Got a question I know only you can answer. On South Carrollton Avenue and Oak Street, there are two impressive buildings. One is the Whitney Bank and the other looks like it could have been a bank years ago. It is a coffee shop now. Was this a bank? What was it? Got to know.
The building that houses the Rue de la Course coffee shop was once the Carrollton Branch of the Canal Bank & Trust Co. that went into liquidation on March 1, 1933. The company was originally organized as the New Orleans Canal and Banking Company in 1831. It was this company that was responsible for the construction of the New Basin Canal.
On the outside over the Oak Street door you can see that the building was erected in MCMXXVII. There were 15 branches all over the city. Some of them are still standing and still used for banking purposes.
If you are interested, our wonderful Louisiana Division of the main branch of the New Orleans Public Library has an inventory of the branch properties, which includes the location of each branch and a photographic print showing the branch building and immediately adjacent properties.
Can you tell me exactly where the Dreux Plantation was located?
Judith Moore Soniat du Fossat
The Dreux Plantation was located in the area known today as Gentilly Terrace. Its boundaries are Fillmore Avenue, Elysian Fields Avenue, Peoples Avenue and the Louisville and Nashville Railroad.
The Gentilly area had its beginning when Mathurin Dreux came to Louisiana. Dreux, who was reportedly with Bienville when he came to New Orleans in 1718, became a military officer. It is believed that Dreux also helped to lay out the new city. When he left office, he was rewarded for his service with land. Because he had a choice, Dreux -- being no fool -- chose property that was relatively high and dry. This was in 1727, and he'd been here long enough to see the hurricane of 1722 wipe out the fledgling city. The tract of his choosing was along Bayou St. John and Bayou Sauvage and included the Gentilly Ridge. This region was least likely to flood, as it was one of the highest in the area.
Together with his brother Pierre, Dreux built a grand home, an elegant house. With huge rooms, fine galleries, and beautiful gardens surrounding it, it was a showplace of its day. The brothers named their plantation Gentilly after Gentilly in France, and they became known as the Sieurs of Gentilly. And Bayou Sauvage soon had a new name -- Bayou Gentilly.
The Dreux brothers each married, and they all lived happily in the same house. Operating their land as a plantation, they engaged in various enterprises such as making bricks, raising cattle, and cutting timber. Fortune smiled on the brothers, and throughout their lives they were very successful and respected in the community.
When Mathurin died in 1772, the property stayed in the family for generations, and a street honors the family name. Originally called St. James Street from Elysian Fields to Peoples Avenue, it was renamed Dreux Avenue in 1924.
The original Byblos Restaurant on Metairie Road looks much like the old International House of Pancakes buildings from the late 1970s -- pseudo Bavarian. Was it originally an IHOP? Please clarify. I'm in disagreement with someone.
While Byblos has been at 1501 Metairie Road for about nine years, this address was the site of many eating establishments before, but never was it an IHOP. In the early 1990s, there was a place called Casablanca, a Greek and Moroccan restaurant that featured belly dancing on the weekends. During the 1980s, just about the time we got used to one place, ownership changed. Within a 10-year period, you could dine at Diana's Seafood Galley, the Ivory Chopsticks Chinese Restaurant and Flambeau's Flaming Chicken. Before that, the 1970s saw the opening and closing of the Holiday Drive Inn and Maurice's Family Restaurant.
I hope that's clear enough.