Climb aboard as we travel through time, to the origins of the famous New Orleans streetcar. You’ll explore the Crescent City of the early 1800s and learn about its growth after the Louisiana Purchase.
Take a ride on one of the first railroads in the country, and see how it laid the groundwork for the streetcars that crisscrossed the Crescent City for nearly a century. Along the way, you’ll learn about a world famous resort that is now lost to time, and find out the surprising role a Confederate General played in the streetcar’s development.
Ever hear of a Streetcar Named Desire? Learn about the inspiration for Tennessee Williams’ award-winning play. When did it first appear and where did it travel?
What happened to the streetcars during Hurricane Katrina and where can I ride today?
All this and more on today’s episode!
While researching the history of the streetcar, I uncovered a treasure trove of rooks and websites that dive into far more detail than I could cover in a single episode of the podcast. If you want to learn more about the individual streetcar lines, the types of cars on the routes, the engines and more, check out these books:
The St. Charles Street Car or The New Orleans & Carrollton Rail Road by J. L. Guilbeau – I found a tattered copy of this small, paperback book at the New Orleans Public Library. Written in 1975 this 66-page booklet is a window into an earlier time. I was so enamored with it I purchased a used copy online!
The Streetcars of New Orleans by Louis C. Hennick & E. Harper Charlton – This comprehensive book starts at the beginning and culminates with the closure of the Canal St. line in 1964. It contains details on each individual line, including routes, types of cars and more.
The Streetcars of New Orleans, 1964 – Present by Earl E. Hampton, Jr. – This book picks up where Hennick and Charlton stop. Lots of black and white photos and personal stories from the author’s own experiences riding the streetcars.
New Orleans: The Canal Streetcar Line by Ed Branley – If you want to know everything there is to know about the Canal St. line this is the resource for you. You can also check Ed out online at www.nolahistoryguy.com. You can find him on the social medias as @YatPundit.
For an incredible glimpse into the history of streetcars in New Orleans be sure to check out these webpages. I spent hours combing through the pictures and descriptions.
RailwayPreservation.com – this is a great starting point with many modern-day pictures. The links at the bottom of the site are the real treasure. Here’s my favorites:
H. George Friedman’s site – an incredible wealth of early etchings and pictures. This site helped me fill in many details and will be an on-going reference for me. If you have an interest in the maintenance that goes into the streetcar lines, be sure to check out the sub-page about New Orleans Car 29.
Regional Transit Authority – the official site of the RTA. This is where you go online to get current information about routes, times and passes for public transportation in New Orleans. A new feature (in 2016) is the ability to download a mobile app and purchase unlimited-ride passes good for 1, 3 or 31-days.
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