Chief Replicator

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New Orleans, LA 56 posts

Featured in The New Orleans Advocate: "Tee-totalin' town: Drink up the irony at exhibit on Prohibition in New Orleans"

By Missy Wilkinson
Speacial to The Advocate

Most people know the first cocktail was created in New Orleans, where 24/7 bars and drive-thru daiquiri shops rule. Fewer know this booze mecca was a linchpin of Prohibition from 1920 to 1933. Then, lurid tales of smugglers, rum raids and “wet” degenerates ruled the newspapers — which had a definite anti-liquor slant.

“Many good results follow Prohibition,” proclaimed a local headline on Jan. 21, 1921. “Employes more efficient and dependable. … More men attending church. … Tourist business hurt.”

During Prohibition, especially from 1925 on, the illegal booze trade dominated local headlines.

“It almost seems like they wanted nonstop coverage,” said Joseph Makkos, founder and chief curator for Nola DNA, a digital newspaper archive.

“But even though it was published in the paper that was the record of its day, the role New Orleans played as this center of Prohibition is not something people talk, write or even know that much about.”

Makkos hopes to change that with his exhibit, “Times of the Cocktail – Stories of Smugglers, Bootleggers and Rum Runners.” Created in conjunction with Tales of the Cocktail and sponsored by Old New Orleans Rum, it features 12 antique copies of The Times-Picayune.

They’re on display through Aug. 31 in Picayune Social House, 326 Camp St., a restaurant and bar occupying the former site of the newspaper.

Together, these papers paint a picture of Prohibition-era New Orleans. One includes the first printing of a William Faulker short story: “Yo Ho and Two Bottles of Rum.”

New Orleans’ proximity to rum-producing Caribbean islands, train lines and the Mississippi River made it a waypoint in the illegal alcohol trade, as did its easy port access.

“New Orleans was basically open range for smugglers — the ports just weren’t secure,” Makkos said. “No police force is going to inspect every ballast, every false bottom.”

Publication dates for papers in the exhibit range from Jan. 1, 1914, when the idea of Prohibition was introduced to readers via a political illustration, to Nov. 20, 1929, when stories hint at a looming financial crisis. That era also marks the end of Makkos’ collection of original newspapers, which spans 1885 to 1930.

Though these records exist on microfilm, Makkos’ massive collection of antique newspapers in pristine condition is unique. He scored the papers, each housed in its own red-capped tube, for free from a Craigslist ad.

“It took six trips in a 17-foot U-Haul (to move them all),” Makkos said. “I have a feeling those papers would have gone to the trash. In my mind, it clicked: ‘This is important, I need to save this.’ … These are stories that don’t conveniently fit into the glass thimble version of New Orleans’ history.”

More than 300 people attended the opening reception on Tuesday, which featured a photo booth, rum samplings and coaster letterpress printing.

“I love having access to old newspapers from this point in history,” said artist Kendra Thompson. “The news seems so tabloid-y and sensational. You know people were definitely living that life in New Orleans.”

Like the stars depicted in gossip magazines, New Orleanians living 100 years ago were “just like us” in many ways.

“There’s a certain charm about it. As much as it was a criminalized environment, it speaks to the New Orleans we know today, the laissez le bon temps rouler attitude,” said Jeremy Thompson, director of sales and marketing at Old New Orleans Rum. “People made things work and created their own systems — and they were meeting demand, frankly.”

“Time of the Cocktail” runs through Aug. 31.

Complete story can be found online at The New Orleans Advocate

Been SO busy,... so many updates to give!

Let's see if I can give you simulatenous updates about the LAST 8 months as well as the NEXT 8 months at the same time!

OK, here I GO....

Upcoming presentations at the New Orleans Public Library:

Nix Branch - June 8th 5:30-7PM
Hubbell Branch - June 26th 6:30PM
Main Branch - TBA


Alvar Branch - Newspaper Archives & Preservation
Mid-City Branch - Coffee and Kitchen Lore of the Tropics

When Motorists Needed Canoes

Image courtesy of Nola DNA.

"When Motorists Needed Canoes" from March 21st, 1926.

An exerpt:

"Plans of property owners for organizations to protest to the sewerage and water board to obtain relief and protection due to heavy rains were in process of formation last night.... a mass meeting will be called to demand an investigation of the sewerage and water board in connection with alleged neglect of the city's needs."

Postcards from the Past : Lost Correspondence (1904-1946)

"NOLA DNA Presents "Evening Edition" : A Picayune Social House reception celebrating Lost Correspondence, Forgotten Scandals, and Fake News.

Join us at the brand new Picayune Social House, the former offices of the Picayune newspaper from 1850 to 1919, in this party hosted by NOLA DNA – curators of the historic newspaper images that define the Picayune Social House’s aesthetic.

• Anti-Lecture by Joseph Makkos of NOLA DNA: a slideshow of select historic newspaper images, randomized to spark extemporaneous audience discussions.

• Postcards from the Past exhibit: specimens from the collection of Reno Daret III.

Enjoy light hors d’oeuvres and libations. The Picayune Social House restaurant will be open with food and drink specials.

Pin-Up Ink Blotters : HEREFORD TOOL CORP & [blanks]

Here're some cir 1950s pin-up ink blotters I scanned from a collection I found in a basement print shop in Cleveland. One is with the business name "HEREFORD TOOL CORP." and the rest are blank.

There will be more open-access content in this series (coming soon).

For now, enjoy: