Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Mardi Gras and New Orleans Memories

My father and his father (William I. Connelly Sr), we believe, at 1427 Gr. Rue St. John, according to what is written on the back. I would guess this photo to be late 1920's to early 30's. The wording may not be correct, since the writing was very faded, but this is what Julie thought it said. The family must have lived there for a little while, although I do not recall Dad talking about it. Maybe a family reader of this blog knows more?

It's Mardi Gras! I'd like to be celebrating but instead I will be at work.

Today's photos were found in my father's things when he passed away. Dad grew up in New Orleans on Thomas Street. Miraculously, the house he grew up in was unscathed by the recent hurricanes. As a boy, Dad said, he loved Mardi Gras. They always dressed and marched in the parade. Below are some pictures of those long ago days.

Dad (William Irving Connelly), my aunt Hester Ellen Connelly, and my Uncle Bud (John Wilbur Connelly). I would guess them t

Aunt Ellen, all alone and very cute. I wonder if she is a clown, or perhaps Tinkerbell?

Aunt Ellen, we believe, with her Aunt Mary Charlotte Becker, also known as Sister Veronica of the Poor Claire Cloister in New Orleans. Although my father's family was originally from the Washington DC area, they ended up in New Orleans due to my grandfather's work with the government. When they moved to NO, Grandpa was a lawyer with the government, and I think his position had something to do with trains. Later when the US joined World War II Grandpa became a Commander in the Coast Guard and handled several important cases in his career, the most high-profile probably being the explosion at Texas City in 1947.
The Poor Claires, year unknown. I am not sure which is my great-aunt in this photo. how my great-aunt came to be a nun at this convent I do not know, but she was there prior to my grandparents moving to NO. A bit of serendipity, I think, and probably made living so far from other family members less painful for all. I remember sending letters to Sister

Aunt Ellen as a teen, dressed as William Tell, according to Dad. We are not sure of the date of this photo, but I believe it must have been taken in the mid-1930's judging by her age. Later Aunt Ellen would earn a chemistry degree, among others, and go on to be a food editor for Good Housekeeping. She is still living today, but suffers from Alzheimer's disease. You might run into her name in older copies of Good Housekeeping cookbooks.

Dad dressed as a clown, circa 1926? He was born in 1922, and he looks about 3 or 4 years old here.

Aunt Ellen, Dad and Uncle Bud, probably the same year.

Dad as a teenager, in his favorite costume. When I was young he still loved to dress up as a pirate at Halloween. I think this may have been the same year as Ellen's teenage photo above, probably 1934 or 1935.
The family left New Orleans in 1942 and returned to the northern Virginia-DC area, where Dad enlisted in the Army Air Force that started him on the journey to meet my mother in England.
If anyone can supply additional information about these photos or the family's time in New Orleans, I'd love to hear it.


Lucky13 said...

Hey Sis,
I know that Dad was born in NO, and that he went to high school in Falls Church and Graduated in 1941, remember he was a cheerleader and on the track team (where he set a record time that lasted a year or two according to the articles Bill has). We'll have to talk to Uncle Barney and Aunt Jett at the reunion, he remembers this time clearly, as well as the adventures they had in and around NO. Uncle Bud's middle name is Wilbert (which he didn't like) it was a combination of our grandparents names William and Bertha. Aunt Ellen is Ellen Hester, after Hester Clementine (our grandmother, which you know) that's all your photos triggered in my memory, Judy will have to fill in the blanks after that. These photos are great, Dad used to make NO sound like one adventure after another, how much fun they seemed to have, well, when our grandparents weren't looking anyway.

Anonymous said...

I love these photos!!!
Amy H.

Jason Burns said...

Is it just me, or do you look like your Aunt Ellen? That top photo of her with the other two - it's like your face, only smaller and in sepia tones.

Very nice pictures! I love old family things - even when you know it was life like always, the times back then seem to have more class!

Tracey said...

Interesting Post!!

Susan said...

I LOVE old photos and family history, how lucky you are to have so many pictures and living relatives! Good luck filling in the information you're looking for.

The photo of father and aunt and uncle on the steps, all looking so solemn while dressed in clown suits, just takes me to the fair--adorable!

Granny Sue said...

Julie, Ellen's first name is Hester and she hated it, that's why they called her Ellen. Thanks for the clarification on Uncle Bud's name--I didn't know that about how he got it. You're right about the adventures. I'd like to try to write down some of them; I bet we all remember the stories differently though!

Jason, I don't look much like Aunt Ellen as she got older, or at least I don't think so. I look a lot like my mother and some like my Dad--especially his determined (or stubborn, maybe!) jaw and chin.

In some photos of Aunt Ellen when she was food editor, she is so stylish and pretty. She never married, surprising for someone that cute and with such a wild sense of humor.

Jaime said...

This is funny because first I didn't know it was Mardi Gras time and I was saying to Aaron just yesterday, "Wouldn't it be neat to go to New Orleans with your mom and Larry and visit a jazz bar?" One of those comments that just come to mind over a family dinner.

Granny Sue said...

Now there's a trip for sure. I don't much like jazz, but a jazz club? That's different.

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