Sunday, September 11, 2011

1868: Ice made New Orleans' unbearable climate bearable

Ice made the city's unbearable climate bearable. 

When the first schooner loaded with ice arrived in 1826, the cargo was supposedly dumped into the Mississippi River on the order of the mayor, who declared that iced drinks would "chill the innards and make consumptives of the people."

His citizens thought otherwise. But supplies were subject to winds and tides, and much of it melted away on the two-month passage from Boston.

After years of experiments, the first ice house opened in New Orleans in 1868.

In 1921, Bradford's on Carondelet Street had the largest selection of iceboxes in the city.

J.F. Kranz founded Crescent City Ice Company in 1928, which soon became the city's largest.

In 1937, "modern" air conditioning consisted of an electric fan blowing air over a block of ice. And until after World War II, the ice man making his rounds was a common part of the streetscape.
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