Wednesday, December 31, 2008

St. Louis Cathedral -- Cabildo -- Arcade

St. Louis Cathedral
George spent some time here, hiding out during the day with the package he’s carrying for Lana. I talked about the cathedral in the Pirate’s Alley section, but here’s the photo again…

George spotted Patrolman Mancuso and hid behind an arch in front of the Cabildo. The original Cabildo building was destroyed in a fire in 1788 and was rebuilt in 1795. It was the seat of the Spanish colonial government. The Cabildo has seen many historic events, such as the transfer of the Louisiana Purchase. After the Civil War, it was the home of the Louisiana Supreme Court from 1868 to 1910. It’s been a museum since 1911.
Here’s a photo of the Cibaldo…

After spotting Patrolman Mancuso, George dashes down the arcade which leads to St. Peter St. Here it is…

When I took this photo in August 2008, you can see that there was considerable construction activity. This little arcade runs between Pirate’s Alley and St. Peter St.

St. Odo Parish

St. Odo Parish
While Mrs. Reilly, Santa Bataglia and Mr. Robichaux walk to a Debbie Reynolds movie, they pass the fictional St. Odo Parish church, which was “really at it” that night. They went to a theatre, which was probably the Prytania and settled in for a show. The only clue about the movie’s plot comes from Santa, when she says, “I betcha little Debbie’s gonna have her a baby!”
How the West Was Won” was an epic western that starred Debbie Reynolds and Gregory Peck, among others. It followed several generations of a family making their way in the frontier of the American west. In the movie, Reynolds plays a character that ties several generations together and appears in three of the five chapters. It was released on February 20, 1963, which lines up nicely with my theory that Confederacy was set in the winter of 1962-1963.

Trixie's Apartment

Trixie’s Apartment
Toole said that Mr. and Mrs. Levy went to Trixie’s apartment and “stopped before a dazed-looking wooden apartment building across from the Desire Street wharf.”
The Desire Street wharf used to sit in the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans. Of course, Bywater is also where the Levy Pants building was located and Trixie would walk to work. In fact, when the Levy’s went to Trixie’s apartment, they passed Levy Pants along the way. Toole says they “passed the factory” and then “turned along the river” before stopping at Trixie’s building.
The concrete apron of the Desire Street wharf was laid down by Works Progress Administration (WPA) in 1937 and was part of a larger dock rehabilitation program.
Here are some photos of the wharf that were taken in 1938.

The wharf is no longer there and the concrete apron is gone, too. Several other docks can be seen in this satellite photo from Google maps, but there is a blank space where Desire Street dead ends into the Mississippi River.
From Chartres Street, you can’t even see the river because of a giant wall. Here is the view, looking towards the south…

Behind the wall is a railroad track, and you can see that a train is stopped right there.
I’m guessing that Trixie’s apartment building would be somewhere near the corner of Desire St. and Chartres St…

…However, I’m not sure I’ve found the building exactly as described…
On one corner of Desire St. and Chartres St., there’s a small vacant lot next to a brick building…

Trixie’s apartment building might have sat in that vacant lot.
Or it might be this building that’s on the other corner of Desire St. and Chartres St…

Trixie’s apartment was upstairs, and as you can see, there are some upstairs rooms that might have been apartments. Hell, they could be apartments, today, I didn’t check. The downstairs portion is being used as a bar/restaurant called Elizabeth’s.

RKO Orpheum and Roosevelt Hotel

RKO Orpheum and Roosevelt Hotel
Ignatius tricked George into watching his hot dog cart while he went to the RKO Orpheum theater and watched a movie. The theater was built in 1918 and opened in 1921. It sits at 129 University Place.
It was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina and remains closed to this day. It has been purchased by a Dallas businessman who has plans to restore and reopen it.
Here are a couple of photos I took of the place in August 2008...

Here's a photo of the Orpheum in happier times (I think this is from the mid-1990's)...

When Ignatius came out of the theater, George was waiting for him in front of the Roosevelt Hotel. The Roosevelt actually sits across the street from the Orpheum, and its address is 123 Baronne St.
The hotel was built in 1893 and was originally called The Grundewald. It went through some major expansions and then was purchased by a group of New Orleans investors in 1923. At that time, they changed the name to honor former President Theodore Roosevelt.
Here’s a postcard showing the hotel as it appeared after a 1908 expansion…

In 1965, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts purchased the Roosevelt and renamed it “The Fairmont.” However, most New Orleans natives never called it that and continued calling it the Roosevelt.
The Roosevelt Hotel was also heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Renovation work started and then stopped after engineers realized exactly how severe the damage was.
There are current plans to renovate the hotel, return its “Roosevelt” name, and reopen it in the spring of 2009.

Here are a couple of photos I took of the hotel in August 2008...

And here’s a photo showing the Orpheum across the street from the Roosevelt…

US11 Causeway


Ignatius and Myrna left New Orleans via US 11. That route would have taken them out of the city eastward and northeastward. They would have crossed a narrow part of Lake Pontchartrain and entered Slidell. Here’s a Google map image of US 11...,-90.124283&spn=0.856593,1.277161&t=k
As you can see, it runs roughly parallel to I-10 as it crosses Lake Pontchartrain.


Dr. Nut

In several places in the book, Ignatius talks about Dr. Nut soda and he even tries to order one at the Night of Joy bar. This isn’t a fictitious brand but was real. It was produced by the New Orleans based World Bottling Company, but went out of business in the early 1970’s.
Here’s a website with lots of details…

Greyhound Scenicruisers

The Scenicruiser that Ignatius hates so very much is a GMC bus that Greyhound ran during from the mid 1950’s to the early 1970’s. They featured a raised seating platform for passengers that gave them an unparalleled view of the road.
For many years, they were the main workhorse in Greyhound’s fleet.
Wiki link…
And a fan site…

Big Chief Tablets

Ignatius had piles of Big Chief tablets, on which he would grace us with his genius. The tablets were produced by the Western Tablet Company out of St. Joseph, Missouri, but are no longer in production.

Muscatel Wine

Muscatel wine is made from the muscat family of grapes. The grapes range in color from white to deep red and the wine can also range in those colors. It usually produces a sweet wine that is most commonly consumed as a desert wine.
The Gallo family vineyards produce a muscatel wine that they market under their Carl Rossi brand.
Mrs. Reilly would keep a bottle of the wine in the stove and would comfort herself with it when Ignatius’ craziness became too much for her to handle.
Here’s a wiki link that explains how its made…

Early Times

At one point in the story, Ignatius walks into the house and sees his mother, Patrolman Mancuso, and Santa Bataglia sitting around the kitchen table with an empty bottle of Early Times between them. Early Times is a Kentucky Whisky that’s popular in the South.

Blue Horse Tablet

Although Ignatius preferred Big Chief tablets, he also used Blue Horse from time to time.

Venus Medalist Pencil
Ignatius writes with a Venus Medalist pencil and then probing his ear for wax. I haven’t been able to locate any information about this brand of pencil.

Dixie 45

Mrs. Reilly ordered a couple of Dixie 45’s at the Night of Joy Bar.
Dixie 45 was a beer made by the Dixie Brewing Company for many years. There are a couple of different stories about how the name was created, but most of them have a similar theme. Both stories center around a bar across the street from the brewery where many of the workers would gather after their shift. One story says that the bartender displayed a .45 cal revolver, proudly telling the workers that’s why he’s never been robbed. The workers thought that was funny and started calling him “45.” They’d say, “Hey, gimme a Dixie, 45.” Eventually, the beer became known as Dixie 45 and the workers approached their boss about officially changing its name.
The other main story says that the bartender used to announce, “Dixie kicks like a 45.” The workers liked that and approached their boss about changing the name to Dixie 45.
Either way, the name was changed to simply “Dixie,” or “Dixie Lager” after Colt 45 came onto the market. Dixie had never copyrighted the name and Colt 45 had. So, Dixie had to give up the name, even though they had used it for much longer.
This is another indication as to the time period in which Confederacy was set. Colt 45 was introduced in 1963 and it was shortly thereafter that the Dixie 45 name was changed.
Dixie Brewing Company was hurt pretty badly by Hurricane Katrina and the main brewery in New Orleans is still shut down. When the flooding peaked, the brewery sat in about ten feet of water. After the waters subsided, looters stripped the building down almost to the walls. They even stole the copper vat where the beer was brewed and the 100-year old cypress barrels where it was stored. The beer is currently being made by the Huber Brewery in Monroe, Wisconsin. You can find it all over the South, especially in Louisiana.
I drank this one at the ACME Oyster House in New Orleans.

This is the company’s official website…