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.

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