You see, when young Pierre was admitted to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1834, he enrolled as Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard, dropping the original hyphen between Toutant and Beauregard. He preferred to be called just plain Beauregard. And not long after that he also dropped the Pierre. Until he died, he signed his name G. T. Beauregard.
When the general died rich and famous and loved by all on Feb. 20, 1893, he was hailed as a "peerless soldier, distinguished Louisianian, and gentleman." His body lay in state in City Hall, and he was buried in the tomb of the Army of Tennessee in Metairie Cemetery.
The Beauregard Monument Association was organized the day after he died. Twenty years later it had raised the necessary $22,000 to lay the cornerstone. The monument, unveiled on Nov. 15, 1915, was the work of Alexander Doyle, the well-known creator of the Lee Monument. The general's granddaughter Hilda Beauregard unveiled the statue while the band played "Dixie" and the Washington Artillery fired a 17-gun salute.
In cleaning out my father's papers, we have come across a lot of programs from the New Orleans Business Men's Racing Association. Can you help? My grandfather raised and raced horses back in the early 1900s. I have one pamphlet stating "The Saratoga of the South, Third Annual Meeting." Any info would be helpful.
In 1908, under the leadership of Gov. Jared Y. Sanders, the Louisiana State Legislature passed the "Locke Law," an act that prohibited gambling on horse races "by the operation of betting books, French Mutual Pooling Devices, auction pools, or any device."
When the law was repealed seven years later, racing resumed at the Fair Grounds on January 1, 1915, under the auspices of the Business Men's Racing Association. Well in advance of the opening day, there was much advertising in the newspapers about the resumption of racing in the "Winter Capital of America" and the "Saratoga of the South."
The group composed of 300 local gentlemen who each owned several shares of stock obtained a lease on the Fair Grounds from the Louisiana Jockey Club. President of the association was I. B. Rennyson, assisted by vice-president John Dillon, secretary-treasurer D. J. Hart, and committeemen W. L. Miltonberger, J. E. Pearce, L. M. Noah, U. J. Virgin, and A. B. Letellier. The general manager and steward was Joseph A. Murphy, a widely known racing official.
Because the management made no money from betting, they planned to cover expenses by charging $1.50 admission fee at the gate and an extra $1 to get into the paddock and an exclusive area called the "palm garden." Many people predicted that this would keep attendance down, but you would have thought it was Kentucky Derby Day the way folks crowded in.
The first meeting of 40 days was very successful, so a second season followed on Jan. 7, 1916. This one lasted 57 days. Opening day of this season was the first start at the Fair Grounds of a filly named Pan Zareta who later became famous.
A tragedy that occurred while the BMRA was in charge was the fire that destroyed the grandstand on Dec. 28, 1918. A temporary grandstand was built, and on New Year's Day, 1919, 12,000 racing fans were there. Shortly after, the grandstand from the old City Park Race Track was reconstructed at the Fair Grounds.
In 1926, Kentucky Col. Edward Riley Bradley became the new owner and directing head of the Fair Grounds. He stayed until the end of the 1932 season.