I live and work on Dryades Street, but where I work it's called O'Keefe Avenue. When was Dryades Street in the CBD renamed?
The part of Dryades Street between Common Street and Howard Avenue was renamed in July 1961 to honor the late Mayor Arthur J. O'Keefe Sr.
O'Keefe was born in New Orleans in 1876. Before he entered politics, he operated a coffee and tea importing business and was involved with other businesses as well.
He was a member of the Regular Democratic Organization, the city's Democratic machine, and in 1925 was elected commissioner of finance in Mayor Martin Behrman's last administration. When Behrman died in 1926, the Commission Council elected O'Keefe acting mayor. A special election was held to fill Behrman's unexpired term, and O'Keefe won.
During his term, New Orleanians saw the construction of the Watson-Williams Bridge, also known as the Maestri Bridge or the Highway 11 Bridge, over Lake Pontchartrain, and the beginning of construction on the Municipal Auditorium. It was during his mayoral tenure that O'Keefe opposed then-Public Service Commissioner Huey P. Long, who wanted to build free bridges at the Rigolets and Chef Menteur passes and pipe cheap natural gas to New Orleans.
O'Keefe took a leave of absence from the mayor's office on July 15, 1929, for health reasons and formally resigned on Feb. 14, 1930. He died on Nov. 14, 1943.