I understand there once was a church where the Christopher Inn now is on Royal Street, fronting Washington Square. Can you provide any information on this church and the ensuing development of Christopher Inn?
In 1858-59, the Third Presbyterian Church was built in the 2100 block of Royal Street. Archbishop Shaw rededicated the building as the Holy Redeemer Church in January 1920, after the Josephite Fathers bought it as a place of worship for African-American Catholics. Nearby was the Holy Redeemer Convent.
At the end of 1902, the New Orleans Public Library received the enormous gift of $250,000 from Andrew Carnegie to build a new main library and three branches. By 1908, the main library moved into a building at Lee Circle, and the beautiful Royal Street Branch opened next to the church.
Both the church and library were terribly damaged by Hurricane Betsy in 1965, and neither was rebuilt. Instead, in 1972, the Archdiocese of New Orleans acquired the library property and, to the horror of many preservationists, constructed the Christopher Inn Apartments at 2110 Royal Street.
I have an old H.G. Hill Store ad from the 1920s or '30s for their 10th anniversary that shows beef rib roast at 25 cents a pound. I was wondering when the chain opened its first store in New Orleans so I can date this ad. Also, how many stores were there in the city?
The first H.G. Hill store opened in New Orleans in 1922, and it was located at 3101 Banks St. In 1925, the company purchased the Piggly Wiggly chain and started to expand in the city. Soon there were Hill's Superstores on South Carrollton Avenue, St. Charles Avenue, Canal Boulevard, South Broad Street and St. Claude Avenue as well as Jefferson Highway and Metairie Village.
The H.G. Hill Food Store Company began in Nashville, Tenn., in 1895. The successful operation expanded, and the chain began to experiment with some innovative operational and marketing strategies such as advertising in newspapers and pioneering the "cash & carry" concept. As a result, by the 1920s, H.G. Hill had 102 locations in Tennessee.
The Hill family eventually owned chain operations in Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. It was a major player in grocery retail in the Southeast with more than 500 stores. Today, H.G. Hill is still in business in Tennessee.
In 1956, many of the Hill stores were sold to Winn-Dixie of Jacksonville, Fla., but they still operated under the Hill name for a while.
In the 1930s, attorney William Penick, founder of Hill stores, bought the deserted, overgrown Pineland Park near Mandeville, where he built a large colonial mansion and a three-hole golf course. He named his house Beaux Chenes (beautiful oaks). Later the Penick house served as the original office for the Beau Chene community.