I know we had a large baseball park at the intersection of Tulane and South Carrollton avenues. When was it torn down?
Ah, the memories of ballgames at Pelican Stadium! The last game was played on Sept. 1, 1957, and we all cried when the stadium was demolished soon after to build the Fontainebleau Motor Hotel. The stadium's playing field was 458-by-610 feet — one of the largest in America.
The New Orleans Pelicans played their first game at Sportsman's Park on April 17, 1887. The park had opened the year before and was located near what is now City Park Avenue and Pontchartrain Expressway, across from Greenwood Cemetery. The Pelicans moved to a new field when Athletic Park opened in 1901 on Tulane Avenue between South Carrollton Avenue and South Pierce Street. This park remained the home of the Pelicans until 1908.
The first Pelican Park opened in 1908 on South Carrollton Avenue between Banks Street and Palmyra Avenue, across from present-day Jesuit High School. Then in 1914, Alexander Julius Heinemann became general manager of the team. Under his management, the team moved down the street to Tulane Avenue in 1915. The facility was named Heinemann Park in his honor, a name it kept until 1938.
When the stock market crashed in October 1929, Heinemann was financially ruined, and he committed suicide in January 1930.
After the stadium was demolished in 1957, the Pelicans worked out a two-year lease at City Park Stadium, today known as Tad Gormley Stadium. But in 1960, the Pelican franchise was sold to Little Rock. New Orleans became the largest city in America without professional baseball until 1977, when the New Orleans Pelicans were brought back to life as a St. Louis Cardinals AAA farm club, but without much success.
It wasn't until 1993 that New Orleans once again had a professional baseball team when the Denver Zephyrs relocated here. The team initially had to play in the University of New Orleans' Privateer Park. Finally, in 1997, Zephyr Stadium opened on Airline Drive, and the city once again had a team and a stadium to be proud of.