One of our assignments for our Restaurant Row Recovery project was to find the history of the buildings that our current assigned restaurants now reside in. At first, I was super excited to do this part of our research. I knew it would be very interesting to seek out this kind of information. The past has always sparked my interest.
As the semester progressed, finding the building histories turned out to be quite the adventure. At first, I really did not know where to start because I had never done this kind of research before (researching the history of a building). Mr. David Beriss (our professor) directed our class to a past blog post, written by a previous student, on how to find the history of a building, so that is where I began. To find the blog that I am referring to, scroll down for a while. The title of the blog is “Finding the Roots of Place,” written by Seth Gray on July 13th, 2010. Seth’s blog gives very good links and instructions on how and where to go to find the history of a building.
My first attempt to find the building histories was a visit to the New Orleans Notarial Archives (http://www.notarialarchives.org/) at 1340 Poydras Street, Suite 500 New Orleans, LA 70112. After I arrived, I was directed to the conveyance office on the 4th floor by the nice lady who was working the front desk on the first floor. As I walked into the office, I started to get really excited to find the information and was very sure that I was about to learn so much. This feeling rapidly disappeared as soon as I opened the first book I was directed to. I was rapidly bombarded with tons of confusing codes, numbers, and realty terms. Let’s just say, information overload. My trip to the conveyance office did not turn out as I had hoped.
Luckily though, after my experience at the conveyance office, I expressed my frustrations with one of my classmates, Erin Kinchen. She was so helpful and directed me to the New Orleans Public Library (http://nutrias.org/). She had informed me that the city directories were located here, which listed many addresses in New Orleans and what businesses they had previously been (Yes!! That was exactly what I was looking for!). Thank you again, Erin!
The next day I headed to the library and found everything Erin had told me about. This was actually really fun for me, especially because this was the first time I had ever looked through micro-films (before the year 1960, all of the city directories were only available in micro-film). After hours of going through micro-films and books, from 1940 to now, I now can present to you the building history of my partner and I’s restaurants: WOW Café & Wingery, El Rinconcito, and Kjean’s Seafood. Success!
218 North Carrollton Ave (El Rinconcito)
1947-1955: Gould WM J Dentist
1956-1961: Dentist/ Mid City Hardware Store
1962-1970: Dentist/ TuFrens Beauty Salon
1976-1979: Dentist/ Don’s Salon of Beauty
1982-1998: no longer listed in directory
1999-2002: Vu Chong H. (possibly Pho Tau Bay?)
2003-2006: no longer listed in directory (but could possibly still be Pho Tau Bay)
2006-Present: El Rinconcito
231 North Carrollton Ave (WOW Café and Wingery)
1940-1944: Wagner Marine Sales & Services CO
1947-1952: Haring OE Inc. (parts department)
1953-1955: Colonial Buick Co.
1956-1989: Regal Tire Service
1990-1996: Sound Warehouse Music & Movies
(Though, the City Directory listed Wherehouse Entertainment Records from 2001-2006)
2007: Clear Channel Radio, Direct Access TV, Sprint, and WOW Café and Wingery
2008-2009: Direct Access TV, Papa Johns, Singer Kitchens, WOW Café and Wingery, and B Athletes Foot
2010: Subway was added
2011-Present: Papa Johns, Singer Kitchens, Neighborhood Pet Market, WOW, and Subway
236 North Carrollton Ave (Kjean’s Seafood)
1940-1988: address was not listed in City Directory
1989-1992: Caballero’s Quality Seafood
1992-Present: Kjean’s Seafood
Hope y’all enjoyed the history! Have a great day! –Rachael Horn