Monday, November 18, 2013

New Orleans Architects & E.J. Bellocq II

A previous post mentioned New Orleans photographer Ernest J. Bellocq (1873-1949), who frequently worked for local architects to record their buildings and recreational activities. One such architect was Martin Shepard, for whom Bellocq photographed the Real Estate Exchange building (311 Baronne Street). Another was Thomas Sully, whose Allard Street and Calongne residences Bellocq documented.
The dapper young photographer appeared in the December 1896 issue of the Young Men's Hebrew Association publication, The Owl (image above).  As early as September 1892, he was a member of the New Orleans Camera Club and was noted for photographing bantamweight fighter Jack Skelly (1870-1953) preparing for his historic match with George Dixon (1870-1909) at the Olympic Club:

"[Skelly] looks the picture of health. His eyes reflect his feelings. They are bright, clear and quick. His skin is also perfect and his step at once firm and elastic. The aspirant for championship honors continued his training up to the eleventh hour. This morning, after enjoying a salt water bath, he was weighed and carried 117 pounds. He punched the ball for two hours, covered almost twenty miles, and then underwent the rubbing down process. While in that position Shelly [sic] was photographed by Mr. Ernest Bellocq, a prominent young member of the New Orleans Camera Club. This brought the bantam's training to a close. He will be brought to town to-morrow and will be permitted to attend the Myer-McAuliff fight."(1)

The September 6th Dixon-Skelly match marked the end of mixed-race fighting at the Olympic. My distant relative James J. Corbett (1866-1933) defeated John L. Sullivan (1858-1918) there on September 7th.

(1)"Champion John L. Sullivan Reaches New Orleans Yesterday And Shows Up in Fine Form." The Daily Picayune (5 September 1892): p. 4.

Images above:  Invoice. Ernest J. Bellocq, commercial photographer. 840 Conti Street. 1913. Martin Shepard Office Records, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

"Ernest J. Bellocq." The Owl, Organ of the Young Men's Hebrew Association  (December 1896). Louisiana Research Collection, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.


Julie Leonard said...

Glad you found that notice in the Owl. When I worked in the Louisiana Collection (when it was on the 2nd floor of Howard-Tilton), I found that and was intrigued that it didn't fit the bizarre image of Bellocq in popular culture. I started some research, but moved out of town before getting very far.

Keli Rylance said...

You're so right.. the later-life descriptions of him by folks such as Johnny Wiggs give no sense of this side of Bellocq.