A friend told me the U.S. Post Office building on S. Carrollton Avenue used to be a dairy. What can you tell me about the building’s history?
Now home to a U.S. Post Office, the 3400 block of S. Carrollton Avenue was the site of not one, but two dairies during the past century: Cloverland Dairy and Sealtest Dairy. Many may remember the giant bottle that stood next to the building and advertised the milk bottled there. The giant bottle also was filled with water used to wash the milk trucks.
Cloverland Dairy, founded by George Villere, opened on Carrollton Avenue in 1924. It moved there from Tulane Avenue, where the dairy had operated for several years after opening in 1889. A 1916 newspaper ad touted Cloverland’s “perfectly pasteurized milk delivered to families in sterilized bottles.” The dairy also sold cream, cream cheese, ice cream and other products. A 1924 ad touted it as the South’s largest dairy.
The Carrollton Avenue building was designed by the local architectural firm Favrot and Livaudais Ltd. The facade features references to its use as a dairy, including a frieze featuring a cow’s head and bowls of milk.
A detail on the bas relief of the Carrollton Branch Post Office includes a cow head in homage to the land's former life as a dairy.
One of Cloverland’s employees was a young Louis Armstrong. In his 1936 memoir, “Swing That Music,” Armstrong writes that he took a job at the dairy when he was 14. “While I was a newsboy I got a chance at a steady job at the Cloverland dairy and I took it and went to work there for a while,” he wrote. In his 1954 book, “Satchmo: My Life in New Orleans,” Armstrong also tells the story of having his foot rolled over by a Cloverland wagon and being taken to Charity Hospital for treatment.
In 1950, Cloverland was sold to National Dairy Products Corp., makers of Sealtest. The giant milk bottle came down in 1962 but Sealtest dairy products continued to be produced there throughout the 1970s.
Most of the building was demolished when the U.S. Postal Service bought the property in 1981. The Postal Service agreed to preserve the structure’s facade, however, and had architects incorporate it into the design for a new post office, which opened in 1986.