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The little village, notwithstanding it had its full share of infantile troubles, grew; expanding on its lower limits through the incoming of a sturdy population into what is now known as the Third District, the old town being the nucleus of the Second District, while across the upper boundary, Canal Street, the American inflow settled, and that section is now called the First District. In time, commencing at Felicity Street, then called Felicity Road, the little community of Lafayette extended on up, gradually developing into what we now term the Fourth District, and which for quite a period was prettily designated the Garden District of New Orleans. From Toledano Street to Joseph Street was the town of Jefferson City; and, skipping over some interlying tracts of land, from Lower Line on further up, was the town of Carrollton. These two separate towns, with the other mentioned territory, now form part of New Orleans, being the Sixth and Seventh Districts. l'pper Line was one of the boundaries of the Bouligny tract, and was in Jefferson City, while Carrollton on its lower side was bounded, as stated, by Lower Line, giving rise to what must now seem to the uninitiated a twisted state of affairs, for Upper Line is below Lower Line as the streets run. Across the river was the town of Algiers, which also in time was annexed to and became part of New Orleans as the Fifth District. The extension along the Lake Pontchartrain border was the result in part at least of political exigency, during the time of negro prominence as a voting power. Thus the little plot of ground laid out by Bienville in 1718 has grown into the present City of New Orleans.
Probably not one-half of those who live to-day in the beautiful residences that border St. Charles Avenue remember when that thoroughfare upward from Lee Circle, then called Tivoli, was known as Nayades Street; or that the central ground was the roadbed for steam trains between Carrollton and this city, and vet such was the case not so many years ago. We forget things fast.
On that little piece of ground forming the upper river corner of Baronne and Perdido Streets, and where, by the way, was subsequently erected a theatre for the production of German plays in the vernacular, and which building itself now is only a thing of memory, having been supplanted by the De Soto Hotel, was the initial depot. From here up Baronne Street, around Triton
Walk, now known as Howard Avenue, and cutting its way through where at present stand Ford's animal hospital, the long cars of the train were drawn by horses. At this point the change was made from animal to steam power, the depot covering the space from Carondelet (then Apollo) Street through to St. Charles, which, as already stated, was Nayades. On a great portion of this ground to-day is our handsome Public Library.
It was a regularly appointed steam train that carried the people—several long passenger coaches and the steam locomotive. Regular stops were made along the route, the first at a station located midway between Polymnia and Felicity Streets, until the terminus was reached at Carrollton. From here the railway continued on out to the lake shore, where one among the finest of the city's restaurants was located, and where other accommodations for rest or pleasure were to be found.
At Carrollton, between the depot and the roadway running parallel with the river, was the Carrollton Garden, with its long two-storied frame hotel, its pretty walks, its lovely plants and Howers, its fountain with the ever-falling and ascending ball, and its swings for the children. On a Sunday afternoon, particularly, the place was alive with pleasure seekers, both old and young. How many a frosted-haired merchant of to-day could tell of his innocent rambles there; how many a grandmother perhaps here first heard whispered the words of love, while the roses swayed and nodded to the caressing breezes from the great river just in sight. It was the one place, it might be said, where the city's population met.
But the garden has passed out of sight; the lake end is dismantled; and only its pleasant memories remain to the older set. All the open spaces between Carrollton and Louisiana Avenue, which were once the tempting crawfish grounds for the schoolboys’ Saturday frolics, are now built up with handsome residences.
Oh! what delightful recollections cluster around those Saturday frolics, when a half-dozen youngsters would start out with their bucket and string and bait, and loiter half the day under the big oaks that sheltered Delachaise and Burtheville. And when the fragrant acacia was in bloom, how pockets bulged out with the sweet-scented yellow balls, that mothers took gladly in pay for all the trouble that sunburned and muddied children
gave. The last bush, probably, may still be found in the vacant half-square at Prytania and Leontine Streets, adjoining the Flaspoller residence.
The old line of double-decker horse cars ran out Jackson Avenue over the same course as the trolleys of to-day, stopping on Baronne at Canal Street. These cars were divided into compartments, with seats arranged crosswise and facing each other, with a long step on each side, the entire length of the car, enabling the conductor to pass back and forth to collect his fares. At the end of the car was a narrow stairway leading to the top, and there, running lengthwise along the center, was a double row of seats with one common back. While the compartments below were provided for the accommodation respectively of ladies, and of white and of colored patrons, upstairs was for whites, and, generally from the very nature of things, used only by men. And a jolly ride it was in the cool of a summer evening.
The Westfeldt residence, on Prytania Street, was built by an old-time citizen, Mr. Toby; and he must have been a patron of this line of cars, for he caused to be erected, as a protection against inclement weather, a shed, or little station, at the corner of Jackson and Prytania, where the drug store now stands. The spot soon became familiarly known as Toby's corner, and the name clung to it for some little while.
What a fine old set some of the earlier city fathers must have been, as witness the naming of the streets. The nine muses still remain in Calliope, Clio, Erato, Thalia, Melpomene, Terpsichore, Euterpe, Polymnia and Urania, while the Dryades still keep them company; but the Vayades have vanished, and even graceful Apollo and jolly Bacchus no longer adorn their respective street corners, but have given way to Carondelet and Baronne from Triton Walk (Iloward Avenue) up.
In these days of rapid transit, as exemplified by the electric car, we are apt to forget of what recent date the system is, and the earlier methods of transportation fade from our memories like a dream of the night. And yet not very many years back the laying of the rails for the mule cars, while furthered by some, was by others regarded as a disturbing element, for they argued that the streets would be disfigured, if not even rendered useless for other traffic. At that time, and it does not require the hunting up of any over-elderly resident to tell of it, the old lumbering omnibus, drawn by two horses, the entrance at the rear, the driver perched on top at the front with a little opening by his seat through which the fare was paid, and a long leather strap passing from his foot to the door, by means of which it was closed after the entrance or departure of a passenger, and by pulling which the desire for a stop was conveyed, did duty in hauling the business man to and from his store, or some lady bent on her shopping quest.
Nor did these 'busses run over as smooth a bed as our present asphalted streets allow, for then the paving was all done with that abomination of cobblestone, which the many sailing vessels then frequenting the port would bring over as ballast for want of freight. To any one not an actual participant in the delights of such a jolting ride, imagination will have to lend its aid; and yet there were dyspeptics even then. Canal Street was, as now, the dividing line between up and down town, and to and from this common point the vehicles wended their way for the convenience of their patrons from the upper or lower districts. The routes were mainly over the same streets as are now used by the cars, though not in as great number and by no means extending such distances.
The Tchoupitoulas 'bus went as far as the old stock landing at the foot of Louisiana Avenue; the Magazine line went up to the old barn at Pleasant Street; the stables for the Prytania route being at Urania Streets, woods side, now adorned by a stately residence, while the Pontchartrain depot and points further back were the termini of the downtown lines.
Nor was Canal Street then the great thoroughfare it now is for the feminine portion of the population. Chartres Street was the site for the leading modistes and retail dry goods establishments, and at that period was the Mecca of the fashionable set in their search for bonnets and ribbons and laces and all the finery that women so love to buy and men so like to see them wear. Mme. Olympe, whose reputation as modiste extended far beyond the limits of the city, had her establishment at the corner of Customhouse, now known as Iberville Street ; but later followed the exodus up to Canal Street, the pioneers in which move were at the time regarded as undertaking a most dangerous experiment. There were Holmes, and Barriere, and Haggerty, and Giquel, and Jamison, Holmes being probably the first to
change quarters, the others following from time to time. And yet in comparatively few years the change has been so complete that we are prone to regard Canal as always having been fashion's great resort.
Where the Rathskeller is now was formerly a theatrical point, having been occupied by the Audubon Theatre, which was before that time the Academy of Music; but the stage in earlier years was so arranged as to be easily converted into a sawdust ring for circus performances; and there many of our people, still boasting of youthful appearance, were wont to go into raptures over the trick horses and funny clowns. Through an alleyway, extending back into Camp Street, the horses were brought into the ring, and many a citizen of to-day has doubtless stood at the entrance in boyish admiration of the well-trained steeds.
Before the electric system was adopted, gas was the medium for lighting the city; and before that, still not so very long ago, the lamps were fed with oil, and not the coal-oil of to-day either. How the youngsters would watch with glee for the coming of the lamplighter, with his little ladder to mount to the lamp, his rags to clean the protecting glass, and his matches to complete the work. Viewed from our present surroundings the methods of those days seem primitive, but they were good old days for all that.
The site now occupied by Soulé's College was not so very long back a police station, or calaboose, as was the familiar term then, and in it have been confined over night all manner of disorderly persons, including many notable criminals. The Recorder's Court for that district held its sessions there and disposed of the various offenders that were brought before the bar.
Lafayette Square, which in earlier years was devoid of any statuary, was surrounded, as indeed were all similar parks in the city, by a tall iron railing. Here the military were accustomed to assemble on any great holiday requiring the parade of the militia, and the gathering was always a brilliant one. The old Washington Artillery, whose quarters were then in Girod Street, midway between St. Charles and Carondelet, would have its cannon in the square to boom forth the necessary salutes. Residents in the neighborhood had to take great care to have their windows open, or else suffer the consequences in broken panes of glass. There were some very fine military companies in