Friday, March 16, 2018

New Orleans Square, August 1967

New Orleans Square debuted in July of 1966; Walt Disney was still with us, and he had the mayor of the real New Orleans (Victor H. Schiro) to help dedicate the first new "land" since the park's opening. At that time, neither of the big attractions that we associate with it ("Pirates of the Caribbean" and "The Haunted Mansion") were ready, but it was still pretty great.

This first photo, from August of 1967, was taken about a month after "Pirates" had opened. Notice the blonde mom (?) wearing her tricorn hat, instantly identifying her as a pirate. In a way I'm surprised that the crowds aren't crazier! I love the laid-back feeling that this image evokes - it's a sunny, beautiful day, and we have lots of genuine 1960's people to observe. Ornate cast iron (or cast aluminum?) benches surround the planter - you can face the Square, or sit on the other side and watch the activity along the river. Magnolia trees and bright flowers add to the beauty.

It looks like our photographer walked along the shore toward Frontierland for this next shot. The Bertha Mae Keelboat glides by the Old Mill, which is engulfed in lush greenery; even Fowler's Harbor looks like it's being reclaimed by nature. In the background rafts move to and fro.

Melissa will enjoy the two girls in similar dresses! One with red stripes and blue anchors, the other in blue stripes with red anchors.


Nanook said...


I see the 'powers that be' hadn't yet changed the name of The Indian War Canoes to the more-politically correct Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes, [in May, 1971]. I kinda thought it had already occurred; but obviously not in 1967.

I think I want a tricorn hat and some jeans with blue or red anchors.

Thanks, Major.


Interesting that the directional sign lists THE HAUNTED MANSION already despite its opening is three years away! Early marketing tease I suppose .


I just re-read the post and the image is not 1966 but 1967 - so the mansion’s opening is about two years away.

The NEW 1967 New Orleans Square looks perfect!! Who would have guessed the 45 years later the secretive and elegantly exclusive CLUB 33 would turn into a infection ruining so many of the fantasticly beautiful building facades and the courtyards becoming pay only entrances to a tacky 21st Century version of “club 33”

Chuck said...

I think I just had my first Popsicle sighting on GDB (second photo, left-hand side). And now I want one...and so do you. All of you. You're welcome.

Steve DeGaetano said...

Mike Cozart, you took the words right out of my keyboard re "club 33."

Anonymous said...

NOS used to be great.

Thanks Major.


Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I wish the canoes had been called Georgie Russell’s Super Happy Fun Time Canoes. Everybody would enjoy that! You can have anchors on your jeans, I want peace signs and/or smiley faces.

Mike Cozart, it IS a little odd that they are directing guests to an attraction that they could only look at from the outside. Maybe that was enough?

Mike Cozart II, the way I see it, rich people should have special access to all of the best stuff at Disneyland. Everyone else can lump it! - wait in long lines, etc. I remember seeing the early color concept sketches of the Club 33 redo, and they made my heart sink. Not that I was ever going to be eating there anyway, it was just that the whole thing was so wrong-headed. Think of the care that went into something like the Plaza Inn. Now they are adding Club 33s to other parks, which seems extra crass.

Chuck, those popsicles look suspiciously like Sunkist orange popsicles, and yet those folks are quite a distance from Main Street. Perhaps you could buy them from an ODV cart?

Steve DeGaetano, yeah, it’s pretty hard to argue with Mike’s sentiments.

Anonymous said...

I’m thinking the orange popsicles were from Adventureland’s Sunkist, I Presume.

Major Pepperidge said...

JG, there is still lots to enjoy about New Orleans Square, but it is disappointing when the powers that be decided to lock off an area that used to be open to everyone.

Anon, oh yeah! I'm sure you are right.

Melissa said...

Deliberate or no, that five-year gap between the construction of the outards and innards of the Haunted Mansion was great publicity.

Love the matching dresses! Mom said they could wear “ankle-length,” but they decided to mishear her as “anchor-length.”

The blond lady in the tricorne is pretty, but my eyes keep getting pulled back to the sun-kissed copper bouffant in the crowd at right. And the birch in the foreground makes a lovely frame.

Anonymous said...

I love the relaxed atmosphere that comes from these photos. Try finding that today! KS

zach said...

We grumble a lot about changes on this blog, I’ve noticed. I’m 70 this year and today’s photos are the park I experienced and grew up with. There were fewer crowds, it was new and fresh and Walt’s hand was all over it.

So it’s changed, OK, but today’s park is the park of my grandkids. It’s the park they will grow up with and love and 50 years from now they may lament the changes but, believe it, they will still love the park of today. It’s perspective is all.

Meanwhile, I’m glad I get to see the past through other’s photos but I’m not going to dis (see what I did there?) today’s park in front of my grandkids, but I will lament occasionally here about the park we miss so much.

Keep up the good work, Major.


Jonathan said...

David said it, Walt's hand was all over it. When we lost Walt we lost a true visionary. Thanks Major for the very relaxing trip to New Orleans Square.

K. Martinez said...

David, you are right about it being the newer generation's park because is sure doesn't do it for me like it used to. It's clear that us old-school Disney fans are not Disney's targeted demographic today. That's okay because I feel lucky enough to have experienced it many times as Walt's park.

Major, I love the first pic with the sign. Always enjoy seeing Disneyland pics of the directional signs. Thanks!


When Coney Island and Steeple Chase Park were in there glory at the beginning of the 20th Century, you’d be hard pressed to find a businessman, investor or guest to believe that in 50 years tastes would change so much that it would fall and crumble - I think Disneyland is held in that same mantle ..... but we can see that guests tastes ( attention spans) and the changing management that were not around with Walt or even with the first and second generations of imagineers , we see drastic operational changes and attraction offerings .

That fact is at some point in time Disney parks WILL become another version of “Coney Island”

What current Disney is doing to EPCOT, New Orleans Square, the distssterous DCA style park and the deterioration of DISNEY MGM is an example of this eventual evolution .

Melissa said...

I knew there was an up side to not having grandchildren! I get to complain to my heart's content!

(Just kidding, David! I enjoyed reading your perspective, and I also enjoy those moments in the Parks when I see a kid experience those Disney differences that are still there.)

dean finder said...

I didn't experience Disneyland in Walt's day, but I did experience EPCOT Center when it was still new (1984) and I was 8. It was an something that had considerable effect on the direction for my life.
I'm sure today's kids will like Disney parks, but I don't think they'll have the same kind of effect on them. Disney parks at a time were something completely unique - now they're largely about extending the "brand interaction," and I don't think that's quite as aspirational as Disney of the 1960s or 80s.