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January 26, 1990 - Image 80

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-01-26

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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80

FRIDAY, JANUARY 26, 1990

Touro Synagogue: An historic congregation.

Jewish Travelers
Enjoy The Sig Easy'

RUTH ROVNER

Special to The Jewish News

azz musicians call it
the Big Easy. Others
call it Crecent City
because it's located where the
Mississippi River makes a
bend on its long way
southward.
Whatever it's called,
everybody seems to love New
Orleans. For tourists, it offers
a medley of sense impres-
sions: the sound of jazz on
Bourbon Street, the sight of
the Mississippi (which people
here dub The Mighty Muddy),
the tang of Cajun cooking, the
color of activity on Jackson
Square in the French Quarter
— all combine to create the
special flavor of the Big Easy.
For Jewish travelers, there's
still more — the flavor of a
city that's a blend of past and
present, a Deep South city
where Jews number just
12,000 in a population of
750,000 but have always been
a powerful presence.
The roster of prominent
New Orleans Jews includes
merchants, politicians, musi-
cians, artists. Judah Ben-
jamin, who held two cabinet
posts in the Confederacy,
began his career here. So did
Judah 'Iburo, who became one
of the city's most well known
benefactors.
Other Jewish New Orlea-
nians include Captain Neville
Levy, a shipbuilder who
helped open the Greater New
Orleans Mississippi River
Bridge in 1958; and Allan
Jaffe, founder of Preservation
Hall, the renowned jazz
center in the French Quarter.
Jewish sites of interest in
the Big Easy are easy to ex-
plore. That's because many of
them are directly on the route
of the St. Charles streetcar —

j

and riding this moving Na-
tional Historic Landmark is
part of the fun of a visit.
The seats are polished slat
benches; the windows are
open wide to catch the breeze,
and the bargain fare of 60
cents allows visitors to see a
long stretch of St. Charles
Avenue, with its Southern
mansions, gardens and giant
oak trees.
The Jewish Community
Center at 5342 St. Charles is
a sleek, low-rise, white
building in a modern style
that's a surprise in a city
renowned for ornate design.
Inside, the extensive
facilities include a fully
equipped exercise and fitness
center, auditorium, nursery
school, huge outdoor swimm-
ing pool and racquetball
courts. Visiting Jews who are
members of JCC's elsewhere
can use all these facilities
free.
The campus of Tulane
University begins at 6400 St.
Charles. Tulane is home to
3,000 Jewish students, some
of whom are enrolled in its
Judaic Studies Program. In
the Howard Tilton Memorial
Library, the archives of the
Southern Jewish Historical
Society are kept. The Presi-
dent's Mansion, a striking
classical revival structure,
was once the home of Samuel
Zemurray, a Jewish im-
migrant who came to the ci-
ty penniless, went into the
banana business and in time
became head of United Fruit.
Later, he gave this mansion
and other gifts to the
university.
Temple Sinai at 6227 St.
Charles is also directly on the
streetcar route. New
Orleans's first Reform con-
gregation is now the largest
among the city's eight, and

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