by Conrad Abadie
For a nostalgic moment, I have attached the booklet that was put out for the St. Maurice Fair of 1912 in the lower 9. It may interest natives and newcomers. There are many ads of neighborhood businesses, including corner groceries, drugstores, wheelwright, cistern makers, etc. My maternal grandmother, Mrs. A. Delhomme, ran an ad promoting her grocery store at 6609 N Peters in Arabi. It was one house off the corner. The Mumme ad below hers was our corner grocery store location that I knew as a kid in the lower 9, living on Chartres Street. My first “job” was sorting soda and beer bottles at my uncle and aunt’s grocery on the corner of Delery and Marais Street. When the much larger Puglia’s Supermarket opened on St. Claude and Caffin, the times were a’changin. Post-war prosperity, suburbia and the increased ownership of autos offered more opportunities for those shopping out of the front room or side of a shotgun store; many of those, now, have been converted back to the original use of residential.
by Anthony Favre
When I was a young boy we had 12 or more businesses within a two block radius of my house (which is 4 doors from where I currently live in Faubourg St. John) and how they included 2 grocery stores, a print shop, a seafood shop, a couple of sweet shops, two bars, a five & dime, a dry cleaner, a beauty parlor (run by my grandmother, who grew up across the street.) a mechanics shop, and a barber shop.
Neighborhood businesses were on the corner since taxes were assessed on the street frontage and commercial buildings could support the higher taxes for higher visibility (I have a tax receipt from my great-grandfather’s meat market that existed on the corner of my block somewhere amidst the papers that got passed down to me from my aunt).
by Keith Twitchell
Most of the corner retail buildings throughout the city were built as exactly that. So many corner buildings have that angled doorway facing the corner itself, and windows that are typical of retail uses rather than residential, whether they were grocery stores, services like tailors, hardware, or (dare I say it) bars.
by Cynthia Scott
I have bemoaned the fact that I have to drive out to Veterans or the Westbank to do many basic errands when I used to be able to accomplish them in the city, and I think many of us would love to have the kind of mixed-use neighborhood fabric Anthony and Conrad describe. I merely wish to point out that in the “good old days” people would walk or take a streetcar to those businesses, and now they seem to insist on having convenient parking for huge vehicles at every location. The two ideas (corner businesses and large scale parking immediately adjacent) are not compatible in the nearly 300 year old city we have inherited. It will be hard to find consensus until this basic issue of spatial dynamics is resolved.