|Canal and St. Charles
The Changing Scene
|In 1848, Gaston de Pontalba came to New Orleans with his mother, Baroness
de Pontalba, as she oversaw the construction of the iconic Pontalba
Apartments which face Jackson Square. He remained for three years and
used his time to sketch many city scenes, such as the one above. This
drawing represents the corner of Canal Street and St. Charles Avenue.
You can see the famed St. Charles Hotel in the background.
|The same corner today.
The St. Charles Hotel, with its magnificent dome, is no more. The fire which destroyed
the first hotel, also, destroyed 15 other buildings in 1851. The second St. Charles was
lost to fire in 1894, but the third survived and remained popular until the mid-1900's. It
finally closed its doors and was demolished in 1974, a victim of competition from newer,
more modern hotels in the city.
Place St. Charles is the building that's now located on the site of the historic St. Charles
Hotel. It's a 53-story skyscraper, the second-tallest building in both the city and the
state, so big that it bears its own zip code.
The building on the left corner remains and the exterior looks much as it did when
Gaston de Pontalba sat down with his sketch book over 170 years ago. It has been a part
of Rubenstein's store since 1924.
The building on the right was constructed in 1826, but has undergone numerous
remodelings and renovations. It's been the home of the Pickwick Club since 1950.
The store on the first floor corner of that building has changed, too. It now houses a
Starbuck's, but for many, many years it was a Russell Stover Candy store.
|The photo above is from 1945...before my time, but I couldn't find a
picture from the days of my Friday visits. However, I believe, all those
years later, it looked substantially the same as it does in this picture.
|My first job was at an office in the 300 block of St. Charles and my bus stop
was on Canal, directly in front of Russell Stover's. I didn't indulge every day,
but each Friday, I gave myself the present of a few pieces of their delicious
candy. Whenever I see this corner, I always think of my first job and those
very special Friday treats.