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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • POUR IT ON: WWII POSTER

The Streetcar I Desired: 1957

The Streetcar I Desired: 1957

New Orleans, June 15, 1957 -- on the same day that I took the Canal Street photo pictured here, my goal was to find a streetcar that still retained the destination for the Desire line, made famous by playwright Tennessee Williams. In 1957 the Desire line had used buses for almost 10 years, but I approached the operators on their break at the foot of the Canal Ferry loop and asked them if they could roll the destination sign to "Desire" to allow me a photo shoot. The first three or four cars only contained signs for the two remaining streetcar lines, Canal and St. Charles. Then on about the fifth try, bingo, Car 910's signs still had the full complement of abandoned streetcar lines, so the kindly motorman set it for Desire and continued on his rest break until I had completed my photographic endeavor. 35mm Kodachrome by William D. Volkmer. View full size.

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No Desire for that monument

Seen in the background here at its original location at the base of Canal is the controversial monument to the Battle of Liberty Place, 1874. Erected in 1891, it commemorated (in no uncertain terms) the efforts of the White League, which was revolting against the Reconstruction-backed, integrated state government in a skirmish that ultimately killed 30 people. Later, words were added to the monument that the battle helped to solidify "white supremacy"in the South. Declared a public nuisance in the 1990's, the monument was moved (due to construction) to a warehouse for a time, then placed back on view again but in a nearby, less prominent location before finally being dismantled entirely in the early morning hours of April 24, 2017.

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