Where did all the green parakeets come from? I used to see them occasionally on Claiborne, flying into the palm trees. Now they are all over Uptown. I'll bet a lot of people would like to know the what, when, where and why of this one.
You might call it an invasion because over the past 10 years these parakeets -- myiopsitta monachus -- have been flocking to New Orleans in great numbers. It seems they fancy our palm trees, where they make nests of sticks -- the only parrots that do so. The birds, also called monk parakeets or Quaker parrots, have gray faces and chests with lime-green tails and backs. They are about 12 inches long.
While the birds are native to Argentina, they do not migrate. The first in America either escaped or were intentionally released. They took up residence in palm trees, where they build large communal nests with compartments. While palm trees are their home of choice, they will also build their nests on the top of power poles or stadium lights -- anything that's tall and looks even remotely like a palm tree.
They are very gregarious and travel in groups, but they are monogamous and often form pairs for life. The parakeets are especially fond of berries, fruit, buds and roots but they will also come to feeders for bird seed.
The earliest recorded sighting of the parakeets was around 1972 when a pair was spotted in Metairie. Since then they have taken up residence Uptown, in eastern New Orleans, Arabi and Chalmette. And since they seem to like life in the Big Easy, I believe they're here to stay.
I recently purchased one of four houses on Amelia Street. Mine is the first one off Tchoupitoulas Street. It's 719 Amelia. The four houses look very similar, and I think they were all built at the same time. My neighbor told me that he found a newspaper clipping from the 1890s in his wall while remodeling. I just wanted to try and get as much history on my house as possible, as it is so old. Can you tell me anything, or give me a good starting point?
So many folks these days are interested in finding out the history of old houses in New Orleans. Sometimes we get lucky and find out that our house is mentioned in one of the wonderful books about architecture in the city, such as the New Orleans Architecture series produced by the Friends of the Cabildo and Pelican Publishing Co. However, most of us have to do some hard work to be rewarded with a complete history of our house.
I can recommend an excellent starting point for you. Wayne M. Everard, Archivist with the Louisiana Division of the New Orleans Public Library, has produced a most useful book titled How to Research the History of Your House (or Other Building) in New Orleans. And the best part is that the book is available online at http://nutrias.org/~nopl/guides/house/title.htm. You can also go to the third floor of the main library at 219 Loyola Ave. and get personal assistance from any of the smart, helpful librarians.
Where can I find anything about rowing teams in New Orleans from 1890 to 1910? I have inherited some medals and a large silver trophy that my great-grandfather won in rowing during that period. I even have a picture of him posing in his rowing uniform wearing his medals.
Frank Deffes Jr.
There used to be many rowing clubs during this time period: The Crescent City, the West End, the Independent, the St. John's, and the Pontchartrain. There was also a Southern Amateur Rowing Association formed by the Louisiana Boat Club and the St. John Rowing Club. Perhaps your ancestor belonged to one of these groups. There are news stories about rowing events sponsored by these clubs, and you can read them for yourself on the third floor of the main branch of the New Orleans Public Library. In addition, Dale A. Somers' book The Rise of Sports in New Orleans should be of interest to you.