Thursday, October 8, 2015

New Orleans at Sea

We have mentioned naval architect George G. Sharp's designs for the Delta Line in a previous post. The Southeastern Architectural Archive recently acquired Delta's Information and Rate Schedule No. 10 (1956).
The brochure includes Scottish interior designer John Heaney's room arrangements for the Del Norte, Del Sud and Del Mar  (shown above). Passenger staterooms were commodious, and the promenade deck included wedge-shaped variants. Passengers stored clothing and other personal belongings in lockers, but Delta advised that ships in port of call would have many visitors on board, and thus recommended storing valuables with the bursar. For those interested in making new purchases, Maison Blanche department store maintained shops on all three ships.

The air-conditioned "Dels" sailed from New Orleans with stops in Rio de Janiero, Santos, Montevideo and Buenos Aires. The line served southern cuisine in its dining rooms and allowed passengers to develop their own entertainment activities. Cruise directors also orchestrated elaborate festivals, including two-day "Neptune Parties":

"On the eve of crossing the equator, the ship is boarded by Davy Jones, scribe of the Royal Court of King Neptune, accompanied by the royal prosecutor and defense attorney. The initiates who have never before crossed the equator are charged with all manner of crimes.

"On the day of crossing, King Neptune comes aboard to hold court, pass sentence upon the initiates and carry out the royal punishment. King Neptune and his Royal Court are selected from those passengers who have previously crossed the equator. The initiates are awarded a handsome certificate, signed by Davy Jones."(1)

When docked at New Orleans' Poydras Street wharf, the boats became entertainment venues for such groups as the National Coffee Association and the Associated Press Managing Editors' Association. Fashion and jewelry shows, international trade events and awards celebrations became quite popular on the Dels.

(1)"Planned Recreation Keynotes Delta Luxury Line Voyages." The Times-Picayune 4 November 1949.

Images above:  George G. Sharp, architect; John Heaney, interior designer. "Main Deck" and "Promenade Deck." from Delta Line  Information and Rate Schedule. South America-West Africa. No. 10. New Orleans?: Delta Lines, 1956. Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

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