Do you know if in the mid-1960s there was a movie theater at 2616 Jefferson Hwy. or anywhere around that stretch of Jefferson?
You must be thinking of the Arrow Theater. It was one of dozens of neighborhood theaters in greater New Orleans. This particular one opened in 1947 and closed in 1962. Lucky are you and all of us who remember the days when we scoured the listings in the papers to find which theater was showing the latest Hollywood offering. There were so many choices, but not all in the same place as they are today. At one time, there were about 50 neighborhood movie theaters. And perhaps you also went to see a movie or two at one of the drive-in theaters that became extremely popular after World War II.
Today there are several dozen of the old theaters constructed between 1904 and 1952 that are serving as funeral homes, schools, churches, reception halls and medical clinics. But the Prytania, built in 1900, is our last remaining single-screen theater.
I have a question about Margaret Haughery. Where was her bakery located? It eventually became the Klotz Cracker Factory. Can you give me any info on her, like where she lived or about the man she left her bakery to?
For the benefit of those who aren't familiar with Margaret, just a few words of explanation. Margaret was born in 1813 to a poor family in Ireland and was brought to Baltimore by her parents in 1818. She eventually married, but lost both her husband and her child to yellow fever just after they arrived in New Orleans in 1835.
Over the years, Margaret grew from these humble beginnings to become an astute businesswoman who devoted her life to helping the poor. Using money she made from a successful dairy and bakery, she established and supported homes for the elderly and four orphanages. When she died in 1882, she left an estate valued at $600,000, most of it going to the New Orleans' orphanages and the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul.
Margaret became famous for her charity, and when she died, practically everyone attended her funeral. All stores, city offices and business establishments were closed in respect. Former mayors and governors were her pallbearers.
In 1859, Margaret had purchased a bankrupt bakery, which became very successful. The bakery, located at 74, 76 and 78 S. Peters St. produced not only bread and crackers, but also cookies, cakes, candy and macaroni. At the time of her death, her residence was at 74 S. Peters St. In her will, she left the bakery in its entirety to the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul.
Although there is no record, Margaret seems to have adopted Bernard Klotz, and he was known as her foster son. However, there was no mention of him in her will. After her death, though, Klotz continued to operate the bakery successfully for a time until April 1892, when a terrible fire destroyed the entire three-story building housing the bakery.
Klotz reopened the bakery across the street at 75-83 S. Peters St., but was forced to sell it at public auction on Sept. 25, 1893. It seems that he was a gambling man and made a bad bet on a prizefight between John L. Sullivan and James J. Corbett. He struggled to recover his losses but went into voluntary bankruptcy.
However, July 1904 saw the opening of the new Klotz Cracker Factory at 613 Tchoupitoulas St. between Lafayette and Girod streets. The facility was a three-story affair, 150 feet square, and Bernard Klotz Sr. was the general manager. The New Orleans Item described the factory as "the finest in New Orleans, without doubt, and one of the finest in the Southern States."
Bernard Klotz Sr. died on March 6, 1920, at age 77. The factory, however, lasted until about 1963, when it closed its doors forever.