Friday, September 26, 2014

NOLA at the Crossroads

In 1924, Highways 1, 2, 12 and 54 were starting to converge on New Orleans. The Mississippi River Scenic Highway, Jefferson Highway, the Old Spanish Trail  and the Jefferson Davis Highway represented the significant efforts of automobile boosters, government leaders and civic organizations to bring good roads into the Crescent City. Frequent rainfall and flooding often impeded visitors' abilities to enter the city by automobile.

In the early 1920s, photographer Mary Crehore Bedell and her physicist-husband Frederick took an arduous 12,000-mile road camping trip to encircle the United States. She documented the adventure in her book, Modern Gypsies (Brentano's, 1924).  Hoping to visit friends in New Orleans, the Bedells learned that the road from coastal Mississippi to New Orleans was mired in mud, as were roads along the Mississippi River to  the North. They opted to store their Hupmobile and took a train into New Orleans.

Images above:  Top:  Details. Rand McNally Junior Auto Trails Map: Louisiana. F-23 from Rand McNally Commercial Atlas of America (1924).

Bottom:  J.P. Troy, photographer. Mary Crehore and Frederick Bedell in Their Hupmobile. From Mary Crehore Bedell. Modern Gypsies. New York: Brentano's, 1924.

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