2.  Orleans Street Railroad   4'8½"   1836

N. O. City Ord. 3/23/35 permitted J. Arrowsmith to BLD this street ry. to carry burial parties to cemeteries and develop his real estate.  City bore much of the expense.  Engineering firm of Thomas Harper & George Merrick BLT the railroad and poss. its equipment.  The 2nd District City Council meetings discussed the cars' design.  (The B contains minutes of those meetings, and the complete minutes are in the N. O. City Library's Louisiana Collection.  Poss. Worsdell influence in this eqpt.)  No P or drawing discovered — complete minutes not yet researched.  Council asked cars capable of carrying caskets as well as seated passengers.

The Bee reported the OSR “in Orleans St. to the Bayou St. John nearly completed” (9/14/35), but the Jan. 1, 1836 issue mentioned the railroad “still not in operation.”  Finally, a notice appeared (B 3/11/36) that the road will open Sunday, March 20, publishing the “each way” fare of “un escalin” (12½¢), offering hourly service, leaving the St. Claude end beginning 7:00 a.m., last run 7:00 p.m.  A new schedule (B 3/24/36) advised the service was daily, leaving St. Claude end 6:00 a.m., hourly until last run at 7:00 p.m.  From the Bayou St. John end, trips ran from “6½ to 7½ [p.m.]”  Children rode “½ price.” 

The Bee seemed unimpressed by the OSR's relevance, reporting “There is a petty railroad for a horse car running from the continuation of Orleans St. along canal Girod to the Bayou St. John, constructed by Mr. Arrowsmith, and appropriately leading from the prison to the grave.  Real object, to improve the property to which it led on Bayou St. John.  Its apparent use to afford a pleasant excursion to a few citizens, and its ostensible object to construct a railroad to the new cemetery.”  This dismal report (B 4/28/36) understood the logic of building street railways (to develop property, transport people, and build up a community) as well as the likelihood such ventures can fail economically.

There was no mention of the OSR for two years.  “Orleans Railroad” (CB 8/18/38 Sat.) “The cars of this railroad commenced on Sunday [8/12?].  Half hour service reaches fishing spots and `Salvatory's' eating can gratify their gustatory propensities at the Bayou Bridge promenade along the margin of Bayou St. John.”

The OSR probably had changed ownership, and while the notice did not specify, the builders of the railroad, Harper & Merrick, could have been new owners.  Two years later (C 6/11/40) “Mpy #1 — Resolved, that the surveyor be authorized to continue the paving road to the market in the suburb Tremé, and to remove the railroad in Orleans Street as far as Villere Street. — sitting of June 8, Wm. Freret, Mayor.”

Disposition of equipt. unknown (H & M sold the cars — poss. to NO&C — G p. 15).  Note: Ripley's “Believe It Or Not” featured the Orleans St. RR “streetcar to cemeteries” in a newspaper column with a sketch of one streetcar — accuracy uncertain, and date article appeared unknown.  This syndicated column has been around many decades.

Copyright © 2008, 2015 Louis C. Hennick.  All rights reserved.


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