NOPSI Streetcar #909

Growing up in New Orleans, this scene in New Orleans really brings back memories for me. The year is 1957 and I would be seeing the world as a nine year old kid. The photographer captured this scene as NOPSI (New Orleans Public Service, Inc.) streetcar #909 waits at the traffic light for the flow of people and automobiles to cross the wide Canal Street in downtown New Orleans. It’s obviously summer, and the typical daily afternoon shower has just ended. This short section of the Canal Street neutral ground (the median) has three tracks rather than the usual pair for the cars traveling in each direction. If you look closely you’ll notice a curved track on the left turning onto St. Charles Avenue. The cars on that line will travel the length of St. Charles, then a distance down Carrollton Avenue before reversing to head back downtown.


The bus seen at far right will only travel a single block before turning to traverse its route elsewhere. Several bus routes in New Orleans will terminate at Canal Street, arriving on a one-way street, turn for the short block down Canal, then head back to their origin via the one-way street running the opposite direction.

Canal Street was the heart of retail business back in the day, and was filled with excellent department stores and smaller specialty stores. You generally dressed fairly well when you went to Canal Street, as it was the “respectable” place to shop. Sadly all those great stores are gone now, and Canal Street has lost its luster. But the streetcars are still running.

Unfortunately I don’t know who the photographer is to credit this image. I will surely post his name if anyone happens to recognize the photo.

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