Tulane Digital Library and the Southeastern Architectural Archive are happy to announce a new Digital Collection of mid-century New Orleans photographs.
Walter Cook Keenan (1881-1970), the first architect of the Vieux Carré Commission (VCC), took the photographs in order to document violations of the Vieux Carré Ordinance (VCO). Beginning in 1944, the VCC increasingly sought to regulate the appearance of building facades, especially by limiting signage and prohibiting the use of neon. As VCC architect, Keenan conducted daily property inspections to document VCO violations.
Entertainment businesses along Bourbon Street were notably affected by the ordinance and Keenan recorded nearly every property along the artery more than once. Bourbon Street's night clubs, jazz musicians, burlesque shows, restaurants and boarding houses became his photographic subjects. The collection includes images of Sloppy Joe's, Lenny Gale's Sugar Bowl, the Old Barn Bar, Zonia's Cocktail Lounge, Ciro's, the Magic Lock, the Famous Door, 418 Bar, Dixie's Bar of Music, and Stormy's Casino Royale. Signs for burlesque dancers Evangeline, Bubbles, Kalantan, Pam Holloway, and Stormy's Mother also feature prominently.
Image above: Walter Cook Keenan. 327 Bourbon Street. 16 September 1949. Walter Cook Keenan New Orleans Architecture Photographs, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.