Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Picayune -- September 16, 2014

Here is an item from The Picayune's Guide to New Orleans (1903), talking about the historic newspaper. 

On Camp Street, in the middle of block, between Gravier Street and Natchez Alley, stands the four-story granite building occupied by
The Picayune.

The Picayune is, with the exception of the French daily, L'Abeille, the oldest paper in Louisiana. It shares with L'Abeille and the Deutsche Zeitung the honor of being the only publications which survived the Civil War. The Picayune was founded in January, 1837, by George Wilkins Kendall and Francis Lumsden, two practical printers. The paper was at first a four-page folio, with four columns to the page. It was so successful that it was found necessary within a few months to enlarge the sheet, and it continued to grow till it ha» reached its prerent dimensions. The present site has been occupied since 1847. After the death of Mr. Lumsden, who was drowned in Lake Erie, in 1800, Mr. Kendall continued the publication of the Picayune with Messrs. Holbrook and Bullitt. Upon the death of Mr. Kendall, in 1867, Mr. Holbrook acquired the sole control. Mr. Holbrook died in 1876, and his widow, whose maiden name was Eliza Jane Poitevent. known to the world of letters as the sweet Southern poet, "Pearl Rivers." took charge of the paper and managed it successfully, with the assistance of Mr. George Nicholson, a man of exceptionally fine business talent, who had been business manager of the Picayune for many years. In 1878 Mrs. Holbrook and Mr. Nicholson were married and the firm name became Nicholson

The Picayune has had a most eventful history during its long existence of sixty-five years. Mr. Kendall brought the paper into great celebrity during the Mexican War, representing it in the field with the army of invasion, and thus being entitled to the honor of being the first of the now numerous tribe of war correspondents. He succeeded, by means of a pony express, in getting news to the Picayune, and through it to the world, in advance of even the Government dispatches. Mrs. Nicholson's management of the paper was exceptionally brilliant, and she is entitled to the honor of having been the first woman in the world who successfully managed a great daily. The recent enterprise of the Picayune, equipped as it is with the most modern and improved machinery that science has devised for newspaper production, has been worthy of its early fame. During the great and disastrous storm at Cheniere Caminada, in 1893, it was not only the first to give the full news of the catastrophe, but chartered a steamboat to send food and clothing supplies to the sufferers. It took the initiative in New Orleans in providing and securing subscriptions for the sufferers of the late great disaster at Galveston, helped to organize the ladies of the city into a relief association and sent money, clothes and medicine valued at $50,000 to the relief of the storm-stricken people.

During the recent war with Spain it was represented in the field by two staff correspondents, and by alliance with the New York Herald secured unrivaled special cable service. In the midst of all the changing events of more than sixty years the Picayune has appeared regularly every morning except during the year 1864, when, for a brief period, the offices were in the hands of the military authorities and the publication was suspended. In addition to the daily, the Picayune issues a twice-a-week edition, and annually at Mardi Gras publishes several beautifully illustrated editions, known far and wide as the "Carnival Editions." Within the past ten years the Picayune has devoted itself sedulously to educating the South in the importance of building cotton mills in the regions where the staple is produced. In this crusade it has, at large expense, sent members of its staff to various parts of the Union, and especially to North Carolina and New England, to study the milling enterprises, which have been so successful there. Entirely at its own cost the Picayune sent Mr. Hargrove, one of these correspondents, to deliver addresses in Mississippi and Louisiana, setting forth the result of his investigations. The Picayune reprinted the articles and letters of these correspondents in two pamphlets, of which more than 45,000 copies were distributed, free, throughout the South. Nothing can be more gratifying to the Picayune than the appreciation of its efforts in its home city. It may interest the tourist to know that the Picayune derives its name from an old Spanish coin called "picayon," which was in circulation in New Orleans in the early part of the century. Its valuation was about 6 1-4 cents. The price of the paper when originally published was a picayune. The five cent coin that superceded the Spanish under American coinage was designated by the Creoles as a picayune. The term, so picturesque and quaint, is still heard frequently in New Orleans among buyers and sellers in the old French Quarter.

Parties not exceeding eight or ten in number, who desire to view the Picayune's complete composing room, with its rows of linotype machines, the wonderful press and the stereotyping department, which are among the most instructive sights in the city, are welcome.

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