King of Rex

Rex, Mardi GrasThis linen card shows Rex, effectively the “King of the Carnival”, during New Orleans’ Mardi Gras. Of course referring to Rex as “King Rex” or the “King of Rex” (both often used) is redundant, given that the word Rex is Latin for “King”.

Lilly Christine, Cat-Girl

Lilly Christine PostcardI’ve got to say that I don’t come across burlesque show postcards often, so imagine my delight when I discovered this one in a Dallas antique mall yesterday. (are you imagining?) Featured here is the main draw, the “house dancer”, at New Orleans’ 500 Club, Lilly Christine. (aka: the Cat Girl) Lilly was renowned for her “stalking cat” act and “voodoo love potion dance”, and would also make many appearances in the mens magazines of the day. Born Martha Theresa Pompender in Dunkirk, New York in 1923, her original area of expertise was the ancient art of belly dancing, a talent bolstered by her naturally flexible hips and a a regimen of abdominal exercises. Unfortunately this would prove her undoing, as she developed peritonitis (an inflammation of the tissue that lines the inner wall of the abdomen) and ultimately died from the resulting infection. She was 42.

Pirate’s Alley

Pirate's Alley PostcardPirate’s Alley in New Orleans, Louisiana. The linen postcard was produced by Curt Teich and has this caption on the reverse:

Pirate’s Alley extends for one block from Royal Street to Chartres Street. Through this alleyway pirates were taken to the Cabildo Jail. It is also known as Old Orleans Alley and separates the Cabildo from Old St. Louis Cathedral.

John McDonogh Monument

John McDonogh Monument PostcardThe McDonogh Monument in New Orleans, Louisiana. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, millionaire merchant John McDonogh died in 1850 and split his fortune between that city and his adopted one, New Orleans, and per his request the money was used for the construction of public schools. McDonogh wished to have flowers placed at his grave each year, a ritual that would become “McDonogh Day”, when the school children of New Orleans would honor him with the presentation of flowers. After the McDonogh family moved his remains to Baltimore in 1860 the ceremony continued at the original grave site for years. With donations collected from school children over a period of six years, this monument was built and dedicated in 1898, and would be the location of McDonogh Day festivities through the 1950s. The monument reads: “”To John McDonogh from the Public School Children of New Orleans, 1892 – 1898.” On the back:

John McDonogh, who became a recluse after being disappointed in love in New Orleans, left half his large fortune to the cause of education in New Orleans, 32 public schools have been built with the money he left. His monument in Lafayette Square was built with the dimes of grateful school children and every year in May it is buried in flowers by them.

Lacework in Iron

French Quarter PostcardA balcony view in New Orleans’ French Quarter, featuring an ornate iron railing. On the back:

One of the finest examples of ironwork to be found in the French Quarter is this balcony. Note the intricacy of the design. In the distance can be seen the spires of the Old St. Louis Cathedral.