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Do you remember "Community Bargain Days?"
From January 30, 1983

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The Union Passenger Terminal

The Union Passenger Terminal (UPT) is New Orleans' train station. Constructed in 1952, it replaced five passenger terminals located at various points in the city. UPT has a direct connection to Krauss Department Store, in that one of the stations it replaced was Terminal Station, located at Canal and Basin Streets. Terminal Station was right next to Krauss from 1908 to 1954. When UPT was completed, the city demolished Terminal Station. Canal Stree...t shoppers never fully realized just how big Krauss Department Store was, because Terminal Station obscured the store's depth.

Terminal Station was still nine years away when Leon Fellman bought the buildings in the 1200 block of Canal Street in 1899, and five years away when Krauss opened in 1903. The station had a wonderful symbiotic relationship with the store for all those years. You forgot something for your trip to New Orleans, and there was this department store with absolutely everything right next door when you got off the train! The concierges and staffs at the downtown hotels also knew this, and regularly steered guests to Krauss for those last-minute essentials and other purchases.

Visitors to the City

There is so much more to the story of UPT, and we'll go more in-depth on that at some point on NOLA History Guy. When the landscape of even a few blocks changes, like the area around Krauss after Terminal Station vanished, it's important to make the connections. Krauss had the next-door neighbor connection to the Southern Railway and Gulf, Mobile and Ohio, both of which came into the station on Basin Street. Passengers coming to Canal Street from Union Station on Howard Avenue came to S. Rampart and Canal, just a block from Krauss. The buyers at Krauss knew this, and made sure the visitors saw enticing goods as they passed by.

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Sears ad in Da Paper, 7-August-1955. The possibility that Sears may close its stores for good is in the headlines today (article below in comments). This ad is from when Sears was located on the corner of Baronne and Common in the CBD.
There's a tangential connection between Krauss and Sears. Leon Fellman, original owner of the building at 1201 Canal Street and one of the founders of Krauss, owned Leon Fellman's store at 800 Canal Street. When Fellman passed, in 1920, his fam...ily restructured the corporation controlling the store, and renamed it "Feibelman's," for reasons I haven't discovered yet. In 1931, Feibelman's moved to Baronne and Common. The building was demolished, a new building built, and Gus Mayer moved in. (This is the building where the CVS drugstore is now.)
In 1936, Feibelman's was acquired by Sears, Roebuck, and that's how Sears came to New Orleans. The CBD store closed in 1979, but the suburban locations kept going. Until now, it seems. :(

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Not a Krauss ad, but something New Orleans from 1903, the year Krauss first opened its doors. Solari's was an institution on Royal Street by 1903 and had opened an uptown location. While researcing Krauss, I constantly came across Solari's ads. Like the dry goods stores, the way for a grocery to communicate specials was through the daily newspaper.

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Krauss Jewelry Department, on the first floor, 1951

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1921 - Home Furnishings - Uptown and Downtown

Home Furnishings were an important part of the Krauss product line. While many dry goods stores at the turn of the 20th Century specialized in clothing, linens, etc., the Krauss brothers expanded out, offering a wider range of products. Rugs made perfect sense, since they were a fabric product, and the buyers were able to make the right connections in New York to get them. So, the store wasn't satisfied with that, moving into othe...r flooring options, like linoleum. Linoleum was common throughout the late 1800s. Invented in 1855, good linoleum was a practical and tough floor covering. The product is organic. Modern-day plastic flooring is often called "linoleum," but that's more a connection made by older folks who remember walking on the real thing.

Many of the same manufacturers who made rugs also made big blankets. After all, the setup of the production line isn't all that different. The usually buying method used by Krauss was to negotiate with a factory for product. They'd go looking for one thing, identify other items out there at good wholesale prices, and bring them back to New Orleans. Sometimes they were marked as a special lot and sold as such. Other times that first purchase turned out to be a good thing for all, and the products entered the regular store inventory.

1911 Expansion

Krauss in 1921 looked a bit different than the big building at 1201 Canal Street now. The brothers expanded the original building back about fifty feet in 1911. That addition went up five stories. All of the expansions after that added on at five stories, goign to six in the back later. There were no escalators in 1921, so shoppers got to the upper floors via elevators.

Newspaper ads were the main way the store had to communicate with shoppers, even after radios became widespread.

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The Leon Fellman Building, 802 Canal, 1912. Still There, the first floor is a store called LIVE (with a backwards E).

This building has a tangential connection to Krauss -- Leon Fellman built the original building at 1201 Canal, and leased it to the Krauss Brothers.

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Krauss and Canal Street after the crash

From 1930, Canal Street, shot from the corner of S. Liberty. Just off the blow that was the 1929 streetcar strike, NOPSI and City Hall decided the best way to get folks back on public transit was to rip up the city's main street. This was the "Beautification Program" of 1930. Krauss is on the left side, with Terminal Station next to it on the other side of Basin Street. So, if you look closely, you'll notice that the "fleur de lis" lamp... poles in the neutral ground aren't there in this photo. The poles and fixtures you see here are the last thing replaced in this round of Canal Street improvements.

Saenger-Maison Blanche Radio

You can see Maison Blanche looming over the rest of Canal Street, If the MB building seems like it's even more dominant in these photos from the late 1920s/early 1930s, that's likely due to the big radio towers on the front and rear of the thirteen-story building. The top floor of MB was the studio for WSMB-AM. MB removed the rooftop tower a few years later, when the station moved its transmission equipment to St. Bernard Parish.

Basin Street

Terminal Station, right next to Krauss, was a beautiful urban passenger terminal. It was demolished in 1954. So, that year, 1954, was the first time since 1907 that shoppers could walk up Canal Street and have a good view of the Basin Street side of the store. Krauss got a boost as a result of the station just across the street.

Because of the road work and financial decisions by the company in 1929, 1930 was one year shy of some big innovations and improvements to Krauss Department Store. Air-conditioning and the Luncheonette come to the store in 1931.

We're not quite sure what we're going to do yet in terms of the run-up to the drop of Krauss: New Orleans' Value Store this fall, so keep an eye here and on Facebook for photos, ad clippings, and other Krauss tidbits. Additionally, we'll be coming up with other creative ideas to keep you anticipating the release of the book. So, stick around! It's going to be fun. So many photos of Canal Street are shot looking from the river up towards the cemeteries. We're going to post more Krauss-to-the-river photos, because it gets you thinking.

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My Krauss page is open for business! Come on in, Krauss has everything.

Krauss Department Store updated their cover photo.
March 13
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Welcome to Krauss! From 1903 to 1997, Krauss Department Store was one of the premier department stores on Canal Street in New Orleans.

Krauss Department Store updated their profile picture.
March 13
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Krauss Department Store updated their profile picture.
March 13
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