ROSS Orchestra, Leslie STURTEVANT’s Band, the Elton THEODORE Orchestra, Charlie LOVE’s Band, Sam MORGAN’s Band, and “Kid” Thomas VALENTINE’s Algiers Stompers, to name a few.
Jazz, Blues, Rhythm & Blues, and Rock & Roll artists were born, lived or played on the right bank of the Mississippi River from the Magnolia Plantation in Pointe a la Hatche to Westwego, and beyond. Algiers and Gretna has been the birthplace of, or home to, a long list of musicians including the ADAMS family, Tom ALBERT, Henry ALLEN, Sr., Henry “Red” ALLEN, Harrison BARNES, Ronnie BARRON, Nick BENINATE, the BOCAGE Family, the BROWNLEE family, the BRUNIS family, Mervin BUDGE, Joseph “Kid Twat” BUTLER, the DAST family, George DAVIS, Henry DEFUENTES, Charles DEVERGES, the DOUROUX family, Frank DUSON, Bill EASTWOOD, Albert “Dude” GABRIEL, Wendell GREEN, Emmett HARDY, Clarence “Frogman” HENRY, George HOOKER, Edward “Son” HOUSE, Joe JAMES, the JOHNSON family, the LINDSAY family, Charlie LOVE, George LEWIS, Joseph “Bobo” LEWIS, Billy LUFT, the MANETTA family, the MARCOUR family, the MATTHEWS family, Elizabeth “Memphis Minnie” DOUGLAS, Bobby MITCHELL, Jackson MOLAISON, Sam MORGAN, Eddie MORRIS, the MOSLEY family, Louis NELSON, Jimmie NOONE, Jimmie “SPRIGGS” PALAO, Bert PECK, Alphonse PICOU, Eddie PIERSON, Sam ROSS, Ovide “Tete” ROCHON, George SIMMS, Louis SINO, Leslie STURTEVANT, Joe “Brother Cornbread” THOMAS, Bennie TURNER, “Kid” Thomas VALENTINE, Eddie VINCENT, the YOUNG family, to name a few!
Many of the Jazz venues have long since disappeared, as have many of the musicians’ homes. Most of the saloons, and dance halls are all but forgotten now by the modern-day Algiers’ residents. Gone are the days of Jazz funerals every week, the sound of dancing feet in the juke joints, and dance halls, and corner saloons. Relive the “Jazz Days” of Algiers with either of the self-guided walking tours.
As you leave the ferry terminal, turn left towards the Courthouse
225 Morgan - Algiers Courthouse, was built in 1896 on the site of the DUVERJE plantation home, which burned in the Great Algiers Fire of 1895. This fire destroyed over 200 homes and businesses from the river to Alix and Lavergne Sts. The present Courthouse is the third continuously used courthouse in Louisiana, and is the home of the Second City Court, and other city offices.
Turn right as you leave the Courthouse
237 Morgan - The first home rebuilt after the 1895 fire, was the home of Emmett HARDY (1903-1925) from 1920-1923. Hardy, born upriver in Gretna, is said to have been one of the greatest cornet players. Louis ARMSTRONG reportedly called him “The King” after HARDY beat him at a “cutting contest.” By the time he died at age 22, he had toured with Tony CATALANO’s band, and played in Chicago with the New Orleans Rhythm Kings. He played in Davenport, Iowa, with Carlisle EVANS’ band, influencing the young Bix BEIDERBECKE. In New Orleans he played principally with the Norman BROWNLEE Orchestra, and was replaced by Johnny WIGGS.
Cross Bermuda St.
307 Morgan - Oscar & Milton MARCOUR lived here from 1914-1916. Oscar (1895-1956) was a trained violinist and bandleader who frequently worked in bands with top musicians. Milton (1898-1961) was an active Dixieland pianist during the 20s playing with the Halfway House Orchestra, and in a quartet with Abbie BRUNIES, Buck ROGERS, and “Stalebread” LACOUME at the Bucktown Tavern.
Double back and turn left onto Bermuda St. then left onto Delaronde St.
407 Delaronde - Home to Norman BROWNLEE from 1912-1919. BROWNLEE (1896-1967), a native Algerine, was a pianist and bass-violinist. The Norman BROWNLEE Orchestra played in New Orleans in the 20s and 30s, and recorded on the Okeh record label in January, 1925. BROWNLEE moved to Pensacola, Florida in 1932 where he continued his musical career, and was the secretary-treasurer of the local musicians’ union.
415 Delaronde - Bill EASTWOOD (1899-1960) lived here from 1900-1922. A member of Norman BROWNLEE’s Orchestra in the early 20s and later with the Halfway House Orchestra, he played banjo, guitar and saxophone. EASTWOOD was the business agent for the American Guild of Variety Artists later in life.
Continue on Delaronde, and turn at Larkin Park (Amann St.) then right on Patterson St.
545 Patterson - A bar has been on this site since at least the 1840s, although then called a “Coffee House.” The Old Point Bar is one of the premier music joints in New Orleans today featuring live music on several nights per week. Check them out at www.oldpointbarnola.com. During the late 19th century, there were nine bars serving railroad and shipbuilding workers along the six block stretch of Patterson and Lavergne.
601 Patterson - A corner store building with residential units above, was a grocery with Algiers’ first soda fountain. It is the original site of Michaul’s Cajun Restaurant and dancehall that operated in the 1980s where Andrew HALL and Barry MARTYN held a regular spot.
Turn right on Olivier St.
228 Olivier - Alonzo CROMBIE (b. 1891), a Dixieland-style drummer after World War I, lived here from 1920-1923. CROMBIE mainly played with the Norman BROWNLEE Orchestra, and with Emmett HARDY.
302-308 Olivier was built as a Masonic Hall, but also housed a police station and a recorder’s court in the 1890s. This was the sight of many Jazz sessions on the upper floor that featured Jack LAINE’s Reliance Band, “Happy” SCHILLING, Norman BROWNLEE, and Oscar MARCOUR.
311 Olivier - Home to Norman BROWNLEE in 1911.
334 Olivier - Home to Bill EASTWOOD in 1926.
342 Olivier has been home to the Santa Maria Council No. 1724, Knights of Columbus since 1915. Many Jazz greats played here including MARCOUR’s Band, the Magnolia Jazz Band, BROWNLEE’s Jazz Band, “Kid” Thomas VALENTINE, Nick LAROCCA, and Bert PECK.
Turn right on Alix St.
The property that the Holy Name of Mary Church (to your left) stands on, before the Civil War, was the site of Voodoo ceremonies.
Continue to Bermuda St., turn right
436 Bermuda - The great clarinetist, Alphonse PICOU (1878-1961), lived here in 1898. He organized the Accordiana Band in 1894, and the Independence Band in 1897. He played with Oscar DUCONGE in 1899, and then the Olympia, the Excelsior, and the Onward Brass Bands. Then with the Tuxedo Brass Band, and the Camellia Orchestra. Later with Manuel PEREZ, John ROBICHAUX, and Kid RENA. Was with Papa CELESTIN in the late 1940s, and led his own band in the early 1950s.
428 Bermuda - Bert PECK (1906-1984) was born here, and resided within four blocks of this address his entire life. PECK, a Dixieland piano player in the 1920s, played with the Cloverleaf Jazz Orchestra, the Princeton Revellers, PECK’s Bad Boys, Johnny BAYERSDORFER, and Leon PRIMA. He continued to perform in his later years, playing on the ‘Delta Queen’ steamboat in 1982.
420 Bermuda - Although destroyed by fire, the Pythian Hall once stood here, and was one of the premier Jazz venues in Algiers in its time. Among the bands that played there were WEBERT’s Concert Band, the Peerless Orchestra, “Papa” Jack LAINE’s Reliance Band, “Happy” SCHILLING’s Band, the Princeton Jazzolas, and “Kid” Thomas. The BOSWELL Sisters sang a benefit here in 1925.
Turn left at Pelican Ave.
335 Pelican - The House of the Rising Sun Bed & Breakfast. Built in 1896 after the original home of 1870 was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1895. No Jazz significance at all apart from the fact the author of this tour owns the house and lives here.
312 Pelican - The home of trumpeter Urbin “Cricket” SCHERNBECK (1930-2003) from 1935-1949. At age 16 he got his first job playing with Billy LUFT’s Band, and was a regular member of that band.
239 Pelican - Home to “Professor” Manuel MANETTA in 1906. MANETTA (1889-1969) was born in Algiers, and was a member of a notable extended musical family that included the ADAMS and DOUROUX families. A multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, and music teacher, he taught many New Orleans’ musicians how to play in a career spanning over fifty years. His music career began in 1906 at the age of 17 with Tom ALBERT. Before 1910 he had played with Buddy BOLDEN, Frankie DUSON, and Edward CLEM. Around 1908 he was the solo pianist in Willie Piazza’s Basin Street brothel, and he played with the Original Tuxedo Orchestra until 1913. He was lured to Chicago to play during this period, but soon returned to New Orleans. During World War I, he played with Papa CELESTIN, and Joe HOWARD at the Villa Cabaret, and later traveled to California to play with “Kid” ORY, and played saxophone with Manuel PEREZ in the 1920s. MANETTA was famous for his ability to play trumpet and trombone simultaneously, and in harmony.
235 Pelican - Home to Louis DOUROUX in 1900. DOUROUX (b. 1875) played cornet in the Pickwick Brass Band. He married Olivia MANETTA in 1894, and was the father of Dolly DOUROUX (later ADAMS), another Jazz musician.
228 Pelican - Martin BEHRMAN (1864-1926) was the only Mayor of New Orleans from Algiers, and the Mayor serving the longest term in office (1904-1920, 1925-1926). He built this house soon after the fire of 1895. BEHRMAN was reportedly a great Jazz fan. He certainly knew many of the musicians that lived and played in his beloved Algiers. It is possible that BEHRMAN used his influence as Mayor to have Buddy BOLDEN declared insane, and moved from jail in New Orleans to the mental hospital in Jackson, Louisiana in 1907, after his breakdown.
Turn right at Bouny St. towards the ferry terminal and the Robert E. NIMS Jazz Walk of Fame that runs along the levee from the statue of Louis ARMSTRONG to Mardi Gras World.
Copyright 2016 – Kevin HERRIDGE
Now try the ALGIERS, “THE BROOKLYN OF THE SOUTH” walking tour, downloadable by clicking below. .
WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT ALGIERS’ MUSIC?
Contact Kevin Herridge for additional information and tours at (504)368-1123 or 335 Pelican Ave., New Orleans, Louisiana 70114 USA or firstname.lastname@example.org..
When in New Orleans, visit the William Hogan Jazz Archive at Tulane University, or the Williams Research Center, 410 Chartres St.
Visit the Louisiana Music Factory, 421 Frenchmen St., for the best selection of recorded Louisiana music in the world - www.louisianamusicfactory.com, or GHB Jazz Foundation at www.jazzology.com.
Read: “The Song For Me: A Glossary of New Orleans Musicians” – privately printed by Brian WOOD – email@example.com; “Fallen Heroes: A History of New Orleans Brass Bands” by Richard KNOWLES; check the Society website for suggested reading or watch out for my forthcoming book on Algiers’ Jazz up to 1939 - “Over Da River.”.
HISTORIC ALGIERS – “THE BROOKLYN OF THE SOUTH” - is a FREE self-guided walking tour researched and written by Kevin HERRIDGE. (2016 Copyright).
KEVIN HERRIDGE is an avid researcher of all genres of music in Algiers (New Orleans), Louisiana, and always interested in locating articles, interviews, photographs, personal recollections, memorabilia and artifacts of Algiers music and musicians, and Algiers history from any time period. If you have something to share, please feel free to contact him.
"Brooklyn of the South" Jazz Tour
RIDE THE CANAL STREET/ALGIERS POINT FERRY
FROM THE FRENCH QUARTER
ACROSS THE MIGHTY MISSISSIPPI RIVER TO
“BROOKLYN OF THE SOUTH”
TAKE A FREE SELF-GUIDED WALKING TOUR, AND VISIT THE FORMER HOMES OF ALGIERS’ JAZZ MUSICIANS, THE VENUES THEY PLAYED IN, AND THE ROBERT E. NIMS JAZZ WALK OF FAME, AND GET THE BEST VIEW OF NEW ORLEANS’ SKYLINE
COPYRIGHT © 2016, KEVIN HERRIDGE
Jazz musicians of the 1920s referred to Algiers as “over da river” or the “Brooklyn of the South,” the latter for its proximity to New Orleans as compared to New York and Brooklyn, both separated by a river. This tour straddles the Algiers Point and Algiers Riverview neighborhoods, both integral parts of historic Algiers, and both having a long, rich history of African American, French, Spanish, German, Irish, and Italian/Sicilian residents. This was the site of the slave holding areas, newly arrived from Africa, and the powder magazine of the early 18th century. John McDONOGH, the richest man in New Orleans, lived here. The earliest account of music on the West Bank is to be found here.
The Riverview area contains many African American churches, and some have over one hundred-year histories, one of which was the scene in days gone by of the fiery sermons of “Black Billy Sunday,” and many Jazz funerals, held for musicians, and benevolent society members. Several of the local musicians are interred in the nearby St. Bartholomew, St. Mary, and McDonogh cemeteries.
Some of the earliest brass bands that influenced the birth of Jazz, including the Pickwick, the Excelsior, and the Pacific, employed Algiers’ musicians. Buddy BOLDEN and Louis ARMSTRONG were two of the many Jazz luminaries that paraded through these streets. Another Jazz legend, Lester YOUNG, lived in Algiers, and his father, Willis Handy YOUNG, paraded with Henry ALLEN, Sr.’s Brass Band. Blues legend, Elizabeth DOUGLAS, better known as “Memphis Minnie,” was born here, and sings of Algiers in her 1940 recording, “Nothing In Rambling.”
Algiers was famous countrywide in the African American communities for its “Voodoo” and “Hoodoo” practitioners, and celebrated in song by Willie BRYANT, Roosevelt SYKES, Charlie SPAND, George WILLIAMS and Bessie BROWN, Brownie McGHEE (recorded as “Blind Boy” FULLER), “Kid” Thomas VALENTINE, Henry “Red” ALLEN, Billie and Dee Dee PIERCE, and J. B. LENOIR.
This tour concentrates on the often-unsung heroes, the African American musicians, who played such a great part in the history of New Orleans Jazz, and in some small way salutes their contribution to Jazz, and their rich culture. Although Algiers’ musicians played a major part in the history of Jazz and Blues, these genres of music were not born in Algiers…or were they?
WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO USE GOOD JUDGEMENT AND COMMON SENSE IN TAKING THIS TOUR (OR ANY TOUR) IN AN URBAN AREA – New Orleans Jazz Commission.
Take the Canal Street ferry to Algiers (leaves quarter to, and quarter past the hour from the foot of Canal Street). Turn right from the ferry terminal, and come downhill onto Bouny St., towards the Dry Dock Café & Bar.
The street to your left is Delaronde. Frankie DUSON (1878-1936) trombonist, and leader of the remnants of Buddy BOLDEN’s Band (under the new name of the Eagle Band), lived at number 162 (no longer standing) from 1894-1897. He also played on the “S.S Capitol,” with the E.R.A. Orchestra in the Depression, and with Louis DUMAINE. He was musically active until the mid-1930s.
Continue on Bouny St. and turn left onto Alix St.
331 Alix St. - Manuel MANETTA (1889-1969), bandleader, multi-instrumentalist, and music teacher, lived at 331 Alix from 1913-1923. His career started in 1906 with Tom ALBERT, and before1910 had played with Buddy BOLDEN, Frank DUSON, and Edward CLEM. Around 1908 he was solo pianist at Willie Piazza’s Basin Street brothel. He played with the Original Tuxedo Orchestra until 1913, played briefly in Chicago, but soon returned home to New Orleans to join with “Papa” CELESTIN and Joe HOWARD at the Villa Cabaret during World War I. In 1919 he was working with Kid ORY in California, and played saxophone with Manuel PEREZ in the 1920s. A member of a notable extended musical family including the ADAMS and DOUROUX families, he spent over 50 years as a music teacher. His signature feat was the ability to play trumpet and trombone simultaneously, and in harmony. His more famous home and studio were at 408-410 LeBoeuf.
333 Alix St. - Home to Louis DOUROUX (1875-1850?) and family, including his daugther, Dolly DOUROUX (later ADAMS) (1904-1979) in 1920. Pianist, and mother to Jazz musicians Placide, Justin, and Jerry ADAMS. Related to the MANETTA family.
Double back to Bouny St., turn left, continue to Opelousas Ave., turn left
425 Opelousas Ave. - Built in 1925, the fire station replaced an earlier station. Fire stations were important in the growth of Jazz in New Orleans as they often had halls above them that were used for social gatherings, and dances. The Sons of Firemen Band played here in 1928.
431 Opelousas Ave. - The home of Oscar (1895-1956) and Mickey MARCOUR (1989-1961). Oscar lived here from 1917-1919. He was an early Jazz violinist and bandleader, and a highly acclaimed musician. According to Bert PECK, another local musician, Oscar was known as the “RUBINOFF of Algiers.” His band included brother Mickey, Emmett HARDY, and Norman BROWNLEE, and they played together from about 1916-1922. Mickey (real name Milton) lived here from 1919-1927.
501-509 Opelousas is the Love’s Outreach Christian Church, formerly the Metropolitan Tabernacle (First Baptist Church of Algiers). This fabulous old building was formerly Philip FOTO’s Folly Theater, a venue that opened in 1915 presenting vaudeville, silent movies, minstrel, and musical acts including the Algiers Juvenile Orchestra, featuring a young Emmett HARDY, who played here in 1916. Many Jazz musicians played in minstrel and vaudeville shows. The Folly was built on the site of Algiers’ first playground that had opened in 1913 to the sounds of “Papa” Jack LAINE’s Reliance Band. This band had many local listings. The theater originally seated 900 people, but as its popularity grew, Mr. FOTO expanded the building to hold 2000 in 1920.
Delcazal Playground was originally the DUVERJE family cemetery. The playground opened in 1916 after the family tombs had been transferred to Metairie Cemetery. Bands that played here included DETROIT’s Band in 1918, and the General Staff Band of Mexico City in 1925. The unimaginatively named Laundry & Dry Cleaning Service, Inc. Band, under the directorship of Harry MENDELSON, played here in 1928, and 1929.
648 Opelousas Ave. - Formerly the Sts. John Masonic Temple, built in 1925. This monumental brick building was also the second Algiers post office. Jazz bands that played here regularly in the 20s were VIRGET’s Serenaders, the “Bats” Orchestra, Bert PECK’s Bad Boys, and Leslie STURTEVANT’s Peppermint Orchestra.
Turn left onto Vallette St.
607 Vallette St. - The home of Charles DEVERGE, bandleader and music teacher, from 1895-1897. He taught Charlie LOVE, Manuel MANETTA, and Peter BOCAGE.
603 Vallette St. - The home of clarinetist Albert “Dude” GABRIEL (c.1875-1970?) from 1907-1912. He played with Tom ALBERT in 1910, and with the Pacific Brass Band from 1910-1912. He also played with some ragtime bands around this time with Manuel MANETTA.
Double back to Slidell Ave., turn right
615 Slidell Ave. - The home of cornet and baritone-horn player George HOOKER (1882-1929?) from 1911-1914. HOOKER was a brass band musician who worked with the Pacific Brass Band about 1900, and the Tuxedo Brass Band in the mid-1920s. He worked regularly until the Depression with Henry ALLEN’s Brass Band and occasionally with the Excelsior Brass Band.
Turn left onto Verret St.
525 Homer St. (corner of Verret St.) - This home replaced the Ladies of Hope Benevolent Association Hall, a two-story building constructed in 1904, the scene of many dances and social gatherings through the years. In February, 1915, the Eagle Eye Aid and Pleasure Club, and the Love Entwiners Pleasure Club held a supper at the hall and “little Henry ALLEN, Jr., the young nine year old musician, rendered many pretty selections on the cornet.” “Kid” Thomas VALENTINE, Harrison and Emile BARNES, Charlie LOVE, Louis NELSON, George LEWIS, Louis GALLAUD, Albert JILES, and Barry MARTIN all recorded in the hall.
900 Verret St. - The site of an older house where Jimmy PALAO (1879-1935) lived with his grandmother, Clara SPRIGGS, who raised him. Jimmy was also known as Jimmy SPRIGGS. He appears in the 1901 city directory at this address, and is listed as a “musician.” This was probably the year he played with Buddy BOLDEN. A violin player (who also played sax and alto horn) with some very important early Jazz bands – Buddy BOLDEN’s Band and the Imperial Orchestra in 1906. He was in Storyville to 1912, and then toured with the Original Creole Orchestra with such luminaries as Freddie KEPPARD, George BAQUET, Bill JOHNSON, Norwood WILLIAMS, Dink JOHNSON, and fellow Algerine Eddie VINCENT. Eddie lived on Villere Street (now Morgan St., near the Courthouse). Jimmy then went up to Chicago then to California with King OLIVER. Around 1924 joined Fess WILLIAMS in Chicago.
921 Verret St. - The home of legendary brass band leader and cornet player, Henry ALLEN, Sr. (1877-1952) and his son, Henry “Red” ALLEN (1906-1967) from 1918-1922. It would probably be a shorter list to say who did not play with Henry ALLEN’s Brass Band! Many Algiers’ musicians played with him, as did such Jazz luminaries as Buddy BOLDEN, Joe “King” OLIVER, Louis ARMSTRONG, Sidney BECHET, and “Papa” CELESTIN.
1006 Verret St. - The home from 1924-40 of another cornet player, Charlie LOVE (1885-1963), the son of James LOVE of the Pickwick Brass Band. Charlie played in and around New Orleans from about 1900, playing with the Cado Brass Band in Shreveport, and with Henry ALLEN’s Brass Band. He worked in Storyville for Tom ANDERSON, and was a barman in 1921 for Lulu WHITE, the famous “Sporting House” keeper. LOVE started playing regularly in New Orleans in 1925 with the Lyric Theater pit band led by John ROBICHAUX, and was part of the W.P.A. Band in the late 40s and 50s as well as playing in parade bands, most notably the Tuxedo Brass Band.
Double back to Newton St, turn right, then left onto Vallette St.
825 Vallette St. - The home of “Kid” Thomas VALENTINE (1896-1987) in 1928. He played in the HALL family band in Reserve until about 1923, when he moved to Algiers, and joined the Elton THEODORE Band. He led his own band from 1926, and remains, along with George LEWIS, one of the most famous Algiers’ musicians.
Double back and cross Newton St.
1006 Vallette St. - The home of trumpeter and violinist, Peter BOCAGE (1887-1967), from 1927 until his death. He began his career in 1906, and played with the Original Superior Orchestra (1909), the Original Tuxedo Orchestra (1910-1913), and the Onward Brass Band with Joe “King” OLIVER at Lala’s. He was with Fate MARABLE’s “S. S. Capitol” Orchestra in 1916, but after 1918, joined the A. J. PIRON Orchestra. He composed “Mama’s Gone, Goodbye,” and introduced “Shimmy Like My Sister Kate.” His own band, the Creole Serenaders, recorded for Riverside in the 1960s.
Double back and turn right
717 and 719 Newton St. - Were the homes, sporadically through the 1910s-1930s, of drummer and trombonist Bill MATTHEWS (1899-1964), and his brothers Nathaniel “Bebe” MATTHEWS (C.1890-1961), and Ramos “Brown Happy” MATTHEWS (c.1886-1958), both drummers. Bill first played in 1917 with the Excelsior Brass Band, and in the dance orchestra of Jack WILLIAMS. He worked in Storyville with Sidney DESVIGNE just before it was closed down, and then played odd jobs with Frankie DUSON, Sam MORGAN, and Joe HOWARD. Bill began playing trombone in the early 20s, studying with Vic GASPARD. He headed west with Nat TOWLE’s Orchestra in 1926, touring with “Jelly Roll” MORTON, and then returning to New Orleans, with DESVIGNE on the “S. S. Island Queen.” In 1927 he played with “Bebe” RIDGLEY’s section of the Original Tuxedo Orchestra, and recorded with Oscar “Papa” CELESTIN. He played frequently at the Paddock on Bourbon Street from 1945-1963, usually with “Papa” CELESTIN until 1952. Nathan played drums with Henry ALLEN’s Brass Band, the Onward Brass Band, and the “Bebe” RIDGLEY Orchestra. Ramos was with the ALLEN Brass band from 1912-1925, and also played with Louis DUMAINE, the Tulane Brass Band, the Eureka Brass Band, and the Young Tuxedo Brass Band.
Double back towards the river
623 Newton St. - The Greater Providence Baptist Church, was organized in 1898. “Black Billy” Sunday (Rev. J. Gordon McPHERSON) was Pastor here in the late 1920s/early 1930s. A famous preacher of his day, he served in the Spanish-American War, and treated yellow fever stricken soldiers with his magical “healing hands.” His recorded sermons are available on CD.
501-503 Newton St. - From the 1950s to 1970s, known as the Greystone Voter’s League, was the place for Rhythm & Blues shows. Such greats as Ray CHARLES, and B. B. KING played here as well as a host of local talent, including “Professor” Longhair, Deacon John, Bobby MARCHAN, and the NEVILLE Brothers. The building’s musical history goes way back. Trombonist Harrison BARNES (1889-1960) lived here from 1919-1925. He was a pupil of Professor James HUMPHREY when he lived on Magnolia Plantation. BARNES played with the Eclipse Brass Band (1906), Henry ALLEN’s Brass Band (1907), Chris KELLY (until 1918), the NOLA Band (1923), and John ROBICHAUX (1924). He recorded with the Zenith Brass Band in 1946 and with “Kid” Thomas in 1951. John LINDSAY (1891-1950) lived at 503 Newton from his birth until 1900, when his family moved to 1019 Verret around the corner. LINDSAY was one of the true giants of Jazz, and started his career in Storyville in 1910, and played through the 1920s with John ROBICHAUX, A. J. PIRON, and “Papa” CELESTIN. In 1924, he was in Chicago playing with Joe “King” OLIVER, Willie HIGHTOWER, and Carroll DICKERSON. He recorded on bass and trombone with A. J. PIRON, “Jelly Roll” MORTON, the Harlem Hamfats, Jimmie NOONE, and Richard M. JONES. He toured and recorded with Louis ARMSTRONG. John’s brother, Herb LINDSAY (1888-?), a violinist, lived here during the same period. Like his brother, he started playing in Storyville about 1909, and a year or two later was playing with bands that included Freddie KEPPARD and “King” OLIVER. He played with the Primrose Orchestra in 1912, and went to Chicago in 1917 where he occasionally played with Lawrence DUHE. Brother Joe LINDSAY played drums, influenced by “Happy” BOLTON, and led his own “Kid” LINDSAY’s Jazz Band in 1916. Joe was said to be the first to employ a young Louis ARMSTRONG. He played with the Dixie Jazz Band after World War I, was with Bob LYONS in 1919, and “Kid” RENA periodically throughout the 20s. He left New Orleans for Chicago in 1931 until his return in 1939. The boys’ sister, Mamie, toured with the Merry Macs, being William McBRIDE and his wife, the former Mary THACKER, another Algerine. This venue was destroyed in Hurricane Katrina.
429 Newton St. - Mount Pilgrim 4th Baptist Church, one of Algiers’ oldest churches is sometimes pictured in Jazz funerals. The Eureka Brass Band were featured in one such photo.
414 Newton St. - The birthplace of trumpeter Henry “Red” ALLEN, one of Algiers’ most famous Jazz musicians. He started playing with his father’s brass band, and later played with the Excelsior, and Eureka brass bands. In the 1920s he played with the bands of Chris KELLY, “Kid” RENA, and Sidney DESVIGNE, then worked on the riverboats with Fate MARABLE and Walter PICHON. In 1927 he joined the “King” OLIVER Orchestra in New York, and in the 1930s recorded with Luis RUSSELL, Fletcher HENDERSON, “Lucky” MILLINDER, Louis ARMSTRONG, and “Jelly Roll” MORTON. He led his own orchestra from 1940 onwards, and made many recordings.
400 Newton St. - The site of Whitey’s Ballroom, owned by Roy DOLLINGER, a white trombone player, who would provide entertainment by playing along with the jukebox. This was earlier the site of the Manhattan Saloon, often called Frankie DUSON’S “headquarters.”
At the end of Newton St., turn right
926 Brooklyn Ave. - The home of Peter BOCAGE in 1912.
836 Brooklyn Ave. - (no longer standing) The site of the “Ping Pong Club” where a young Manuel MANETTA was taken by his brother to see Augustus “Gussie” NEIL, the first man he had ever seen play piano. Around 1913/14 the joint was known as “Glad-U-Kum.”
Turn right onto Homer St., then right again on Teche St.
922 Teche St. - is the site of the Pride of Algiers Masonic Temple, an African American Masonic Hall since 1952. Many Jazz and Rhythm & Blues bands played here including “Kid” Thomas and George LEWIS.
Double back and turn right onto Homer St.
423 Homer St. - was the home of trombonist Eddie PIERSON (1904-1958) in 1922. He played on the riverboats with Sidney DESVIGNE in the early 1930s and worked with a group that included Louis BARBARIN and Emmanuel SAYLES. He was also in the Sunny South Orchestra, A. J. PIRON’s Orchestra, the Young Tuxedo Orchestra, and the Great Lakes Naval Station Band. He is mainly associated with “Papa” CELESTIN from 1951 until CELESTIN’s death in 1954, when he took over the leadership of the band’s remnants.
426-428 Homer St. - The family home of drummer Freddie KOHLMAN (1918-1990). He played with A. J. PIRON, Joe ROBICHAUX, “Papa” CELESTIN, “Kid” ORY, the MORGAN Band, and the Onward Brass Band. In the 1930s he moved to Chicago, and played with Earl HINES and Lee COLLINS. He recorded with Thomas JEFFERSON and Willie HUMPHREY in the 1950s, toured with Louis ARMSTRONG, was a frequent performer at Preservation Hall, and toured internationally with many bands.
414 Homer St. - KOHLMAN’s Tavern (aka the Casbah), was successively a bar, fish stand, ice cream parlor, a “soft drinks” establishment in Prohibition days, and club, was owned by Freddie’s father, Louis KOHLMAN. A popular music venue in the 50s and 60s, “Kid” Thomas recorded here in 1968 with Emanuel PAUL, Louis NELSON, Charlie HAMILTON, Joseph “Kid Twat” BUTLER, and Sammy PENN.
404-408 Homer St. - The former site of a dance pavilion, described as “old” on a map of 1909.
Turn right onto Teche St.
At the side of the Central Market on Teche was the entrance to Philip FOTO’s Market Theater from 1910-1915. It offered silent movies and vaudeville acts to an audience of up to 700 people until FOTO opened the Folly Theater on Opelousas.
Turn left at the end of Teche St. onto Opelousas Ave.
The 300 block of Opelousas was the former home of several dance venues – the Nemo Theater, the Avenue Dance Academy, and the Westside Carnival Club. Many Jazz bands played here between 1909 and 1930 including Norman BROWNLEE, Manuel MANETTA’s Jazz Band, the Triangle Jazz Band, “Happy” SCHILLING, WHITACKER’s Jazz Band, “Papa” Jack LAINE, the Six Toddle Kings, and the Original Dixieland Jazz Band.
Turn right at the end of Opelousas Ave. onto Powder St.
536 Powder St. - was the BOCAGE family home. They were a family of prize winning boat builders as well as musicians. The boat yard was established next door at 530 Powder by Octave BOCAGE, Sr. His son Leopold (also known as Paul) BOCAGE, played guitar with Jim DORSEY’s Band, which included one of Manuel MANETTA’s uncles, and Henry DEFUENTES, Peter BOCAGE’S first music teacher. All the band members were light-skinned Creoles of Color. Paul’s three sons, Peter (1887-1967), Henry (1894-1980) and Charles (1900-1963), were members of Peter BOCAGE’s Creole Serenaders. Henry played tuba, string bass and trumpet, and performed with A. J. PIRON after World War I. Charles played banjo and guitar, and was a vocalist. He joined his brother to play with A. J. PIRON. Peter did not consider himself a Jazz player, rather a ragtime musician. He was a multi-instrumentalist, playing violin, as well as mandolin, guitar, banjo, trumpet, baritone horn, xylophone, and trombone.
416 Powder St. - was the birthplace and home of a young Manuel MANETTA. The family then moved to 331 Alix, which was the first home on our tour, in 1913.
Bear right onto Pelican Ave., and turn left back to the ferry terminal, and don’t miss the Robert E. NIMS Jazz Walk of Fame on the levee. It begins at the statue of Louis ARMSTRONG, and ends at Mardi Gras World. The batture (river side of the levee) has suffered many “crevasses,” or cave-ins, over the years, and much has fallen into the river. Most of the research for this tour covers the period up to 1939.
Copyright 2016 – Kevin HERRIDGE.
Now try the “OVER DA RIVER,” TO HISTORIC ALGIERS self-guided walking tour of Algiers Point, downloadable by clicking below.