9.29.2011

The Prosperous but Anxious Cold-War Years: Delgado during the '50s, Including Its Teaching Venture in Uganda – Part 2

By: Bob Monie
Delgado kept pace with changes in local lifestyle and demands for new technology. Under deLesseps “Chep” Morrison, mayor of New Orleans throughout the ‘50s, the city population grew till, by the end of the decade, it had reached the unprecedented size of over 627,000 residents (see fig. 5). As more New Orleanians moved out to suburbs like Lakeview, Lake Vista, Lakeshore, Little Woods and the Veterans Highway part of Metairie, Delgado began a new program in horticulture, gardening, and landscaping to serve their needs (see fig. 6). Woodlots that had been cleared to build subdivisions looked bare and needed shrubs, fruit and nut trees, shade trees, and backyard gardens to give them character. Highways and roads connecting the city to the suburbs needed heavy landscaping against the blistering heat of southern Louisiana summers. Several kinds of electrical and electronic boxes took up residence in households and cars: the television set, the window air-conditioning unit, the transistor radio, and the car radio. Before the advent of solid state electronics, television sets and some radios contained a warm, glowing assortment of vacuum tubes that could be replaced by an electronics technician who made home visits. Delgado obliged the servicing of the new technologies by creating programs in radio, electronics and television repair, and refrigeration and air conditioning (see fig. 7 and 8). Some who were teenagers in the ‘50s now recall seeing long-sideburned, swivel-hipped rock'n'roll star Elvis Presley perform “You Ain't Nothin' But a Hound Dog / Just A Crying All the Time” on the June 5, 1956 Milton Berle Show, as they watched in the cool comfort of their newly air-conditioned living rooms.
Fig. 5  deLesseps “Chep” Morrison, Mayor of New Orleans and President of the Delgado Board of Managers in the 1950's—Known for His International Outlook; Encouraged the Delgado Educational Venture in Kenya
Fig. 6  In the Horticulture Building, around 1957
Fig. 7  Television, Radio, and Electronic Repair in the 1950s
Fig. 8   Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Class in the 1950s
 Mayor Morrison, then president of the Delgado Board of Managers, encouraged an international outlook for New Orleanians and called the city a “Gateway to the Americas” and beyond.  In this spirit of internationalism, Delgado sent instructors to the British Protectorate of Uganda for the 1956-1957 term at the Kampala Technical Institute, a few miles outside the city.  Their mission was to teach useful skills to a population that owned little property and had “little or no buying power,” in the hope that the Ugandans' economic status could be improved. The Delgado staff, led by William Schultz,  taught side-by-side with British instructors who offered welding and furniture pattern courses, freely exchanging ideas and techniques with them. Delgado instructor Jack Hudson taught motor vehicle maintenance on old-model British motor cars, always remembering to call the “hood” the “bonnet” as British usage required (see fig. 9).  Mitch Biedul taught chemistry to a class of future teachers who would spread the knowledge throughout Uganda; John Pilotte demonstrated the rudiments of mechanical drafting to students eager to apply them; William McSweeney, standing beside freshly-mortared walls, showed how to meet electrical code standards when wiring houses and buildings; and student teachers like Mr. Bakanoba turned out work on the lathe in the machinist shop (fig. 10, 11, and 12). This venture in international education was funded through the International Cooperation Administration (ICA) of the United States.

Fig. 9  Motor Vehicle Auto Shop Instructor Jack Hudson Teaching at the Kampala Institute, Uganda, 1957
Fig. 10. Chemistry Instructor Mitch Biedul Teaching at the Kampala Institute, Uganda, 1957
Fig. 11. Electrical Instructor McSweeney and Students in Uganda, 1957
Fig. 12.  Machinist Student-Teacher Bakanoba (On Right) with Student-Worker in Uganda, 1957
 Works Consulted

Annual Progress Report 1956: Delgado Trades School.  New Orleans: Delgado, 1957.
     
Evaluation Report on an Educational Contract Between the Protectorate of Uganda and Delgado Trades and Technical Institute. New Orleans: Delgado, 1958.

Goldfield, David, Carl Abbot, Virginia DeJohn Anderson, et al. The American Journey. New York:
           Prentice-Hall, 2009.

Stone, Robert C. and Joseph Elwell Gordon.  Problems and Progress at Delgado Trades School. New Orleans: Delgado, 1960.

Thames, Marvin E, Sr.   The History of the Isaac Delgado Central Trades School. Diss. LSU, 1957.

Weidner, Edward. W.  The World Role of Universities, 1962.

9.28.2011

The Prosperous but Anxious Cold-War Years: Delgado during the '50s, Including Its Teaching Venture in Uganda

By: Bob Monie
In 1953, America, under the leadership of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, finally ended the Korean War and entered a period of prosperity, despite the anxiety of a Cold War with the Soviet Union and serious unresolved problems in the area of civil rights. Delgado continued its tradition of teaching aircraft engine repair and aircraft mechanics, though it no longer built planes or flew them as it had in the 1930s in Byron Armstrong's program.  Auto mechanics, begun in 1945 just after World War II, became especially popular among military veterans of both wars who attended Delgado under the GI Bill, one of the largest government subsidies of  public education in history (see fig. 1).  During the era of cheap oil, the auto dominated the American landscape as it never had before, and car repair shops opened throughout the city and along highways.  In a move many would later regret, electric streetcars were deemed old-fashioned—except to residents on St. Charles Ave., who would never let their streetcar be replaced by a bus-- and New Orleans Public Service (NOPSI) began to shut down streetcar lines and pull up tracks in favor of the seemingly more modern and advanced gas-driven bus. The plans of Mayor Morrison to build an electric monorail in downtown New Orleans were derided as visionary and impractical.  One can only dream that if electric mass transit had been a popular expanding field, Delgado just might have trained generations of monorail and streetcar mechanics!

Fig. 1 Auto mechanics students, some attending on the G.I. Bill, in the 1950's
Fig. 2  Model of Suburban House Designed by Delgado Drafting Student T. Meagher in 1950
 Many programs from the 1930s and ‘40s were updated to meet the basic needs of industry and the market. Carpentry and woodworking students practiced their craft on lathes still sharp and smooth-turning after decades of service. Bakers and commercial cooks filled the air with the aroma of freshly baked, yeasty loaves, spicy stews, and intricate souffl├ęs, prepared in ovens and on stove tops which, for all their years, still fired up.  Architectural drafting, now called building trades drafting, produced technicians, like T. Meagher,  able to design and model a typical suburban house or win first prize in the annual Home Show, then held at the Municipal Auditorium (see fig. 2 and 3). Instructor John Cabibi updated the printing program to include modern advertising copy and graphics, and published two textbooks on print shop technology, Copy Preparation for Printing and Elementary Printing: An Introduction, in the decades that followed (see fig. 4).  Future welders, machinists, plumbers, pipe fitters, sign painters, mechanical drafters, and interior decorators continued to learn their trade at the institution that was now called Delgado Trades and Technical Institute.

Fig. 3  Delgado Building Trades Drafting Students Making Models for the Home Show Building
           Design Competition around 1955
Fig. 4  Printing Instructor John Cabibi (Second Row, Left) Posing in Front of Building One, with  
           Some of His Students and Staff, Late 1950s
Works Consulted

Annual Progress Report 1956: Delgado Trades School.  New Orleans: Delgado, 1957.

Evaluation Report on an Educational Contract Between the Protectorate of Uganda and Delgado Trades and Technical Institute. New Orleans: Delgado, 1958.

Goldfield, David, Carl Abbot, Virginia DeJohn Anderson, et al. The American Journey. New York:
           Prentice-Hall, 2009.

Stone, Robert C. and Joseph Elwell Gordon.  Problems and Progress at Delgado Trades School. New Orleans: Delgado, 1960.

Thames, Marvin E, Sr.   The History of the Isaac Delgado Central Trades School. Diss. LSU, 1957.

Weidner, Edward. W.  The World Role of Universities, 1962.

9.20.2011

Delgado and World War II

By: Tyler Scheuermann
Like the rest of the country, New Orleans and Delgado in the 1940s were still recovering from the Great Depression and its aftermath. The new decade, however, would be characterized and remembered for one major event…World War II.

Delgado, still a young institution in 1940, was still flying high after the successful building and launching of two biplanes…The Maid and The Flash. Both planes were built on the City Park Campus and combined the expertise and skill of many of the students and faculty.

Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the country shifted its focus and all of its resources into a retaliation effort and boldly entered World War II, a conflict it had tried to remain out of. Government officials, seeing Delgado’s aviation record, enlisted the school to train corpsman in the maintenance, upkeep, and operation of aeronautical projects throughout the war.

Given its new “mission,” Delgado boldly accepted the challenge. Security was tightened around campus and a large fence was constructed to protect what was inside. Students and instructors now presented IDs to enter Isaac Delgado Hall. Many of the courses were restructured to fit the new demand.

Next door on City Park Avenue (now the site of Delgado’s Administration Building), Andrew Higgins was busy planning and building “the boat that won the war”, his infamous landing crafts that would be made famous during the Normandy Invasion. Higgins also partnered with neighboring Delgado for both manpower and expertise in the project.

Delgado’s infamous welding department ran 24- hour instruction shifts to keep up with demand for the necessary knowledge and workforce. The popular program even welcomed women to the school for the first time in its 20-plus year history.

At the Charity School of Nuring, enrollment (760) was one of the largest in the country during the war years. The school offered a revolutionary re-certification program for inactive nurses to tone their skills and re-enter the workforce as the demand for nurses was higher than ever across the nation.

In the end, Delgado enrollment had rocketed and its mission was becoming ever-more clearer to the community. Delgado had answered its country’s call and made it proud.

Last June, a historical marker was dedicated at the front of the City Park Campus, honoring the site of the Higgins Plant and Delgado’s role in the war. The plaque recognizes the impact the site had on the war effort and the “Delgado Men”  who helped make it possible.

Commemorative plaque at former site of Higgins plant, now Delgado’s O’Keefe Administration Building 
Aerial photo of Delgado's City Park Campus in the 1940s, including the neighboring Higgins Plant
Higgins Plant on City Park Avenue, the site of Delgado's Administration Building (Building 37) today

9.13.2011

Bottoms Up! Delgado in the 1930s

By: Leslie Salinero
Thank goodness the 18th amendment, which established Prohibition, was repealed with the passage of the 21st amendment in the early 1930s. Several happenings during this decade might’ve influenced one to partake in an adult beverage as a means to de-stress.'

In lieu of resorting to the bottle to escape the misery of the 30s, however, one might’ve frequented the local theater, as the film industry began producing motion pictures with sound and some in Technicolor during this decade. Some of my personal favorites of this time are the “monster movies” starring Bela Lugosi (Dracula) and Boris Karloff (Frankenstein, The Mummy).  New Orleans, at present-day 623 Canal Street, was actually the site of the first exclusive “movie theater,” called Vitascope Hall, established in 1896. New Orleanians loved to “go to the show” indeed – my grandparents and parents have often recalled what an inexpensive and popular activity this was in their younger days.

The most significant event characterizing the 1930s was the Great Depression, which in part, according to our own records, left Delgado Central Trades School inadequately funded. Though many students would go on to find profitable work in the future, many struggled financially in the 30s. Depression-era Delgado student Abner Menge, a 1939 graduate, built a model of a steam engine as part of his coursework, but couldn’t take his work home because he couldn’t pay the $15 materials fee – just one telltale example of hard times.



Despite financial woes, Delgado continued to teach interesting and valuable skills, such as aviation mechanics training, to its students, who then constructed the Flash and Maid racing aircrafts. See a video of the Flash in action by clicking here.
 
Delgado's "Flash" aircraft
Delgado’s “Flash” aircraft

 With the establishment of President Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration in the 1930s, Delgado provided technical training to workers hired to complete various public works projects around New Orleans. The WPA implemented a broad range of city-wide improvements, including extensive work done in City Park. Below is an example of a 1936 paving job in the park.

During the 1930s, the stage was set for major world conflict with the rise of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi-led Third Reich in Germany in 1933, leading to the outbreak of WWII in Europe in 1939. Indeed, Delgado maintained its reputation for quality trades education, as students trained there would be instrumental in the war effort in the following decade.

9.09.2011

The 1920s Set the Pace

By: Bob Monie
Keeping pace with the “Roaring Twenties,” Delgado Central Trades School offered more than the carpentry, machinist, and metalworking courses it is often remembered for today.  Students learned the intricacies of typesetting on the linotype machines then essential to the printing trade, and the Delgado Print Shop provided services to writers such as Louisiana state superintendent of education Thomas H. Harris, who paid students to print copies of his recently-completed LSU thesis, The Story of Public Education in Louisiana, for free distribution  to friends and libraries. Chef John Henry Breland's interns in the stewardship commercial cooking program fried, fricasseed, roasted, steamed, and stewed their way to employment. They baked bread and whipped up cakes, both “with and without fat,” – the latter a concession to the need of young “sheiks” to keep a slim waist and fleet foot on the dance floor in the Jazz Age. Chef Breland ran the school cafeteria, dubbed “Breland's Beanery” by students, where he charged 25 cents a meal and threw in a biscuit or two as lagniappe.  He remained at Delgado for decades, eventually writing a total of eight nationally-distributed, well-received cookbooks, the last of which, Chef's Guide to Quantity Cookery, was published in 1947. 
T. H. Harris Acknowledges that his book was printed by students of the printing department of Delgado Trades School
Cover photo of Chef J. H. Breland on his Eighth cookbook
Students in the short-lived tailoring program designed and sewed their own three-piece suits and enjoyed posing in them.  Electrical students built motors, wired circuits, spliced cables for apartment houses, set up railroad signal lights, and met during free hours in a radio club. Mechanical drafting students worked with designer Robert Brydon, Jr., often admired as much for his ability to play a “mean” clarinet as for his prowess on the drawing board. Brydon counseled  students in their choice of a career and, like Chef Breland, remained with Delgado for many years, finally publishing a book, Fundamentals of Aircraft Drafting, In 1941.  Fresco and sign painting students enameled, gilded, stippled, and stenciled, shaping their signs and murals into attractive commercial products.  In architectural drafting, students took advantage of the ample space in the carpentry lab to build the rooms and small houses they had drawn as blueprints.  One adept student, August Perez, boasted that he would improve upon the past traditions of architecture, which he found flawed and inadequate. Though more than one generation of August Perezes were needed to make good this claim, by the 1940s, '50s, and '60s, the Perez family architectural firm was ignoring the local New Orleans preference for traditional buildings and turning heads with its sleekly modernist ventures (see Figure 12, Arthur Perez ready to graduate in 1924).  Around 1928, William Gill, another architectural drafting major, graduated from Delgado , transferred to Tulane University, and went on to work for the R.W. Naef architecture and engineering company in Jackson, Mississippi and later Favrot and Reed in New Orleans. Like Perez and his family, Gill favored modernist designs in two states that often preferred columned plantations and shotgun houses. 
Mechanical drafting students of the class of '24 with instructor Robert Brydon
Electrical students of the class of '24
Tailoring students in bottom row displaying two-piece suits they designed and sewed
Other trades programs offered during the first decade at Delgado were pattern making for cabinet and furniture design, plumbing, metalworking, machinist, and welding.  Students carried plumbers' wrenches, heavy tool chests, T-squares, and painters' palettes, and published a newsletter called The Tool Kit.  Some of the 75 students who attended during the fall 1921 session were teens, barely old enough to qualify for admission—14 was the minimum age for most trades – but many of the older students, especially those attending night classes,  were veterans of World War I, “sweethearts on parade.” according to a popular song of the day, who had willingly marched  into the fray, only to be shell-shocked, mustard-gassed, and limb-shorn. They were the survivors  of the “war to end all wars” that didn't.  They came to Delgado on government assistance, looking for a trade and, for the most part, found one.  Delgado helped them exchange the screeching hell of war for the soothing hum of spinning lathes and singing saws, the madness of war for the normalcy of peace—a change few regretted.  The trades programs offered in the first decade set the pattern for courses during the next.  Bryon Armstrong's aviation program in the 1930s would be the major addition to the original selection of programs. The format for the diploma or certificate, established in this first decade of the school's operation remained the same from 1921 to the 1950s.

Architectural drafting student August Perez in 1924
Delgado faculty in 1924, including Director H. G. Martin, Assistant Director O. E. Davieson, Chef J. H. Breland, Mechanical Drafting instructor Robery Brydon, and Board Secretary Louis A. Dodge
Roaring twenties students could join informal sports teams on campus and play against local high schools like Warren Easton. The Delgado baseball team in the 1924-1925 season was called “The Traders” – just right for a trades school. Actors, singers, and dancers signed up for the drama club to perform free minstrel shows at Charity Hospital. For personal recreation, students often walked six blocks up City Park Avenue to watch the barges float by on the New Basin Canal or, if they were old enough, to stop at the Halfway House next to the canal, listen to the Abbie Brunies Jazz Band, and dance a little Charleston two-step or fox trot (see Figure 15, Halfway House Band). Some older students had enough money to afford their own “tin lizzy” or “fliver” rattletrap cars. Delgado Trades School was tuition-free, just as Isaac Delgado had intended. The bills were paid by the State of Louisiana, the City of New Orleans, the Smith-Hughes Fund, the George-Deen Fund, and the Federal Government. In this delirious decade, few suspected that the financial wolf known as the Great Depression was lurking just beyond the curtain of the future, ready to strike.

Delgado diploma used from 1921 to 1950s
Five students on front steps of Isaac Delgado Hall in 1922 - each carrying the tools of his trade
Abbie Brunies and the Halfway House Jazz Band regularly performed in the 1920s just six blocks from Delgado

Works Consulted

Announcement of Trades Courses 1921-1922.  New Orleans: Delgado, 1921.

Brocato, Ron.  “What Ever Happened to . . . New Orleans Schools of Old?”   Sports Blogs-
        Prep School. Tuesday, 30 March 2010. http://www.sportsnola.com/sports/sports-blogs/george-
        pepis/362971-what-ever-happened-to-new-orleans-schools-of-old.html.

“Delgado School \Opens to Classes: Marks an Important Era in the Development of the
       South.”  The Times-Picayune 8 Nov. 1920: Sec. 3, p. 1.

“Delgado School to Open on Namesake's Birthday.”  The Times-Picayune  9 Nov. 1921: p. 14. 

“Delgado School to Start Jun 1: Million Dollar Trade Institution Will Have Summer
      Term.”  The Times-Picayune 27 Feb. 1921: Sec. 5, p. 7.

“Delgado School to Teach Trades Now in Operation: Seventy-Five Pupils to Be Increased
      as Equipment Is Installed.”  The Times-Picayune 4 Sept. 1921: Sec. 4, p. 1.


Dodge, Louis A. “Isaac Delgado Central Trades School.”  The American School Board
        Journal 63 (1921): 51-52.

Dodge, Louis A.  The Isaac Delgado Central Trades School and Its Founder. New Orleans:
        Delgado, 1928. 

“Electrical Department/”  The Tool Kit July 1924: 12. 

Harris, T.H. The Story of Public Education in Louisiana.  New Orleans: Delgado, 1924.

Hill, David Spence.  Vocational Survey for the Isaac Delgado Central Trades School. New Orleans:
        The Commission Council, 1914.

Kendall, John S.  History of New Orleans. New Orleans: Lewis Press, 1922.

Malvaney, E. L. “Cool Mid-Century Modern for Sale  in Funky Fondren.”  Preservation in
         Mississippi 6 May 2009.  Blog. 
          http://preservation.com/2009/06/cool-mid-century-modern-for-sale-in-funky-fondren/

“New Orleans, LA: The Dedication Exercises of the Isaac Delgado Central Trades School.” 
    American Printer and Lithographer 20 Dec. 1921: Vol 73, p. 596.

Patureau, Stephen I.  A History of Delgado Central Trades School.  M.A. Thesis.  Tulane U, 1939. 

“Painting and Decorating Class Features Finest Trades School.”  National Painters Magazine 48
          (May 1921): 16. 

“Printing.” The Tool Kit July 1924: 31-32.

Thames, Marvin E. Sr. History of the Isaac Delgado Central Trades School.  Diss. LSU, 1957.

9.07.2011

What is Delgado School's True Birth Date?

By: Bob Monie
Historians interested in the exact opening date for Isaac Delgado Central Trades School in the 1920s have their work cut out for them. Stephen Patureau, in his 1939 master’s thesis, gives at least four different dates – October 18, 1920, August 21, 1921 (a Sunday), September 1921 (no specific day), and October 1921(also no specific day) – for various aspects of the school's operation. A few more dates, such as November 23, 1921, the anniversary of Isaac Delgado's birthday, come tumbling in from other equally reliable sources. Clearly, the school did not open on a single inauguration day marked with brass bands, electrifying speeches, fireworks, newspaper headlines, and Kleig lights. Instead, from October  18, 1920 to March 31, 1921, next to the old City Hall (Gallier Hall) on St. Charles Ave, in a quiet corner of the Howard Annex  that once was the home of New Orleans philanthropist Frank T. Howard, the newly-appointed  Delgado Trades School director, Henry Giles Martin, and his assistant, O. J. Davieson, begin to train instructors and offer a few classes in drafting and mathematics to 12 night students, while awaiting the completion of  the Delgado building, designed by E.A. Christy, on City Park Avenue.
The Howard Annex next to Gallier Hall on St. Charles Ave. where Delgado Director H. G. Martin first taught teachers and 12 night school students
E. A. Christy, Architectural Designer of the Delgado Trades School building
The earliest known photos of Delgado Trades School in last phase of construction just before opening in 1921
Excerpt from Dodge, Louis A. "Isaac Delgado Central Trade School." The American School Board Journal. August 1921.
In early 1921, the secretary to the Delgado Board of Managers, Louis A. Dodge, submitted an article to  The American School  Board Journal, along with photos that show Christy's building substantially complete, so the wait must have been for final details such as readiness of the physical plant, building code inspection, and delivery of equipment – motors, lathes, and printing presses required for teaching the trades. An original copy of the Delgado Trades School Announcement of Trades Courses 1921-1922, initialed by Isaac Delgado's close friend and later benefactor to the college, Elleonora Moss, gives June 6, 1921 as the date when the school year will start at its permanent location on City Park Avenue. An expected early June opening is also announced in the May 1921 issue of the National Painters Magazine and the February 27 edition of The Times-Picayune.  Yet The Times-Picayune did not report the opening of Delgado until the photo-spread and feature article in the Sunday, September 4, 1921 issue. Most probably, the number of students attending in June was not many more than the 12 who had attended at the Howard Annex. When enrollment climbed to 75 in September, more attention from the press was warranted.  But tantalizingly, the reporter gives no date for the opening day that he witnessed, and, later writers in the 1924 graduation edition of  Delgado's newsletter, The Tool Kit, recall that electric shop classes started “early in the month of August 1921,” and the first print shop classes began “September 1, 1921 with an enrollment of 13 students.”  Each department seems to have regarded the first day of school as the day when its own machinery was in place and its classes began. Perhaps The Times-Picayune reporter witnessed a school opening the same day the print shop got started – September 1, 1921 would be a crisp, easily-remembered starting date – or a little earlier on Sunday, August 21, 1921, but available historical documents do not resolve the issue. 
Pages from the Announcement of Trade Courses 1921 - 1922
The official  “Formal Opening and Dedication Exercises” for the entire school took place  Wednesday, November 23, 1921,  after classes were well underway. On this anniversary of  Isaac Delgado's own birthday, Elleonora Moss, before an assembled audience of more than 700 guests, including  Governor Parker, Mayor McShane, and State Superintendent and T. H. Harris, presented a portrait of Isaac Delgado. She encouraged the students and faculty to develop their skill as artisans, and, quoting from the writings of transcendentalist philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson,  urged them  never to be limited to a merely verbal education that misuses words to “break, chop, and impoverish the infinite mind.”  Their spirit would find expression in framing houses, wiring circuits, and improving the built environment of the city. Certainly by then, Delgado Trades School was rolling, and the students were  advancing into the Jazz Age, tools in hand, whistling the “Beale Street Blues,” and not caring much about which of the school's four or five possible birthdays they should celebrate in the years to come.

Early brochure announcing that Canal and Esplanade streetcars stop in front of the school at regular intervals

Old streetcar stopping at Delgado Trades School

9.02.2011

Isaac Delgado’s Museum and School Become Reality (1909-1921)

By: Bob Monie
By 1909, Delgado suffered from cataracts, and his general health was declining. Aware that he might not have many more years to live, he decided to boost the assets of New Orleans in a lasting  and significant way, by endowing a “fireproof temple of art” or museum that would be open to the public.  In consultation with his friend Pierre Lelong, a City Park administrator, Delgado selected the site for the museum on the southeast end of the park, near Bayou St. John, the Pitot House, and Esplanade Ave. He directed the museum board to hold an open competition for the most suitable museum building and they ultimately chose the “subtropical Greek design” submitted by the little-known but talented 24-year-old Chicago architect, Samuel A. Marx, thus starting young Marx on a long, successful career. Helping young men to begin careers in management and the trades gave Delgado great pleasure; some years earlier, Delgado had hired another young man in his twenties, Mr. Allain, to manage the Albania Plantation, which he did with great flair and productivity for many years, even after Delgado's death.

The Isaac Delgado Museum of Art, now called the New Orleans Museum of Art, originally funded by Isaac Delgado
This interest in getting young men off to a good start led Delgado to support a suggestion offered by his close friend Ellenora Moss that he provide for the construction and operation of a trades school for boys.  Characteristically, he said only, “Yes, I would like to give a boy a trade,” and almost immediately added a codicil to his will to have this wish come true.  He specified with his usual clarity and directness that the school would be “called the Isaac Delgado School,” and “the fund donated by me [would] be used entirely in the establishment of the above-mentioned school and its permanent equipment.” Delgado's habit of patiently accumulating wealth only to turn it into philanthropic projects to benefit the rich and poor alike differs markedly from the sharp practices of the robber-barons and scheming tycoons satirized in a play that he enjoyed in 1910, called Get-Rich-Quick-Wallingford, by George Randolph Chester.  The dishonest protagonist of this melodrama, J. Rufus Wallingford, forever devising unsound investment ventures and looking for “knotholes” to squeeze through to avoid arrest, seemed to Delgado the laughable antithesis of everything a business person ought to be.
1909 Codicil to Delgado's Will
The book version of the play Get-Rich-Quick-Wallingford, which amused Delgado
After Delgado's death in 1912, the City of New Orleans, perhaps recalling his fondness for the City Park area, secured property at the lower west end of the park, between the Orleans Avenue Canal and the Holt Cemetery, for the future Delgado Trades School building--now called Building One or Isaac Delgado Hall—at  615 City Park Ave.  Delgado's wishes helped advance the career of city architect E. A. Christy, who designed the building along neoclassical lines, as a complement to the Beaux-Arts design of the Delgado Museum of Art building near the east end of the park.  Though Christy quickly drew up plans for the new trades school building, World War I intervened, and it could not be completed until the second year of the Roaring Twenties. According to the first Announcement of Trade School Classes 1921-1922, Isaac Delgado Central Trades School finally opened for business on July 16, 1921.

Works Consulted

Announcement of Trades School Classes 1921-1922. New Orleans: Delgado, 1921.

Dodge, Louis. The Issac Delgado Central Trades School and Its Founder.    New Orleans: Delgado, 1928.                                        

Dunbar, Prescott.  The New Orleans Museum of Art: The First Seventy-Five Years.  Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1990.

Garthwaite, Elloyse and Tom Ireland.  Isaac Delgado: His Life and Impact on New Orleans and the State of Louisiana. New Orleans: Delgado, 1980.

Hill, David Spence.  Vocational Survey for the Isaac Delgado Central Trades School. New Orleans: The Commission Council, 1914.

Kendall, John S.  History of New Orleans.  Chicago: Lewis Press, 1922.

O'Brien.  Liz.  Ultramodern Samuel Marx: Architect, Designer, Art Collector.  New York: Pointed Leaf Press, 2007.

Patureau, Stephen I.  “A History of Issac Delgado Central Trades School.” M.A. Thesis.  Tulane University, 1939.

Reeves, Sally E. and William D. Reeves. History of City Park New Orleans,  New Orleans: City Park Improvement Association, 2000.

Thames, Marvin Sr.  “History of the Issac Delgado Central Trades School.”  Diss. Louisiana State University, 1957.