Any chance I can find the album Dancing in the Blue Room on CD?
Yes, there is. I know of a company that converts records to CDs, and it has just what you want, but you might consider it expensive. For about $55 plus shipping, you can get the LP and the CD. The Web site is www.cdbbq.com/web_store.cgi. You might also try www.musicstack.com. If you just want the LP, you can get it cheaper than the CD.
Lots of folks might be interested in getting this album of piano and orchestra music by the late Leon Kelner, who entertained us in the Blue Room from 1945 to 1971, especially those of us who saw him in person.
We are going to host a reception and dinner for 240 people as part of an annual convention in October. We do this every year in different cities. I always look for a special site and try to avoid typical hotel banquet facilities. Can you recommend anything?
You simply must get in touch with the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau (NOCVB) at www.neworleanscvb.com. This is where you will find everything you need to help you plan your reception and dinner. The CVB will help you find the exact venue for your group's important gathering. One really cool place would be on a riverboat.
I'm thrilled you chose New Orleans for your event. The city is making a grand comeback after that nasty storm we had two years ago, and many neighborhoods are better than ever.
I know that many locals will be reading Gambit Weekly, and I would like to recommend the CVB to them also. The services and information it offers are very useful to us as well.
We love your knowledge of New Orleans, and we are seriously hoping that you can help us with an intriguing mystery that has made many a man and woman ponder for many years. Why is there a street named Peniston? When was it named and what is its origin?
The Two Entendres
First, let me thank you for the really cute picture you sent of the two of you standing under the street sign. It's not often Old Blake gets to see the people who send in the questions. It was a treat.
Now you won't have to ponder any longer about the street named Peniston. It was named for Dr. Tom Peniston, who married Amelia Duplantier. Amelia was the ward of Madame Louis Robert Avart. Madame Avart had no children, and in 1849, some time after she was widowed, she subdivided her plantation. It became known as Faubourg St. Joseph. The other street in her faubourg she named Amelia.
This faubourg was one of many that grew Uptown after the New Orleans & Carrollton Railroad was chartered in 1833 and ran streetcars along the route. It began at the intersection of Baronne and Poydras streets and ran up to the present intersection of St. Charles and Carrollton avenues. Service started in 1835 and continued until Hurricane Katrina put the streetcars out of commission temporarily.
It was along this route that New Orleans began to grow as plantation after plantation was subdivided beginning with the Faubourg Des Religieuses, a property once owned by the Ursuline nuns. Fourteen more faubourgs materialized as other families followed suit, families named Wiltz, Livaudais, Delassize, Plaisance and Delachaise. Then came Faubourg St. Joseph. After that we saw the development of Faubourg Bouligny, with many streets named for Napoleon and places of his victories. Next door was another faubourg subdivided by Robert Avart, and on up the line were the faubourgs of Ricker, Hurst, Green, Burthe, Foucher and Green again, the last Uptown suburb. Logically, if you're the one whose property is being subdivided, you get to name the streets. Many are named after family members, friends, famous people, places and even the owner.