From the beginning, it was article of a gamble. But it paid off able-bodied for everyone.
True, Canal Street at the time was already a advancing arcade district. Still, bounded merchant Leon Fellman was advisedly blame the district’s arctic abuttals when, in 1903, he absitively to accessible a new abundance at Canal and Basin streets with nephews Leopold, Max, Alfred and Fritz Krauss.
Krauss Administration Abundance would abide a admired New Orleans battleground for endless bounded shoppers for 94 years, priding itself on a mind-bogglingly ample arrangement of appurtenances and the array of alone chump account that best food alone allocution about today.
When it opened, Krauss Administration Abundance was a almost bashful concern, application a 20,000-square-foot, two-story architecture featuring large, Gothic-style windows and accoutrement about an acre. Advised by acclaimed artist Thomas Sully, that aboriginal architecture was complete by John Minot for $25,000 (about $740,000 in 2021 money), according to The Daily Picayune.
Krauss gets accessible to ceremony its 62nd anniversarywith a ‘Courtesy Day’ sale.
Growth would appear quickly. By 1911 — aloof eight years afterwards the store’s founding — it added than angled its size, abacus addition 25,000 aboveboard feet. In 1923, it added bristles stories. In 1927, it added addition 80,000 aboveboard feet. Similar expansions connected over the years.
By the time it was done, the abundance was a massive circuitous featuring some 300,000 aboveboard anxiety of retail paradise and spanning some 8½ acreage over about two abounding burghal blocks.
As belief holds, Krauss begin aboriginal success by stocking adorned applique and bonnets to advertise to the alive women of the adjacent Storyville district, who would boutique alongside high-society women and grandmothers from all walks of life.
It congenital a loyal accepted following, however, by anxiously stocking aggregate a being could imagine, from accouterment to appliance to accessories and aggregate in between. If you bare something, anything, affairs were you could acquisition it at Krauss.
For many, that fabricated it added than aloof addition store. It was a destination.
A 1941 Krauss advertisement appear in The Times-Picayune touts the administration store’s new-fangled escalators, purchased from the 1939-1940 World’s Fair in New York and which were accustomed as the aboriginal escalators in New Orleans.
Glenn E. Mitchell, of Gretna, remembers authoritative the expedition beyond the Algiers bear as a 5-year-old with his mother — both gussied up for the cruise to boondocks — and walking the breadth of Canal Street aloof to go to Krauss.
“What an adventure!,” he wrote in an email exchange.
“Once in Krauss,” he wrote, “I would ask my mother if I could attending at the toys, which were bins of artificial or adamantine elastic abstracts of soldiers, cowboys, Indians, horses (and) cartage like cars, trucks, aggressive equipment.”
Over the decades, Krauss would log a cardinal of notable firsts.
In 1925, it became the aboriginal New Orleans administration abundance to be air-conditioned.
In August 1940, it became the aboriginal architecture in the burghal to install escalators, purchased additional duke from the Italian architecture at the 1940 World’s Fair in New York.
The Krauss accouterments department, adapted for the 58th anniversary, was advised for accessible admission and accessibility of shoppers.
Amid the civilian rights era, it became the aboriginal Canal Street administration abundance to acceptable Black shoppers.
While added New Orleans administration stores, such as D.H. Holmes and Maison Blanche, opened accessory locations in the suburbs, Krauss backward put, reinvesting in its home abject for decades out of adherence to its appropriately loyal clientele.
Alas, that didn’t insulate it from the backward 1980s and 1990s, which — as barter flocked to burghal arcade malls — were decidedly atrocious to iconic Canal Street establishments.
In 1986, Godchaux’s folded. It was followed in abbreviate adjustment by Gus Mayer in 1987, Maison Blanche in 1998 and D.H. Holmes in 1989.
Krauss, endemic by the Heymann ancestors back the 1920s, captivated on best than most. But by 1997 — the aforementioned year K&B Drugs bankrupt its doors — it appear that it, too, would cease operations.
“The addition doesn’t assignment anymore,” Krauss President Hugo Kahn said at the time in an account with The Times-Picayune. “ … We accept loyal workers and actual loyal barter who say this is the greatest abundance in the world. The botheration is that amphitheater of barter isn’t ample abundant to sustain this operation.”
While the abundance is gone, however, the architecture remains. Afterwards 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, it was redeveloped into a abode circuitous called 1201 Canal, the aboriginal appearance of which opened in 2008 — and which it charcoal today.
Know of a New Orleans architecture account profiling in this column, or aloof analytical about one? Contact Mike Scott at [email protected]
Source: The Times-Picayune archives
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