Sunday, March 16, 2014

New Orleans Signage: Square and Otherwise

In the good old U. S. of A., there are two versions of New Orleans: the first one shown here is the squeaky clean Disney-fied version found in Anaheim, California. This October 1967 image shows the Frontierland wayfinding signage at the entrance to New Orleans Square, which was Walt's attempt to bring one of his favorite cities to his theme park. Visually, he did a darn good job. The only thing missing are the puke, the pee, and the decadence that have made the original a legend. By creating curved streets, this tiny area seems much bigger to guests who might have to ask themselves, "Have I been down this corridor yet?"

Zooming in, you can see the Blue Bayou Restaurant (still there), The Creole Cafe (now called Cafe Orleans), and the One Of A Kind Shop, where guests could buy antiques and other unique merchandise from all over the world. WITHOUT a Mickey or Disney connection. Let's stop and ponder that a moment.

I'll bet today's Disneyland Merchandising Department would be sweating a bullet over this one.

Gliding across the country to the original...I recently posted this December 1954 image showing the Old Absinthe House. I was bummed that when I zoomed in, I couldn't read the cornerstone signage.

As fate would have it, I was able to acquire this image which shows the same piece from a much closer vantage point:

Who says wishes don't come true?

See more vintage & current New Orleans Square photos from my collection on my main website.

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Fifthrider said...

Congrats on getting that closeup of the Old Absinthe House!

Anthony "Pants" said...

I wish Disney had more shops that sold non-Disney stuff too.

JG said...

Splendid pictures, Dave. So lucky to find these.

I always thought the internally illuminated signs were a little "off" theme, a little too tasteful, especially in comparison to the lurid signs in some parts of NOLA.

I love the picture of the One of A Kind Shop. This was right off the exit from the Pirates, so you almost had to cruise through it. Very enticing. My Mom loved it.

The merchandise was primarily valuable One of A Kind antiques, carefully selected and artfully arranged. But not everything was outlandishly expensive. Some of the goods were especially made for the shop and subtly themed to the Pirate/NOLA vibe, but were only available there, not in other Disneyland shops. Definitely no plush animals.

I remember Mom bought a brass notepad holder to go by our phone with a Pirates logo on it. Dad had a letter opener like a fencing foil with a leather sheath. This was marked Made In Spain, but who knows.

Good times.