New Orleans performance arts

Ewing Poteet (1911-1984) was a musician and an avid supporter of the performance arts in New Orleans.  In 1960, he donated his collection of concert and theatrical programs to Tulane University.  This collection is held in the Louisiana Research Collection as Manuscripts Collection 314.   These programs date predominantly from the late 1940s and the 1950s, and represent productions of a wide variety of sponsoring organizations and performance venues.

Sponsors of these events include: New Orleans Friends of Music, New Orleans Philharmonic-Symphony Society, Civic Theatre, New Orleans Opera Guild, Women’s Guild of New Orleans, New Orleans Opera House Association, Crescent City Concerts Association, Gallery Circle Theatre, New Orleans Community Theatre, Theatre Jefferson, Community Children’s Theatre, NORD, National Catholic Music Educators Association, First Baptist Church, New Orleans Summer “Pop” Concerts, American Guild of Organists, Saint Louis Cathedral, and Temple Sinai.  New Orleans universities represented here include Dillard, Loyala, Xavier and Tulane.   A few organizations and events with programs in this collection were located outside of Louisiana, but the majority are within the city.  

As an added feature, some of the programs carry advertisements for local businesses of the era, especially the Civic Theatre programs.  For example, the programs have ads for Antoine’s Restaurant, D. H. Holmes, Elmer Candy Company, Turci’s Restaurant, Prima’s 500 Club, Chalmette Laundries, Pascal’s Manale Restaurant, Joseph Bruno Furniture, L & L Fur Shop, Shelton Smith Motor Co., Maylie’s Restaurant, Seale Pest Control Corp., the Fair Grounds Corp., Arnaud’s Restaurant, and many others, as well as notices of their upcoming plays.

A sample of other LaRC archival collections relating to musical or theatrical performances in New Orleans may be found by doing subject-keyword searches in the library catalog, qualifying by archival material; a few of the results follow:

Gideon Steiner French Opera House scrapbooks, 1856-1919.
Henry Wehrmann papers, 1868-1951.
Giuseppe Ferrata papers, 1884-1934.
Hooks family collection, 1889-1928.
William P. Lancaster and Alger Lancaster papers, 1892-1965.
Marie Lydia Standish papers, 1894-1953.
Leon Ryder Maxwell papers, 1895-1967.
Louis Panzeri papers, 1898-1981.
William W. and Beverley Peery papers, 1906-1983.
Harry Brunswick Loeb papers, 1911-1956.
Petit Theatre records, 1919-1966.
Group Theatre records, 1926-1938.
Volunteer Committee of the New Orleans Symphony records, 1946-1988.
Henry Kmen papers, 1949-1975.
 New Orleans Friends of Music records, 1956-2001.
Bob Borsodi papers, 1959-2003.    
Musica da Camera records, 1966-1992.
New Orleans Center for Creative Arts records, 1974-2000.

Use your imagination when searching the library catalog-- do a subject-keyword search on your favorite organizations or performers.

Captions:  top, Civic Theatre program for the Sept. 26-Oct 3, 1953 production of  Kind Sir starring Mary Martin and Charles Boyer (collection 314, box 1, folder 1); bottom, a souvenir program in poster format, detailing information about productions of Tennessee Williams works, 27 Wagons Full of Cotton, and Lord Byron’s Love Letter, which were performed Jan. 17, 1955, at Dixon Hall, Newcomb Campus (collection 314 box 1, folder 23).  Images of items in the Louisiana Research Collection may not be re-published without permission.

Posted by Susanna Powers


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