I was so pleased to see that our delightful, enjoyable and helpful St. Charles Avenue streetcars received such well-deserved and official recognition as a National Historic Landmark. And many thanks to the city of New Orleans for maintaining the cars and the rails for all these years.
As a native “Yat,” having grown up just two blocks off St. Charles Avenue near Louisiana Avenue, I rode the St. Charles streetcar from Amelia Street to Nashville Avenue, transferred to the Nashville bus to Claiborne Avenue, to McMain High School for Girls round-trip for four years. The fare was 7 cents. The fashionable shoe of those days was the “penny loafer.” There was a slot across the front of the shoe, and we would store a nickel and two pennies in there for streetcar fare, in case of emergency!!
Over the years, there were hundreds, if not more, streetcar rides to Canal Street (no suburban malls then!), to Audubon Park (transferring to the Broadway bus), to the Main Library at Lee Circle, and to our synagogue, Congregation Beth Israel, in the 1600 block of Carondelet Street.
After marriage and an eventual large family of five children, we moved to Metairie. My husband, Judge Sol Gothard, and I took our kids frequently to the Audubon Park & Zoo, the Jewish Community Center on St. Charles Avenue, to ride the ferry boats across the Mississippi River and to visit family and our friends Uptown. No trip Uptown was complete without a riding the St. Charles streetcar! We’d park our car near the “end of the line,” at Claiborne and Carrollton avenues and ride the streetcar to Lee Circle or all the way to Canal Street and back to our car. I would point out the old historic landmarks, the beautiful homes, the Latter Library, the neighborhoods that were part of my childhood, Tulane University, where I graduated from Newcomb College, and the area where we went for Carnival parades. Sweet memories!
There also were many occasions when we celebrated the birthdays of our children by having a private party on a streetcar that we decorated and brought aboard cake and ice cream, as it made a complete circle run!
The years passed so quickly! Now when our grandchildren visit from out of town, one of their favorite treats (and mine!) is a ride aboard the streetcar.
Congratulations again! Good for you, New Orleans, for the wonderful and most deserved national recognition.