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The Salvato Family Collection - Sightseeing in New Orleans (1954)

Dixie Salvato Flint

Silent | 1954

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  •  Andrew Jackson statue at Jackson Square 
  •  Saint Louis Cathedral 
  •  Pirates Alley 
  •  Historic cemetery, most likely one of the Lafayette cemeteries 
  •  Jax Brewery 
  •  Algiers Ironworks Company 
  •  Wesson Oil-Snowdrift Factory 
  •  The President Riverboat, a sidewheel river excursion boat built in 1924. Before World War II, the boat traveled from port to port, holding music and entertainment performances. After World War II, she remained docked in New Orleans as a music venue.  
  •  Pontchartrain Beach amusement park 
  •  Kiddieland 
  •  The Roosevelt 
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This home movie captures a vacation to New Orleans, Louisiana, between August 29 and September 3, 1954. The small group of men and women visit tourist attractions in the French Quarter, such as Jackson Square, Pirates Alley, and the Saint Louis Cathedral. They stand along the Mississippi River, where they can spot the old Jax Brewery, the Wesson and Snowdrift factory, and the Algiers Iron Works factory. They also visit Pontchartrain Beach, a once-thriving amusement park with amusement rides, concession stands, traveling music acts, and a public beach. The film ends with sights of The Roosevelt Hotel and advertisements for the famous New Orleans cocktail, the Ramos Gin Fizz.
The Salvato family played an integral role in the early development and community of Dickinson, located about 20 miles northeast of Galveston. Peter Salvato, born in June of 1911 to Joseph B. Salvato Sr. and Dominica Cucchia, frequently appears in this collection of home movies with his young children, Dixie and Jimmy. He had seven other siblings, including Joe, Sam, Mike, Tony, Lena, Katy, and Sister Mary Henry. 
Peter, Mike, and Joe Salvato operated numerous night clubs in Dickinson. They partnered with Anthony J. and Victor J. Fertita, another notable business family, on the Cedar Oaks Club. They also worked with Sam and Carlos Emmite on the Dickinson Social Club, located on Farm to Market Road 517.
Besides night clubs, Peter Salvato owned and operated other businesses, such as auto shops, service stations and restaurants. One of his operations seen throughout this collection of home videos is the Ritz Motel and Cafe. The Salvato children often spent time swimming in the pool, while the adults sat and lounged on the patio. 
In 1957, State Attorney General Will Wilson began a massive campaign of raids in Galveston County, ultimately closing around 47 night clubs, casinos, and brothels for illegal activity. Galveston and its surrounding cities had become known as the Free State of Galveston during the 1920s due to the prevalence of vice-oriented businesses and lax law enforcement. Venues across the county, including the Cedar Oaks Club and Dickinson Social Club, lost their licenses for violating gambling and liquor laws. The move effectively ended the Free State of Galveston, gravely impacting the city’s tourism industry.