O’BRIEN, Benson Harrison “Pat,” bar owner. Born, Chattanooga, Tenn., November 6, 1894. Spent childhood at Birmingham, Ala. Served in the Rainbow Division, United States Army, during World War I; awarded a Purple Heart. After the war, O’Brien became a tobacco salesman; moved to Houston, Tex., in the 1920s, and became a stockbroker. Moved briefly to Los Angeles following the 1929 stock market crash. Subsequently traveled to Birmingham, Ala., where he sold his remaining property. Visited friends in New Orleans while en route to Texas and decided to remain in the Crescent City. Opened a package liquor store in the French Quarter, December 3, 1933. Subsequently established a bar along St. Peter Street; established business partnership with Charlie Cantrell, 1947; subsequently moved the bar, which retained the name Pat O’Brien’s, to another St. Peter Street location. The latter venture proved an unprecedented success, thanks to Pat O’Brien’s gracious hospitality and the introduction of the Hurricane, a popular alcoholic beverage containing rum, lemon juice, passion fruit syrup, crushed ice, and fruit. Became a friend of actor Pat O’Brien, who frequently visited the French Quarter bar. Over the following decades, the bar became an internationally famous tourist attraction. Reportedly retired after a burglar wounded him at O’Brien’s residence in 1974. Died at his residence in Covington, La., November 10, 1983; interred, Pilgrim’s Rest Cemetery, Covington. C.A.B. Sources: Vertical file, Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collection, Special Collections, Louisiana State University-Baton Rouge; Baton Rouge State-Times, November 11, 1983.
O’BRIEN, Catherine (a.k.a. Mother Laura). Born, Georgia, June 17, 1886; daughter of John and Mary Foley O’Brien. Entered Novitiate of Sisters of Perpetual Adoration (now Sisters of the Most Holy Sacrament), February 14, 1907. Education: Catholic University, Washington, D. C., B. A., 1925. Taught in Catholic schools in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama. In 1939 became superior general, serving in that capacity until 1957. Made great strides in education of sisters. Re-opened kindergarten department for training young nuns who continued their education at Loyola University, Catholic University, and Southwestern Louisiana Institute (now University of Southwestern Louisiana). Sought and obtained accreditation of Training School Department with Catholic University in 1945, leading to much more extensive teaching program at motherhouse in Lafayette. Due to her efforts, sisters had opportunity to follow pedagogical advice of their founder, Fr. Faller. Died, Lafayette, La., January 10, 1968; interred Cavalry Cemetery. N.L. Source: Author’s research.
O’BRIEN, Nell Pomeroy, artist. Born, New Orleans, August 11, 1898; daughter of Eugene John Bernard Pomeroy and Savilla Jane Marquis; descendant of American Revolutionary War general Seth Pomeroy. Education: local schools; Tulane University; studied art at Art Students League, New York with Romanovsky; Wayman Adams, New York; Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts, Paris. Married, June 1, 1922, John A. O’Brien, civil engineer, son of James Joseph O’Brien and Kate Ellen Corr. One child: Patricia (Mrs. Mogens H. Stringel). In 1911 chosen as New Orleans’ most talented child artist to exhibit at opening of newly completed Isaac Delgado (later renamed New Orleans) Museum of Art. War posters designed while at Tulane University used by U. S. War Department in World War I. Taught classes in oil, watercolor, and sculpture. Known primarily for portrait and flower paintings. Many of her portraits of local as well as internationally known individuals are in permanent collections at Louisiana State Museum; New Orleans Civil District Court Building; Baylor University, Waco, Texas; Loyola and Tulane universities, New Orleans; Louisiana State Capitol, Baton Rouge. Exhibited nationally; won many awards and gold medals; one-man shows held at New Orleans Museum of Art, Louisiana State Museum; McNeese State University, Lake Charles; Beaumont, Galveston, Houston, Texas. Received citation from U. S. Navy Department for outstanding volunteer service at New Orleans Naval Hospital during World War II. Commissioned to paint Flowers of the Month by late Mayor “Chep” Morrison (q.v.) and New Orleans Floral Trail Association. Board member, vice president, secretary-treasurer, New Orleans Art Association; founder Junior Members of the Art Association; art chairman New Orleans Spring Fiesta Advisory Board. Life member, New Orleans Museum of Art; Mississippi Art Association; Southern States Art League; Louisiana Art Commission Advisory Board National Hall of Art. Member: Louisiana Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution; Louisiana Historical Society; Louisiana Landmarks Society; Friends of the Cabildo; Pi Beta; Le Petit Salon; and numerous Carnival organizations. Died, New Orleans, January 20, 1966; interred Lakelawn Mausoleum. B.R.O. Sources: Mobile Press Register, December 8, 1946; The Old French Quarter News, August 9, 1946; New Orleans Times-Picayune, August 14, 1943; obituary, January 21, 1966; Who’s Who in American Art (1946).
O’BRYAN, Maud, journalist. Born, Sulphur, La., June 28, 1909; daughter of F. Daniel O’Bryan and Annie Christina Coldwater. Education: local schools; Louisiana State University, B. A. Journalism, 1932. Married, September 14, 1939, Dr. George Nelson Ronstrom. New Orleans Times-Picayune, 1919-1977, reviewed children’s books under name “Aunt Jane”; daily advertising column “Maud O’Bryan Advertising Reporter.” Named “Miss Columnist of the Year,” National Writers Club, New Orleans branch. Antique collector; contributor articles to national magazines, including Antiques, American Antique Journal, Hobbies. Received awards from many local social and service organizations. Member: Theta Sigma Phi. Died, New Orleans, March 25, 1979; cremated. B.R.O. Sources: New Orleans States-Item, obituary, March 27, 1979; New Orleans Times-Picayune, obituary, March 27, 1979; Who’s Who in the South and Southwest, 1976-1977 (1977).
OCHSNER, Edward William Alton, surgeon, academic. Born, Kimball, S. D., May 4, 1896; son of Edward Philip Ochsner (1851-1945) and Clara Leda Schontz (1859-1947). Education: Kimball public schools; University of South Dakota, 1914-1918; Washington University, St. Louis, Mo., M.D., 1920. Intern and assistant resident, Barnes Hospital, St. Louis, 1920-1921; surgical resident, Augustana Hospital, Chicago, Ill., 1921-1922; exchange surgical resident, University of Zurich, 1922-1923; exchange surgical resident, University of Frankfurt, 1923-1924. Married (1), September 13, 1923, Isabel Lockwood (1896-1968) of Chicago. Children: Edward William Alton, Jr. (b. 1924), John Lockwood (b. 1927), Mims Gage (1928-1985), Isabel (b. 1929). Married (2), February 12, 1970, Jane Kellogg Sturdy (b. 1913) of Los Angeles. Surgical practice with Dr. D. A. Orth, Chicago, 1925-1926; assistant professor of Surgery, University of Wisconsin, 1926-1927; professor of Surgery, Tulane University, 1927-1961. One of the first to identify cigarette smoking as a cause of lung cancer and heart disease. One of founders (with Dr. Edgar Bruns, Guy Caldwell, Francis LeJeune, Curtis Tyrone) and director of surgery (1942-1966) of Ochsner Clinic and Ochsner Foundation Hospital; president, Alton Ochsner Medical Foundation, 1944-1970. Retired from surgery after more than 20,000 operations. Published six books, twenty-four sections of books, and more than five hundred articles. Taught more than 3,000 students, including Texas heart surgeon Michael DeBakey. Member: American Cancer Society, American College of Surgeons, American Medical Association, International Cardiovascular Society, Pan American Medical association, Pan Pacific Surgical Association, Cordell Hull Foundation for International Education, Information Council of the Americas, International House of New Orleans, Metropolitan Crime Commission of New Orleans. Numerous honorary degrees, civic and social awards and honors, including Times-Picayune Loving Cup, 1945; Rex, 1948; and States-Item Man of the Century in Medicine, 1977. Died, New Orleans, September 24, 1981. H.M.E. Sources: Alton Ochsner Papers, The Historic New Orleans Collection MSS 220; obituary, New Orleans Times-Picayune/States-Item, September 25, 1981.
O’CONNOR, James, attorney, congressman. Born, New Orleans, April 4, 1870. Education: Tulane University Law Department. Admitted to the bar, 1900. Married Florence Bland, 1903. Children: John, Henry, and James. Member, state constitutional conventions, 1898 and 1913; served in the state house of representatives, 1900-1912; assistant city attorney of New Orleans, 1912-1918; judge of the criminal court of Orleans Parish, 1918-1919. Elected to Congress in 1919 to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Albert Estopinal (q.v.); reelected and served from June 5, 1919, to March 3, 1931; served on the House Rivers and Harbors Committee; principal legislation was the development of flood control in the Mississippi Valley, the Lakes to Gulf Waterway, the Intracoastal Canal system, and the establishment of the Chalmette battlefield as a national military park. Unsuccessful candidate for renomination in 1930; resumed the practice of law; served on the state attorney general’s staff in New Orleans. Died, Covington, La., January 7, 1941; interred Metairie Cemetery, New Orleans. J.B.C. Sources: Biographical Directory of the American Congress, 1774-1971 (1971); U. S. Congress, Congressional Directory, 71st Congress (1930); New Orleans Times-Picayune, obituary, January 9, 1941.
O’CONNOR, John, pioneer. Born in Ireland. Immigrated to Philadelphia where he married Ann Pryor and had three children. Removed to Natchez District with merchandise and established a store, ca. 1780. Acquired Spanish land grant in Feliciana, 1789; called planter in Spanish census, 1792; resident, New Feliciana, 1793; alcalde, Second Division, New Feliciana, 1799-1808; abused by Kemper Rebellion, 1804; built noteworthy Latin-type house, 1808. Died ca. 1810; interred Spring Grove Plantation, West Feliciana Parish, La. E.K.D. Sources: May McBee, Natchez Court Records (1979); WPA Translations, Spanish Archives; West Feliciana Parish Records.
ODIN, Jean-Marie, clergyman, prelate. Born, Hauteville, Ambierle, France, February 25, 1800, son of Jean and Claudine (Seyrol) Odin. Ecclesiastical studies at Verrières, L’Argentière, Alix, and Lyons in France before coming to the Mississippi Valley in 1822 in response to the appeal for missionaries made by Louis Guillaume DuBourg (q.v.), bishop of the vast Diocese of Louisiana and the Floridas. Theological education completed at the Seminary of the Barrens in Perryville, Mo. Joined the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentian or Lazarist Fathers), November 8, 1822. Ordained priest, May 4, 1823. Missionary work at New Madrid and Cape Girardeau, Mo., while professor and ultimately president of the Seminary of the Barrens. So well esteemed that by 1835 he had been recommended to Rome as coadjutor for four different dioceses (Vincennes, New Orleans, New York and St. Louis) and, in 1837, after third Provincial Council of Baltimore, as coadjutor of Detroit. After revolution, Texas placed under temporary ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Bishop Antoine Blanc (q.v.) of New Orleans who sent Vincentians there. Odin in Texas by July 14, 1840. Named titular bishop of Claudiopolis and coadjutor of Detroit in December of same year. Declined appointment to Detroit in May 1841 but named Vicar Apostolic of Texas two months later. Raised to the episcopate in New Orleans, May 6, 1842. Galveston erected as a diocese in 1847; Odin became its first bishop with jurisdiction over all of Texas. Appointed administrator of Archdiocese of New Orleans in August 1860 following death of Archbishop Blanc. Nominated to See of New Orleans January 1861. Accepted appointment with great reluctance because of his age and “the material interests of Texas” which he believed would suffer by leaving Galveston. Prompt to reorganize the administration of church revenues in Archdiocese of New Orleans. Established annual Cathedraticum which aroused resentment of local clergy but was supported by Rome. Successful in recruiting clergy during trip to Europe in 1862 (as he had been for Galveston on similar trip in 1845). Became Pope Pius IX’s contact in South during Civil War as Archbishop Hughes of New York was in the North. Faced many problems arising out of Reconstruction period. Made serious efforts to secure adequate ministration to and education for freed slaves, but largely unsuccessful. Forced to close diocesan seminary in New Orleans in 1867 due to lack of funds. Attended Vatican Council I (1869-1870) when failing health required retirement to his native town of Hauteville where he died on May 25, 1870. J.E.B. Sources: Roger Baudier, The Catholic Church In Louisiana (1939); Henry C. Bezou, “Odin, John Mary, New Catholic Encyclopedia (1967), vol. X; Joseph B. Code, Dictionary of the American Hierarchy (1964); M. A. Fitzmorris, Four Decades of Catholicism in Texas, 1820-1860 (1926); John G. Shea, History of the Catholic Church in the United States (1892).
ODOARDO DE SAYAS, Cecilio, administrator. Arrived in Louisiana with the commission of auditor of war and assessor of the government in 1770; officially appointed as assessor to Gov. Luis de Unzaga (q.v.) on December 24, 1772; trained as a lawyer of the Audiencia of Santo Domingo, his duties entailed furnishing legal advice to the governor, the cabildo and the alcaldes ordinarios; his salary was 800 pesos annually; appointed as lieutenant governor and interim auditor of war of the Province of Venezuela, December 30, 1777. D.N.K. Sources: Archivo General de Indias, Audencia de Santo Domingo, legajo 2581, no. 1, December 24, 1772, fols. 1-7; legajo 2547, no. 17, March 21, 1777; legajo 2547, no. 98, December 30, 1777; legajo 2547, no. 123, January 27, 1778; François-Xavier Martin, The History of Louisiana (1882).
ODOM, Frederick Marion, jurist. Born, Union Parish, La., April 4, 1871; son of J. M. Odom and Sarah Dean. Married Emma Inez Scogin, daughter of the Morehouse Parish sheriff, December 19, 1905; children: Emily Dean, Fred M., Jr., Lina Garland, and John S. Spent “the first 20 years of his life in Union parish, excepting 3 years in Logan county, Ark.” Educated in local schools. Taught sporadically in country school, Union Parish, 1889-1890. Graduated from the state normal school at Natchitoches, La., 1894. Teacher, Morehouse High School, 1894-1897; principal, Bonita School, 1897-1898; principal, Morehouse High School, 1898-1899. Member, Morehouse High School Board, 1900-ca. 1914. Read law while working as an educator. Admitted to the Louisiana bar, November 1899. Established a law practice at Bastrop, La., January, 1900. Political and judicial careers: clerk, Bastrop Town Council, 1901-1902; clerk, Morehouse Parish Police Jury, 1902-1908; district attorney for the Fourth Judicial District, 1908-ca. 1916; subsequently served as district judge for Morehouse and Ouachita parishes; gained widespread notoriety by presiding over the famous 1922 Ku Klux Klan case in Morehouse Parish; named to the Louisiana Court of Appeals, 1924; served on the court of appeals until his appointment as associate justice, Supreme Court of Louisiana, January 1, 1931; declared unconstitutional controversial amendments to primary election laws giving Huey P. Long (q.v.) virtual control over Louisiana elections. Retired, December 20, 1944. Subsequently moved to his farm near Bastrop. Entered a Monroe, La., rest home shortly before his death. Member: Baptist church; worshipful master, Masonic lodge; Knights of Pythias. Died at Monroe, August 17, 1960. C.A.B. Sources: New Orleans Times-Picayune, December 21, 1944; Vertical file, Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collection, Special Collections, Louisiana State University-Baton Rouge; Alcée Fortier, ed., Louisiana, 3 vols. (1914), 3:647-648.
OGDEN, Frederick Nash, merchant. Born, Baton Rouge, January 25, 1837; son of Dr. Frederick Nash Ogden and Carmelite Lopez. Education: public schools in New Orleans. Clerk in the firm of Hewett, Norton, and Co., cotton factors. Civil War service: private and color sergeant, Company B, First Louisiana Special Battalion Infantry, April-December 1861; major, Eighth Louisiana Battalion Infantry, February 1862; battalion reorganized as heavy artillery in May 1862; captured and paroled at Vicksburg, Miss., July 4, 1863; major and lieutenant colonel, Ogden’s Louisiana Cavalry Battalion, June 1864; promoted to rank of colonel when battalion increased to a regiment, January 1865; paroled May 1865. Merchant in New Orleans after the war. Married Laura B. Jackson, 1863. President, Crescent City Democratic Club. Commanded White League in Battle of Liberty Place, September 14, 1874. A candidate for governor in 1879 and 1883. President, Red Cross of Louisiana and vice-president, Howard Association, during yellow fever epidemic of 1878. Chief superintendent, World’s Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition, 1884. Died, New Orleans, May 25, 1886. A.W.B. Sources: John S. Kendall, History of New Orleans, 3 vols. (1922); Alcée Fortier, Louisiana, 3 vols. (1914).
OGDEN, Henry W., planter, congressman. Born, Abingdon, Va., October 21, 1842; son of Elias and Louisa Gordon Ogden. Removed with parents to Warrensburg, Mo., in 1851. Education: public schools. Entered the Confederate Army and served throughout the Civil War; first lieutenant of Company D, Sixteenth Regiment, Missouri Infantry; discharged at Shreveport on June 8, 1865. Remained in Louisiana and engaged in agricultural pursuits. Member of the state constitutional convention in 1879; served in the state house of representatives, 1880-1888 and speaker of the house from 1884-1888. Elected as a Democrat to Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Newton C. Blanchard (q.v.). Served from May 12, 1894, to March 3, 1899. Resumed agricultural pursuits. Died, Benton, La., July 23, 1905; interred Cottage Grove Cemetery. J.B.C. Source: Biographical Directory of the American Congress, 1774-1971 (1971).
O’HARA, Malcolm V., jurist and politician. Born, New Orleans, La., July 21, 1922; son of William J. O’Hara, Sr., and Gertrude Richard. Married Betty D. O’Hara; children: Diane, Lisa, Dawn, and Malcolm, Jr. Attended Newman High School of New Orleans and Tulane University; LL. B. degree, Tulane University Law School, 1952. Following graduation from Tulane Law School, O’Hara served as a law clerk for one year. Joined the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s office, 1954; served as assistant district attorney and, later, first assistant district attorney of Orleans Parish, 1954-1958. Assistant city attorney, New Orleans, 1958-1960. State senator representing Orleans Parish, 1960-1962. Succeeded his father as judge of Section A, Criminal District Court, Orleans Parish, 1962. Criminal district judge, Orleans Parish, 1962-1972. While judge, took leaves of absence for two unsuccessful campaigns to unseat District Attorney Jim Garrison (q.v.). In 1968, the Supreme Court of Louisiana dismissed a suit by the state attorney general to remove O’Hara from office for malfeasance. The charge of malfeasance stemmed from O’Hara’s alleged gross violations of the Louisiana Code of Judicial Ethics and the Louisiana constitution resulting from his attempts to overturn the convictions of Teamster boss James R. Hoffa and New Orleans contractor Zachary Strate. The state supreme court ruled that O’Hara was indeed guilty of misconduct, but that his malfeasance was insufficiently severe to justify his removal. In 1969, O’Hara was slated to preside over the perjury trial brought by District Attorney Garrison against Clay Shaw two days after Shaw had been acquitted of plotting to assassinated President John F. Kennedy. Garrison maintained that Shaw lied during the trial regarding his relationships with Lee Harvey Oswald and David Ferrie. The perjury trial was blocked by federal courts. A judicial panel ruled in 1972 that O’Hara was no longer physically or emotionally capable of continuing his duties; given disability retirement. Moved to Mandeville, La., ca. 1992. Died, Metairie, La., September 9, 1996; interred, Metairie Cemetery. C.A.B. Sources: New Orleans Times-Picayune, September 10, 1996; Biographies of Louisiana Judges (1971), 141.
OHR, George E., ceramic artist. Born, Biloxi, Miss.; son of George Ohr, Sr., native of Alsace, and Johanna Weiderman, of Württemberg. Parents independently emigrated to New Orleans (ca. 1850) where they met. Senior Ohr established himself as a blacksmith in Biloxi, Miss., 1852. George Ohr, Jr., spent childhood against backdrop of Civil War in Biloxi, adolescence spent in and out of Reconstruction New Orleans, going to a German-speaking school and working at odd jobs. Contact in the city during those years was Joseph Meyer, (q.v.), who ran a small pottery works. Meyer offered Ohr a job as his assistant, 1878. Marked a turning point in Ohr’s life. Took to the potter’s wheel “like a duck to water,” as he said. After two years with Meyer, Ohr went off on a tour of major potteries in the U. S., came back, worked again in New Orleans at odd jobs for two years, saved money, and in 1883 opened own pottery in Biloxi. Started working part-time, between 1886 and 1896, again with Meyer, at the New Orleans Art Pottery. Joined Meyer, 1896, on staff of the Newcomb Pottery, Meyer full-time and Ohr part-time, for the latter continued to operate his pottery in Biloxi. After six years on the Newcomb ceramics staff, a period during which Newcomb achieved recognition as one of the chief centers of art pottery production in the U. S., Ohr was fired in a 1902 reorganization and relocation of the Newcomb College enterprise. Ohr never really recovered from this event. Back in Biloxi Ohr plunged into a heavy work schedule, now largely in isolation. Output prodigious. Exhibited frequently, achieving some recognition. Won medal for original ceramic art at the St. Louis Exposition of 1904. But no money followed. New cheap metal utensils were rapidly replacing the pottery jars, pitchers, bowls, water coolers, and chimney pots from which Ohr had made his living—his art pottery rarely sold as anything more than tourist trinkets. Family grew—eventually to eleven children. To make ends meet, Ohr and his older sons began repairing bicycles and automobiles, pushing aside pots to make room for their new work benches. A 1906 hurricane severely damaged building in which Ohr’s pottery was housed. To repair it, Ohr moved most of his now over 6,000 pieces of pottery to the attic and various out buildings, pulled down the larger of his two kilns to make room for an addition to the rear, put up a new sign, and reopened as an automobile repair and machine shop. From that point on, pottery making occupied less and less of his time, though he never gave it up completely. Believed that his great legacy was the store of thousands of pots. Without pottery as a focus, Ohr’s life in his latter years disintegrated. His eccentricities, always present, grew to exaggerated proportions, and he became a sort of town character, and sometimes a town embarrassment. Simultaneously, health gave way, fell into prolonged illnesses, and died April 7, 1918. Recognition of his artistic genius finally came. In 1972, fifty-four years after George Ohr’s death, James W. Carpenter, a dealer from New Jersey, came to Biloxi and bought the 6,000-piece trove of Ohr pieces, put them on the market, and the rest is history. During the past decade, George Ohr has been universally hailed as America’s greatest ceramic artist ever. J.J. Sources: Works by Robert W. Blasberg, Garth Clark, Dolores Davidson Smith, George Ferbres, and others; New Orleans and Biloxi baptismal and marriage records, obituaries, census reports, and land records; New Orleans and Biloxi newspapers; letters, and interviews.
O’KEEFE, Arthur Joseph, businessman, mayor of New Orleans. Born, New Orleans, November 8, 1876; son of Arthur O’Keefe and Sarah Hanley. Education: St. Alphonsus High School. Business: imports. President, Arthur J. O’Keefe Teas and Coffees, vice-president, American Bank and Trust Company, director, Lafayette Fire Insurance Company, Mutual Building and Loan Association. Married Mamie McDonald of New Orleans, November 14, 1901. Children: Arthur J., Jr. (b.1901), May (b.1903), John H. (b.1906), Donald (b.1907), Helen (b.1909), Lorraine (b.1911), Dorothy (b.1914). Active in Democratic party; commissioner of finance, New Orleans, 1925-1926; mayor, New Orleans, 1926-1930. Retired, February 13, 1930. Member: Catholic church; Choctaw Club of Louisiana. Died, New Orleans, November 14, 1943; interred Greenwood Cemetery. E.F.H. Sources: Edward F. Haas, “O’Keefe, Arthur Joseph,” in Melvin G. Holli and Peter d’A. Jones, Biographical Dictionary of American Mayors (1981); Works Progress Administration, “Administration of the Mayors of New Orleans, 1803-1936” (1940).
O’KEEFE, Arthur J., Jr., attorney, judge, state senator. Born, New Orleans, La., 1901; son of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur O’Keefe, Sr. Married Eleanora Gordon; children: Arthur J. O’Keefe III, former state senator Michael H. O’Keefe, Patrick Gordon O’Keefe, Eleanora O’Keefe Ibert. Educated at Alphonsus Grammar School; the Jesuit College on Baronne Street in New Orleans; and received a Master of Law degree from Loyola University, 1924. Career: editor of the Loyola Law Review for three years and served on its editorial board. In the 1920s he was a leader of the Old Regular Democratic Organization in the 10th Ward of New Orleans; he later served as the state coordinator of the Choctaw Club; and chairman of Louisiana’s Old Regulars. He worked as an assistant city attorney in New Orleans, assistant state attorney general, and partner in the New Orleans law firm of O’Keefe, Federoff, and Vorela. O’Keefe founded the Magazine Market Businessman’s Association and presided over it for many years. He also held the office of president and board chairman of Home Savings and Loan Association. Between 1948 and 1952 O’Keefe was the state senator from district six in New Orleans. In January, 1966 he was appointed judge of section A of the First City Court of New Orleans by Governor John J. McKeithen subsequently elected to the post in August, 1966; reelected; 1972, retired, December, 1980. Died, New Orleans, April 4, 1988; interred Greenwood Cemetery. N.D.F. Sources: New Orleans Times-Picayune, April 6, 1988; Who’s Who in the South and Southwest (1969-70) vol. 11:759.
“OLD CORN MEAL” (real name unknown), vocalist, street vendor. Mysterious New Orleans street vendor who is alleged to have been the first African-American to appear on the English stage in the United States. Appeared in “Life in New Orleans” on May 13, 1837, at the St. Charles Theater and in several preformances at the Camp Street Theater in the summer of 1840. Repertoire included his own vending song “Fresh Corn Meal,” as well as such popular tunes as: “My Long Tail Blue,” “Sich a Gettin Up Stairs,” “Nigger Jim Brown,” the “Star Spangled Banner,” and his most popular hit “Old Rosin the Bow.” Heavily influenced two of of the most prominent ninteeth-century black-face minstrels, George Nichols and Thomas “Daddy” Rice (q.v.). Died in New Orleans, May 20, 1842. J.D.W. Sources: Henry A. Kmen, “Old Corn Meal: A Forgotten Urban Negro Folksinger,” Journal of American Folklore, 75 (1962); Kmen, Music in New Orleans: The Formative Years 1791-1841, (1966); New Orleans Bee, May 23, 1842.
OLIVER, Joseph “King”, cornet player, band leader. Born either in Abend (Abent) or New Orleans, La., on either May 11 (preferred), or December 19, 1885, and raised in New Orleans mainly by his older sister, Victoria Davis. Most sources agree on the fact if not on the time or circumstances under which he permanently lost the sight in one eye. Drawn to music early he started on the trombone but soon switched to the cornet, playing with neighborhood bands as an adolescent. By around 1910 he was working regularly as both a musician and butler. Between 1907-1917 he played and occasionally toured with various “brass bands” including The Melrose, The Olympia, The Onward, The Magnolia, The Eagle, The Original Superior, and Allen’s. He played with Richard M. Jones’ Four Hot Hounds (ca. 1912) at the Abadie Cabaret in Storyville, briefly with Kid Ory (q.v.) at Pete Lala’s where Oliver also led his own band, rejoining Ory in 1917 at which time Ory billed him as “King” Oliver, recognizing his primacy among cornetists in New Orleans. Two jobs awaited him in Chicago when he arrived in 1918 or 1919; one at the Royal Gardens with Bill Johnson (who had asked him to come up), and another with Lawrence Duhé’s Band at the Dreamland Café. Oliver later became the leader of Duhé’s Band, touring from June 1921 to April 1922 when he returned to Chicago to lead his own Creole Jazz Band at Lincoln Gardens. In 1922 Oliver sent for Louis Armstrong (q.v.), whom he had sponsored in New Orleans. Armstrong was the greatest of many great jazz musicians who played, at least briefly, in a King Oliver band. In 1923 The Creole Jazz Band, with Armstrong as second cornetist, was the finest group of its day, becoming the first black jazz band to make a series of recordings (Kid Ory’s band had made the first jazz recordings by a black group). From 1924-1927 Oliver led and toured with the Dixie (or Savannah) Syncopators. After 1928 bad business judgment, severe dental problems, constant personnel changes, equipment and transportation breakdowns, and cancelled engagements sent Oliver’s fortunes spiraling downward. Despite setbacks he continued leading bands until 1937 when he retired to Savannah where he ran a fruit stand and worked as a poolroom attendant. Died April 8, 1938, of cerebral hemorrhage; interred Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, New York. D.W.M. Sources: Walter C. Allen and Brian Rust, King Joe Oliver (1958); Martin Williams, King Oliver (1960); Frederic Ramsey, Jr., “King Oliver and His Creole Jazz Band,” in Frederic Ramsey, Jr., and Charles E. Smith, eds., Jazzmen (1957); Leonard Feather, “Joseph ‘King’ Oliver,” in Encyclopedia of Jazz; Samuel B. Charter, Jazz: New Orleans, 1885-1963 (1963); Al Rose and Edmond Souchon, New Orleans Jazz, A Family Album (1984).
OLIVIER, André Antoine, historian, museum proprietor, raconteur, businessman. Born, St. Martinville, La., September 3, 1889; son of Pierre Duclozel Olivier and Corinne Bossier. Operated Evangeline Museum established in 1925 (first known as the New Army Store); perpetuated French and Acadian language, customs and folklore; helped organize the first pilgrimage of Louisiana’s descendants of Acadian exiles back to Nova Scotia in 1930; instrumental in successful efforts to erect the Evangeline statue on the church grounds and in renovation of the old Maison Duchamp for use as the city’s post office; unveiled the statue of the Attakapas Indian on the church grounds in 1961; served as secretary to the St. Martinville Chamber of Commerce for ten years; secretary to the Longfellow-Evangeline Memorial Park Commission (first state park in Louisiana). University of Southwestern Louisiana conferred on him the title of “Fellow of the Maison Française” for his contribution to the preservation of the French culture of this area. In 1950 the faculty of Boswell Institute of Chicago conferred on him the degree of “Doctor of Worldly Wisdom”. A local testimonial and civic reception was accorded him on October 12, 1958. Member: Sons of the American Revolution. Died, St. Martinville, January 2, 1980. D.S. Sources: “André Olivier and His Store,” Item Tribune, March 24, 1933; “A. Olivier’s Acadian Garden Mecca for Thousand Tourists,” Lafayette Daily Advertiser, March 16, 1938; “André Olivier Celebrates Silver Anniversary of Evangeline Shrine,” Teche News, October 6, 1950; “Public Invited to Honor André A. Olivier at Civic Reception Here Sun.,” Teche News, October 9, 1958; “Sam H. Jones Lauds Mr. André A. Olivier at Civic Reception October 12,” Teche News, October 23, 1958; “Guest Editorial,” by André Olivier, Teche News, August 17, 1961; “In St. Martinville, Olivier as Famed as Evangeline,” Lafayette Daily Advertiser, July 18, 1965; “André Olivier Observing Museum’s 45th Anniversary,” New Iberia Daily Iberian, May 25, 1970; “Noted Historian Buried in St. Martinville,” Teche News, January 9, 1980; “André A. Olivier,” Who’s Who in the South and Southwest, 9th ed.
OLIVIER, Antoine André (commonly known as André), amateur historian, tourism promoter. Born, St. Martinville, La., September 22, 1889; son of Pierre Duclozel Olivier, a dentist and local politician, and Corine (sometimes rendered Corinne) Bossier. Operated the Evangeline Enshrined Museum at the corner of East Bridge and Pinaud streets in St. Martinville from ca. 1923 until ca. 1975; as proprietor of the museum and as the self-styled “official historian of the land of Evangeline,” Olivier was interviewed by every major journalist and writer who visited the Bayou Teche area between 1930 and 1960. Through these interviews, which were usually quoted at length in such publications as National Geographic, Olivier was instrumental in shaping the world’s perception of Cajun culture. While serving as secretary of St. Martinville’s Chamber of Commerce, he persuaded Hollywood producer Edwin Carewe to film some of the 1929 silent movie Evangeline near Lake Catahoula. During a banquet held in honor of the cast, Olivier presented a touching rendition of the Evangeline story that moved actress Delores Del Rio to fund production of a bronze statue of Longfellow’s heroine that was unveiled on the grounds of St. Martin de Tours Catholic Church in 1931. (The statue bears Del Rio’s likeness.) Played an important role in United States Post Office’s acquisition and preservation of the Duchamp mansion in St. Martinville. Member: Sons of the American Revolution. Given a testimonial banquet by the Town of St. Martinville for having devoted “a lifetime to the preservation and perpetuation of the culture, traditions, customs and folklore of the Acadians,” October 12, 1958. Designated a fellow of the Maison Acadienne Française by Southwestern Louisiana Institute (present-day University of Southwestern Louisiana), 1958. Honorary degrees: received a doctorate of Worldly Wisdom from Loyola University of the South and an honorary sapunaie mandanae degree from the Boswell Institute. Died in a St. Martinville hospital after a lengthy illness, January 2, 1980; interred, St. Martinville Catholic Cemetery. C.A.B. Sources: Lafayette Daily Advertiser, January 2, 1931; January 3, 1980; St. Martinville Teche News, January 9, 1980; Esso Road News, (October, 1938): 3; New Orleans Item-Tribune, March 24, 1933; vertical file, Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collection; Donald J. Hébert, Southwest Louisiana Records, 20:303; Congressional Record, 105, no. 35 (1959): A1697-A1698.
OLIVIER, Jacques Joseph, businessman. Born, Lawtell, La., March 14, 1900; son of Joseph Noel Olivier and Cecile Arceneaux. Education: attended public schools, Opelousas, La., largely self-educated. Married, 1927, Elma Veillon of Ville Platte, La. Children: Jacqueline (Mrs. Drouet Vidrine), Robert John, Albert Lee, and Cecile (Mrs. William Daumueller). Began career, 1923, in automobile sales, Opelousas. Joined, 1934, brothers-in-law in partnership in Veillon Motor Co., Ville Platte, remaining in this business until 1963; retired, 1980. During 46 years of association with General Motors, received countless awards for management and sales. Served on Evangeline Parish Selective Sevice Board throughout World War II; promoted commercial planting of sweet potatoes in Evangeline Parish. Recognized supporter of local schools and libraries; encouraged young men to enter business careers; sheltered and assisted in settlement of Polish and Vietnamese refugees. Died, July 24, 1985; interred Ville Platte. J.O.V. Sources: Author’s research.
OLIVIER, Louise V. “Lou-Lou,” cultural activist and preservationist. Born, Frozard Plantation, St. Landry Parish, February 13, 1906; daughter of A. C. Olivier and Eloise Frozard. Education: attended Sacred Heart Academy, Grand Coteau, La.; Ursuline Convent, New Orleans; New Orleans Conservatory of Music; B. A., Southwestern Louisiana Institute (now the University of Southwestern Louisiana); M. A., Louisiana State University; received fellowships in the L.S.U. French Department, 1932, 1935, 1936, and 1937. Taught at Church Point, La., High School; Braithwaite, Mo., High School; and Villa Duchesne, Mo., High School before entering the L.S.U. graduate program. After graduate school, Olivier was employed as a field representative of the L.S.U. General Extension Division. While establishing a viable, albeit small-scale native crafts industry, Olivier also devoted considerable time and energy to promotion of French-language programs in predominantly Cajun public schools. Around 1940, Olivier began organizing Assemblées Françaises, popular musical programs, at public schools in twenty-four South Louisiana parishes as vehicles to promote preservation of Louisiana’s French dialects and traditional Cajun music. Her efforts resulted in the establishment or expansion of “foreign-language” programs in the French-speaking areas of South Louisiana. Her efforts to preserve the French language in Louisiana were recognized by the French government. As an outgrowth of her Assemblées Françaises programs, Olivier began organizing displays of traditional Cajun crafts; the first, held at Abbeville in December 1940, drew approximately 3,000 spectators. She organized other, equally successful crafts exhibitions in other South Louisiana communities over the next two years. In 1942, Extension Division Director Marion B. Smith, responding to complaints from G.I.’s about the lack of native crafts at Louisiana’s tourist attractions, named Olivier to establish the Acadian Handicrafts Project to fill this need. Tirelessly promoted Cajun handicrafts to gift shops near Army training camps; continued to promote handicrafts to the Louisiana tourism industry after the war. These efforts resulted in the establishment of a flourishing cottage industry that did much to help preserve South Louisiana’s formerly vanishing native crafts. Organized and directed Louisiana’s first native crafts festival, held in conjunction with the 1961 Abbeville Dairy Festival. Died at her home in Arnaudville, La., July 22, 1962; interred, Sacred Heart Catholic Church (now St. Charles Catholic Church) Cemetery, Grand Coteau. C.A.B. Sources: New Orleans Times-Picayune, March 23, 1941; Baton Rouge State-Times, July 23, 1962; vertical file, Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collection, Hill Memorial Library, Louisiana State University-Baton Rouge.
OLIVIER DE VEZIN, Pierre François, colonial official, engineer. Born, Nancy, France, 1716; son of Hugues Olivier de Vezin and Louise LeRoux de Dinjolincour. Removed to Three Rivers, Canada, 1738, where he established an iron foundry (Forge St. Maurice). In 1749 appointed inspector of highways and surveyor-general of Louisiana. Three years later petitioned for and received a seat on the Superior Council. Married, June 14, 1747, Marie Josephe Gatineau Duplessis. Children: Hugues Charles Honoré (b. 1748), Charlotte Constance (b. 1750), Pierre Louis Olivier Derneville (b. 1752), Françoise Victoria (b. 1753), Avineent Adélaïde (b. 1755), Nicolas Joseph Godfroi (b. 1757), Louise Judith (b. 1758). In 1769 Governor O’Reilly (q.v.) appointed him as alcalde mayor provincial of the newly created Spanish cabildo with responsibilities for hearing cases committed in the countryside. He renounced this position in favor of his eldest son Hugues Charles on April 30, 1774. By the close of the French period Pierre had achieved a good deal of prosperity owning a house in New Orleans with 14 slaves and a farm below the city used for grazing cattle. In 1771 he was the coauthor of a letter to the king outling the reasons for the decadence of trade in the colony. Died ca. 1775. B.C. Sources: Herman de Bachelle Seebold, Old Louisiana Plantation Homes and Family Trees, (1941), Acts of Juan Garic, Book 5, 1774, Orleans Parish Notarial Archives; Censuses of 1763, 1766 and 1770 in Voorhies, Some Late Eighteenth Century Louisianians (1973); Olivier’s letter to the king is in the De Reggio Family Papers, Department of Archives and Manuscripts, LSU.
OLMSTED, Frederick Law, writer, landscape architect. Born, Hartford, Conn., April 26, 1822; son of John Olmsted and Charlotte Law Hull. Studied engineering with Frederick A. Barton, travelled extensively in his youth always influenced by the scenery he observed. Took up farming at his uncle’s farm and attended scientific lectures at Yale. In 1850 began a series of travels and his written accounts of these gave him a literary reputation. In 1852, the editor of the New York Times asked him to travel through the slave states and record his unbiased impressions of slavery. Several books emerged from this assignment: A Journey in the Seaboard Slave States (1856), A Journey Through Texas (1857), and A Journey in the Back Country (1860). Condensed, the books were published together as The Cotton Kingdom (1961). He visited New Orleans and Louisiana during these travels; the books are noted as an accurate account of conditions in the South before the Civil War. He is best remembered for his pioneering work in the field of landscape architecture. Most noted designs: New York’s Central Park, U. S. Capitol grounds, Biltmore estate in North Carolina, 1893 Chicago World’s Fair grounds. Instrumental in the preservation of natural wonders such as Yosemite. His son, John Charles, drew the plans for Audubon Park, New Orleans. Married Mary Cleveland Perkins Olmsted, brother’s widow, June 13, 1859. Step-father to his brother’s three children; two children of his own who survived infancy. Died, Brookline, Mass., August 28, 1903. P.D.A. Sources: Dumas Malone, ed., Dictionary of American Biography (1934); L. Ronald Forman, et al., Audubon Park, An Urban Eden (1985).
O’NEAL, William, author, former slave. Born, December 6, 1827, to a slave named Laura and an unknown father, probably white, at Woodville, Miss. Laura with her infant was rented by a Cheneyville planter named William Scott. The slave boy was apprenticed to a cooper. Later, working nights and Sundays, he earned enough money which, with more borrowed from Scott, he purchased Ellen, his wife. He later sold his wife to a trusted white family and purchased himself in order that they could have his wages. Dictated his story to a ghost writer, Annie Mitchell Grace Burges, in 1896. The ghost writer was the daughter-in-law of Mary McCoy of Northup fame. The book, William O’Neal: The Slave Who Bought His Wife was published in 1896. O’Neal died December, 1907, at his home adjoining Edgefield Cemetery for which he gave the land and where he was interred. He had become a successful merchant and landowner. When he and his wife died, their property was willed to Ellen’s former white owners. S.E. Source: Author’s research.
O’NIELL, Charles Austin, attorney, jurist. Born, Franklin, La., September 7, 1869; son of John Aloysius O’Niell, native of Ireland, and Isabella Margaret Burnham. Education: schools of Franklin; Tulane, 1885-1888; Christian Brothers, Memphis, Tenn., 1890; studied law in the firm of Gov. Murphy J. Foster (q.v.); received his law degree, Tulane, 1893; practiced law, St. Mary Parish. Elected parish district judge, 1908; elected to Louisiana Supreme Court, November, 1912, coming to the bench in April, 1914. Politically, O’Niell was associated with the Anti-Lottery League, the anti-New Orleans machine reform faction in 1912, and the anti-trust movement consisting of sugar and planter interests opposed to the American Sugar Refining Co. As justice and chief justice, O’Niell served on the supreme court longer than any previous member in Louisiana history. A prolific writer of court opinions, he was widely respected for his witty and penetrating decisions. Ranked in the 1930s by John H. Wigmore, Northwestern University (Evanston), expert in jurisprudence, as twenty-third among 3,500 judges in the U. S. for writing quality. His admirers supported his nomination for the U. S. Supreme Court, an appointment reportedly considered by President Herbert Hoover. Among his opinions having significance in Louisiana were those upholding state regulation of utilities; protecting property owners’ rights to royalties from mineral claims of explorers; ruling on the separation of powers of the branches of state government to restrict conflicts of interest; liberalization of public agencies’ zoning rights, and rights of women. Though ruling within the framework of the state’s civil code, O’Niell’s decisions on zoning and limiting damages in alienation of affection suits were cited prominently and upheld by the U. S. Supreme Court. O’Niell presided at the impeachment of Gov. Huey Long (q.v.) in 1929. His identification as former ally of Gov. John M. Parker (q.v.) and other Long enemies and his rulings against conflicts of interest involving Long’s appointments led to an effort to shorten his term in 1935 and allow Long to appoint an interim successor. Such efforts ceased after Long’s assassination. In 1948, however, Governor Earl Long (q.v.) sponsored legislation which required O’Niell’s removal at a newly mandated retirement age of 80. Upon retirement, he received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Tulane. O’Niell married Bettie Singleton Gordy, March 24, 1894; Nine children: Erin, Kathleen Mavoureen, Betty, Adrienne, Charles A., Nora, James, Margaret, and Isabel. Died, New Orleans, March 9, 1951; interred Franklin Cemetery. M.J.S. Sources: Louisiana Law Review, I (1939); New Orleans Times-Picayune-States, April 2, 1939; Who Was Who; obituaries, New York Times, and Times-Picayune, March 10, 1951.
O’PRY, Maude Hearn (née Nettie Maude Hearn), author, historian, and professional writer. Born, Madison, Miss., September 22, 1873; daughter of David Russell Hearn and Martha Jane Mixon Hearn. Married Alvin O’Pry of New Orleans, in Hattiesburg, Miss. Children: Alvin Kouns (1906-1973); Hardie Dillon (1909-1952); Martha Lee Serio (1912-1986); Maude Hearn Williams (b. 1913). Education: public schools, private tutors, Masonic Institute of Bonham, Tex.; business courses. Edited school papers in Texas and Mississippi. Wrote Chronicles of Shreveport and Caddo Parish, the first history of Shreveport, La. Wrote magazine articles, historical ads and radio broadcasts. Member, Methodist church; United Daughters of the Confederacy; Women’s Department Club; Order of the Eastern Star; Motion Picture Censorship Bureau. As a U.D.C. historian in Mississippi, she collected oral history by personally contacting the Confederate veterans to get their stories about the war. Published them as 140 Reminiscences of the War Between the States. Died, Miami, Fla., September 10, 1964; interred Lakelawn Park Mausoleum, New Orleans. M.L.S.† Sources: O’Pry family papers and article written by Eugene Tilleux, Jr., published in Shreveport Journal, October 25, 1928.
O’REILLY, Alejandro, soldier, governor. Born, Dublin, Ireland, 1725, of upper class family. Migrated as youth to Spain. Educated in the Colegio de las Escuelas Pias de Zaragoza. Enrolled as cadet in the Regimiento de Hibernia. Fought in the Italian campaigns of Isabel Farnese. Further military experience in Austrian and French armies before commanding Spanish Army in the invasion of Portugal. Appointed Ayudante General de la Infantería and Mariscal de Campo. As inspector general, responsible for military reforms in Cuba and Puerto Rico, 1764-1765. Married Doña Rosa de Casas. An uprising of the French population of New Orleans against Spanish rule brought his return to America. On July 19, 1769, an army of over 2,000 men under his command landed in Louisiana to quell the revolt. As governor of the province instituted many worthwhile reforms: establishment of cabildo for New Orleans; reorganization of judicial and defense systems; and extension of trade. By decree of January 28, 1772, Charles III bestowed upon him the title of conde de O’Reilly y vizconde de Cavan with annual pension of 2,000 pesos. In 1775, commander of Spanish force for invasion of Algiers. Because of its defeat, was in disgrace until 1780 when appointed governor of Cadiz. Many public works due to his efforts. In 1789 resigned post. Involved in unsuccessful intrigue at the court. Retired to Valencia. Died, March 23, 1794; interred Cadiz. J.P.M.* Sources: David K. Bjork, “Alejandro O’Reilly and the Spanish Occupation of Louisiana, 1769-1770,” in New Spain and the Anglo-American West (1952); Vicente Rodriguez Casado, Primeros años de dominación española en la Luisiana (1942); Pablo Antón Sole, El Cadiz de Conde de O’Reilly (1967); Bibiano Torres Ramirez, Alejandro O’Reilly en las Indias (1969).
ORUE Y GORVEA, Vicente Joséf, administrator. Born, 1742. Entered royal service in Havana, July 1, 1764, when he was charged with establishing an office of the royal mails there. On July 19, 1774, promoted to treasurer of the royal rents (taxes) again in Havana. Successful fulfillment of this office led to promotion as contador de ejército y hacienda of Louisiana on September 19, 1784. After some delay in moving his wife and large family to New Orleans, he took possession of his new office, June 22, 1785. Following the retirement of Intendant Martín Navarro (q.v.) in 1788 he applied for Navarro’s vacant position, but was frustrated when it was combined with that of the governor under Esteban Miró (q.v.). Thereafter, he turned increasingly to his personal business affairs in Cuba, Haiti, and Louisiana, neglecting all affairs of his office. In 1791 Miró accused him of misconduct in office and lack of attention to duties. Other complaints were received from officials of the royal hospital and the auxiliary bishop. Despite heavy losses in the fires of 1788 and 1794 Orué amassed a large personal fortune and lived an extravagant lifestyle with fancy coaches, jewelry, and ostentatious clothing. Other royal officials described him as a haughty man manifesting a pomp and vanity almost extraordinary. Continuing complaints led to a formal investigation and his forced retirement to Cuba on half salary, on July 23, 1795. His pension was cancelled following an investigation for fraud against the royal treasury. On July 6, 1802, he was convicted and fined 200 pesos plus court costs. Thereafter he disappears from the historical record. B.C. Sources: Service record, Spain. Archivo General de Indias, Papeles procedentes de Cuba 565; complaints about his conduct, AGI, Santo Domingo 2553, 2557, and 2558; judicial investigation or residencia of his activities in AGI, PC 1659.
ORY, Edward “Kid”, jazz musician. Born, LaPlace, La., December 25, 1886. Educated in a plantation school. Began playing music at seven years of age; formed a spasm string band (all homemade instruments), called the Woodland Band which he brought to New Orleans in 1908; first instrument, homemade banjo and guitar, thereafter switched to trombone. Important influence in the formative period of jazz in New Orleans; early pioneer in the tailgate style of slide tombone; he led his own bands in the city for eleven years as a principal exponent of the “hot” sound; also became proficient on trumpet, clarinet, saxophone, drums, bass, piano, guitar, and banjo during his lifetime. Departed New Orleans for Los Angeles in 1919, where he spent several years; while there led the first black jazzband to record in 1922, the year he also moved to Chicago; made more than thirty phonograph records in his lifetime. Credited as composer of “Muskrat Ramble,” “Savoy Blues,” “Ory’s Creole Trombone,” and “Do What Ory Say.” Reached the pinnacle of international popularity during the Jazz Revival in the 1940s doing weekly radio broadcasts with Orson Wells; they were transcribed by Nesuhi Ertegun who later headed Atlantic Records. In that period Ory relocated in San Francisco where he bought an old jazz club, the Tin Angel, which he operated for years as his showplace under the name, On the Levee. Married Barbara Ga Nung. One daughter, Babetta. Died, January 23, 1973, Honolulu, Hawaii; interred Holy Cross Cemetery, Inglewood, Calif. C.D.J. Sources: Walter Bruyninckx, 60 Years of Recorded Jazz, 1917-1977, 14 vols ([1979?]); Leonard Feather, The Encyclopedia of Jazz, rev. ed. (1962); Roger D. Kinkle, The Complete Encyclopedia of Popular Music and Jazz, 1900-1950, 4 vols. (1974); Research Files in the William R. Hogan Jazz Archive, Tulane University, including transcripts of: Oral History Interview done by Neshui Ertegun for Life magazine, April 20, 1957; Oral History Interview done by William Russell with Manuel Manetta, August 26, 1958; Al Rose and Edmond Souchon, New Orleans Jazz, A Family Album, 3rd ed. (1984); Brian Rust, Jazz Records, 1897-1942, 5th ed., 2 vols. (1982); The Second Line, XXV (Summer, 1973).
OSBORNE, Ollie Tucker, businesswoman, community activist. Born, Ruston, La., November 11, 1911; daughter of Ollie Lee and Ruth Knowles Tucker. Married (1) Louis Philip Birk; (2) Robert S. Osborne; three children. Education: Whitworth Junior College, degree in 1930; attended Louisiana State University; B. A., New York University. Lived in New York City after first marriage. Worked for Public Information Staff of American Red Cross during World War II; involved in early days of television as production executive and advertisement specialist. Worked for McCann-Erickson, J. W. Thompson, and NBC-TV. President of publishing firm Birk and Company following death of her first husband, 1952-72. After returning to Louisiana, active in many women’s rights organizations; handled publicity for many years for local and state organizations of the League of Women Voters (L.W.V.); Evangeline E.R.A. Coalition, and E.R.A.-United. Participated in Women’s Political Caucus. On planning committees for several statewide women conferences and attended the United Nations National Year of the Woman Conference in Houston, Tex., 1977. One of the first women to run for parish police jury, 1975. Served as official observer/reporter for the L.W.V. to the 1973 state constitutional convention. Wrote series of newspaper articles which were widely published, especially in smaller Louisiana papers. President, Lafayette High School Parent-Teacher Association; public information chair, Lafayette Juvenile Young Adult Program. Served on Louisiana Commission on Registration and Voter Participation and Louisiana Bureau on the Status of Women. Charter member, Asbury United Methodist Church, Lafayette. Died, January 18, 1994; interred, Greenlawn Cemetery, Ruston, La. I.B.T. Sources: Ollie Tucker Osborne Papers, Southwestern Archives and Manuscripts Collection, Dupré Library, University of Southwestern Louisiana; Vertical File, Louisiana Room, Dupré Library, University of Southwestern Louisiana; Lafayette Daily Advertiser, January 19, 1994.
OSWALD, Lee Harvey, alleged assassin. Born, New Orleans, October 18, 1939; son of Robert Oswald and Marguerite Claverie. Education: schools of New Orleans and Covington, La., Fort Worth, Tex., and New York City (dropped out in 10th grade). Joined U. S. Marine Corps in 1956, served for three years. Defected to Soviet Union, October 16, 1959. Returned to the United States, March 1962. Married Marina Prushakhova in Minsk, USSR, 1960. Children: June Lee (b. 1962) and Rachel (b. 1963). Employed at Jaggers Chiles-Stovall, Fort Worth, 1962; Reilly Coffee Company, New Orleans, 1963; Texas School Book Depository, Dallas, 1963. Made mysterious trip to Mexico City, September 1963, where he allegedly contacted the Cuban embassy. On November 22, 1963, he was arrested in the Texas Theatre, Dallas, while watching a movie. He was charged with the murder of Dallas Police Officer J. D. Tippit, with the wounding of Texas governor John Connally, and with the assassination of President Kennedy. On November 24, 1963, he was shot to death in the basement of Dallas Police Headquarters by Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby. In 1964, the President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy (Warren Commission) found him solely responsible for the Tippit, Connally, and Kennedy shootings. In 1979, the Select Committee on Assassinations of the U. S. House of Representatives concluded that Oswald did indeed shoot the three men, but that he was part of a larger conspiracy. Oswald’s exact role in the assassination has never been determined, and it is still not certain whether he actually participated in it or whether he was used as a scapegoat. M.L.K. Sources: Michael L. Kurtz, Crime of the Century; Michael L. Kurtz, “Lee Harvey Oswald in New Orleans: A Reappraisal,” Louisiana History, XXI (1980); Louisiana History (1980); Priscilla Johnson McMillan, Marina and Lee (1977); Report of the President’s Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy [Warren Report] (1964); House Select Committee on Assassinations, Report.
OTERI, Salvatore, businessman. Born, Palermo, Sicily, July 9, 1829; son of Santo Oteri. Immigrated with parents to Mobile, Ala., 1851. Education: schools of Mobile and New Orleans. Served in Confederate Army. Married Grace Valenzano, March, 1868. One son, Santo. Entered wholesale fruit business, New Orleans; purchased line of schooners to transport fruit and other commodities from Central American ports. Conceived idea of using steam vessels for fruit transportation; purchased E. B. Ward in 1877 for this purpose, the pioneer steamer in the fruit importing business; purchased fruit plantations in Central America; largest fruit importer in U. S. when sold shipping line and plantations to United Fruit Co. in 1899. Remained in fruit importing business with son in firm of S. Oteri and Co. Died, February 11, 1902; interred Metairie Cemetery. G.R.C. Sources: Alcée Fortier, Louisiana, 3 vols. (1909); New Orleans Daily Picayune, February 12, 1902.
OTERO, Bernardo de, administrator. Born, Porto Novo, Galicia, Spain, ca. 1735; son of Francisco Anton de Otero and Gaspara de la Rua. Paymaster Spanish navy, 1757-1774. Member, expedition to the Falkland Islands, 1773. Accountant on ship en route to Havana, 1774. Arrived in New Orleans, May 1775, with wife and two daughters, nephew and four servants. Treasurer, oficial real, 1775-1780. Contador (comptroller) for the army and the treasury, 1780-1784; acting intendant, 1784. Married Antonia Rosa in Galicia. Two daughters: Inés and Gertrudis, both born in Galicia. Died, New Orleans, May 1, 1784, leaving Martín Navarro (q.v.) as executor of his estate. B.C. Sources: Spain. Archivo General de Indias, Audencia de Santo Domingo, legajo 2539, and legajo 2586, No. 1091; Last will and testament, April 30, 1784, in Acts of Rafael Perdomo, Book 3, 1784, Orleans Parish Notarial Archives.
OTT, Mel(vin) Thomas, athlete, sportscaster. Born, Gretna, La., March 2, 1909; son of Charles Lawrence Ott and Caroline Miller. Education: local schools. Career: New York Giants baseball player, 1926-1947; manager, New York Giants, 1942-1948; managed the Oakland Pacific Coast League team, 1951-1952; became an official (vice president) of the Milan Engineering Co. in New Orleans, 1953; began broadcasting for the Detroit Tigers baseball club, 1955. Achievements: hit 511 home runs; played on eleven all-star teams; led the National League in homers in 1936, 1938, and 1942; named to the Baseball Hall of Fame, 1951. Married, 1930, Mildred Mattigny of New Orleans. Children: Margaret Carolyn Ott (Mrs. Phillip Loria) and Barbara Ann Ott. Died, New Orleans, November 21, 1958; interred Metairie Cemetery. M.L.K. Sources: Current Biography (July, 1941); Maxine Block, ed., Louisiana Spotlight (1958); New Orleans States-Item, obituary, November 22, 1958; New Orleans Times-Picayune, obituary, November 22, 1958.
OTT, Stanley Joseph, Roman Catholic clergyman. Born Gretna, La., June 29, 1927; the youngest of three children born to Manuel Ott and Lucille Berthelot. As a child he served as an altar boy. Education: attended St. Joseph Elementary School, Gretna; graduated from St. Aloysius High School, New Orleans; decided to enter the seminary while on senior retreat at Manresa, La.; accepted into St. Joseph Seminary College, St. Benedict, La., the same day he received his high school diploma; subsequently attended Notre Dame Seminary College, New OrIeans; later transferred to the North American College, Rome, Italy, to complete studies for the priesthood. Following his ordination in Rome, Ott studied at the Pontifical Gregorian University, where he received a doctorate in Sacred Theology in 1954. His first assignment in the United States was as pastor at St. Francis Xavier Cabrini Parish in New Orleans, where he served until 1957, when he transferred to Baton Rouge as assistant chaplain at the Louisiana State University Catholic Student Center. In 1961 he became assistant pastor of St. Joseph’s Cathedral Parish in Baton Rouge. While there, he also served as judicial vicar of the Baton Rouge Tribunal. In 1966, he was appointed chancellor of the Diocese of Baton Rouge. He was elevated to the rank of monsignor in 1967, and he became rector of St. Joseph’s Cathedral in 1968. During his years in the Baton Rouge diocese he served in a variety of church and civic activities, including the Diocesan Commission on Liturgy, Art, and Music; Commission for Ecumenical Affairs; and as a member of the Civic Center Commission, which oversaw the building of the Baton Rouge Centroplex. Served as spiritual advisor to Catholic Social Services and spiritual advisor for students at the Cathedral Prep School. In May 1976, he was named auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of New Orleans by Pope Paul Vl. In this position he served as an advisor to the Ecumenical and Inter-religious Affairs Committee of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and on the United States Bishops’ Committee for the North American College in Rome. In 1982 he served as chairman of the Louisiana Inter-church Conference’s Faith and Order Task Force. He was installed as the third bishop of the Diocese of Baton Rouge on March 25, 1983. During his nearly ten years as bishop of Baton Rouge, he became well known for his spirit of ecumenism and continued dedication to community affairs. In 1984 he was the recipient of the Brotherhood Award, presented by the National Conference on Christians and Jews for distinguished service in human relations. He served on the board of directors of the Capital Area United Way and on the board of directors of the Louisiana Capital area chapter of the American Red Cross. He also served on the executive board of the Istrouma Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America; on the advisory board of the Louisiana Center for the Blind; and on the board of advisors for the Boys’ Club of Baton Rouge. In 1991, he was given honorary doctorate degrees of Humane Letters from Southern University and Louisiana State University. Several weeks before his death, Bishop Ott was given the Golden Deeds Award, Baton Rouge’s premier civic honor. His contributions were recognized by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, from which he received numerous committee appointments. In addition, Ott served as administrative board member to the United States Catholic Conference as well as on its communications committee. He also served as national episcopal advisor to the National Association of Catholic Chaplains; as a member of the Board of Bishops for the American College of Louvain, Belgium; and as the episcopal liaison to the National Council of Catholic Women. Bishop Ott served as state chaplain for the Louisiana Knights of Columbus Council, as state chaplain for the Louisiana Catholic Daughters of the Americas and as grand prior of the southeastern lieutenancy of the Equestrian Order of the Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre. An avid reader, he also wrote a column for the biweekly Catholic Commentator. Died, Baton Rouge, November 28, 1992; interred at St. Joseph’s Cathedral, Baton Rouge. U.F.D. Source: Laura Duhe, assistant editor, The Catholic Commentator.
OUTRELEAU, Etienne d’, missionary. Born October 11, 1693. Came to Louisiana, 1727, with the Ursuline nuns. Assigned by Beaubois (q.v.) to the Ouabache (Wabash) in order “to block the intrusion of the English”. Remained in the Mississippi Valley twenty years. In 1728, probably at Vincennes. Later chaplain of the hospital in New Orleans. Returned to France, 1747. M.A. Source: Author’s research.
OVERDYKE, William Darrel, academic, author. Born, Cherokee, Kan., August 7, 1907; son of J. J. Overdyke and Elizabeth Runicles. Education: local public schools; Centenary College of Louisiana (cum laude), B.A., 1928; Louisiana State University, M.A., 1930; Duke, Ph. D., 1941. Appointed to the faculty of Centenary College, 1934; taught history, government, Southern history, and research; named emeritus professor of Southern History, 1972. Married Martha Walker, January 8, 1932. Member: Presbyterian church; Phi Kappa Delta; Phi Kappa Mu; Pi Sigma Mu; Phi Alpha Theta; Alpha Chi; Organization of American Historians; American Historical Association; Louisiana Historical Association; American Academy of Political and Social Sciences. Founding member: Louisiana Academy of Sciences; North Louisiana Historical Association; and the Southern Historical Association. Author: The Know-Nothing Party in the South; Louisiana Plantation Homes: Colonial and Ante-Bellum, “History of the American Party in Louisiana,” Louisiana Historical Quarterly, (1932-1933); “A Southern Family of the Missouri Frontier,” Journal of Southern History (1951). Died Shreveport, June 21, 1973. C.G. Sources: Archives of Centenary College: Records of the President. Personnel Files Series; Records of the News Bureau; Library Clippings File. Second Line, XXV (Summer, 1973).
OVERTON, John Holmes, attorney, congressman, U. S. Senator. Born, Marksville, La., September 17, 1875; son of Judge Thomas and Laura (Waddill) Overton. Education: public schools; Louisiana State University, graduated 1895; Tulane University, Law Department, graduated 1897. Admitted to the bar in 1898, began practice of law in Alexandria. His law partners were John Blackman, 1904-1923, John R. Hunter, 1923-1931, and Burton T. Dawkins and John H. McSween, 1931-1948. Married, December 12, 1905, Ada Ruth Dismukes of Natchitoches, La., daughter of Marcus L. Dismukes and Katherine Clara Abernethie Wellborn Jack Dismukes. Children: Katharine ([sic] b. 1910), Ruth (b. 1912), John Holmes, Jr. (1914), Mary Elizabeth (1916). Uncle of Representative Overton Brooks (q.v.). Active in Democratic party politics. Served as city attorney for Alexandria beginning in 1904; on the board of supervisors for L.S.U. Unsuccessful candidate for the U. S. Senate, 1918, in an election fraught with irregularities. A supporter of Huey Long (q.v.), he served as Long’s counsel in the latter’s impeachment proceedings. Elected to the House of Representatives to fill the vacancy caused by the death of James B. Aswell (q.v.), serving from May 12, 1931, to March 3, 1933. Defeated incumbent Edwin S. Broussard (q.v.) for the nomination for U. S. Senator in September, 1932, with Long’s extensive support. Broussard charged fraud and irregularities and a Senate Investigating Committee held two weeks of hearings in February, 1933. He was nevertheless seated without opposition, March 4, 1933, re-elected in 1938 and 1944. Served on Senate committees on appropriations, commerce, irrigation and reclamation, and manufacturers and was primarily interested in agricultural and flood-control legislation. Noted throughtout his career as an outstanding orator. Member: Episcopal church, Masons, Elks, Society of the Cincinnati. Died, Bethesda, Md., May 14, 1948; interred Mount Olivet Cemetery, Pineville, La. T.H. Sources: Alcée Fortier, Louisiana (1909) Alexandria Daily Town Talk, May 15, 1948; T. Harry Williams, Huey Long (1969) Edward O. Cailleteau to the author, February 20, 1983; New Orleans Times-Picayune, February 26, 1933; November 5, 1944.
OVERTON, Walter Hampden, planter, soldier, congressman. Born near Louisa Court House, Va., 1788; son of General Thomas and Sarah Carr (Woodson) Overton. Removed in infancy with his father to North Carolina and to Tennessee in 1804. Education: public schools. Entered the U. S. Army, May 3, 1808, as first lieutenant in the Seventh Infantry; promoted to the rank of captain, December 3, 1810, to major in the Third Rifles, February 21, 1814, and brevetted lieutenant colonel, December 23, 1814 “for gallant conduct at the Battle of New Orleans” during his command of Forts Jackson and St. Phillip on the Mississippi below New Orleans. Transferred to the Artillery Corps, May 17, 1815, but resigned on October 31, 1815, and was commissioned major general of militia by the Louisiana legislature. Settled near Alexandria, La., at his residence, Cropland, and became a planter. Married Harriet F. Winter of Rapides Parish, La., daughter of William Winter and Harriet Fenwick. Children: Emma Maria and Laura Harriet (latter b. 1822). Engaged in local politics; member, Courthouse Building Commission, 1820-1821; member, Commission on Navigation of Bayou Rapides, 1824. Elected to House of Representatives as a Democrat “for the express purpose of voting to sustain [President Andrew] Jackson’s veto of the Second Bank of the United States,” but never gave a speech and was not a candidate for renomination. He returned to his plantation and died near Alexandria, December 24, 1845; interred McNutt Hill Cemetery. T.H. Sources: Edward O. Cailleteau to the author, February 20, 1983; Alcée Fortier, Louisiana (1909); George P. Whittington, Rapides Parish: A History (1932; reprint ed., 1970); Red River Republican, December 27, 1845; Henry Morton Woodson, Historical Genealogy of the Woodsons and Their Connections.
OVERTON, Winston, lawyer, state supreme court justice. Born, Marksville, La., October 4, 1870; son of Thomas Overton and Laura E. Waddill. Educated at Louisiana State University, 1890. Admitted to the Louisiana bar, October 18, 1892. Served as city attorney of Lake Charles, La., 1899-1907; state district judge for the Lake Charles area, December, 1908-1921; state supreme court justice, July 5, 1921-September 9, 1934. Overton was a delegate to the state constitutional convention of 1921, serving as the chairman of the judiciary committee. Died, September 9, 1934. J.D.W. Sources: Henry Plauché Dart and William Maden Deacon, Reference Biography of Louisiana Bench and Bar, 1922 (1922); The Sesquicentennial of the Supreme Court of Louisiana, 1813-1963 (1963).
OWEN, Allison, architect, soldier, civic and religious leader. Born, New Orleans, December 29, 1869, son of Gen. William Miller Owen (q.v.) and Caroline Amanda Zacharie. Education: St. Simeon’s Select School; Jackson School; Tulane University, 1885-1888, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1892-1894, and U. S. War College, Washington, D. C., 1924. Married Blanche Pothier, September 16, 1896. Children: William Miller, Cecile Violet, Allison, Louis Benjamin. Began architectural practice in New Orleans with C. C. Diboll, 1895. Major works include: New Orleans Public Library, Notre Dame Seminary, Pythian Temple Office Building in New Orleans, New Orleans Criminal Court and Jail Building, and St. Landry Church, Opelousas. Fellow and president of Louisiana chapter, American Institute of Architecture; president, Louisiana Architectural Association. Lecturer at Tulane University, 1888-1892, 1921-1923. Commanded First Louisiana Field Artillery (Washington Artillery) on Mexican border, 1916, and 141st Field Artillery in France, 1918-1919; retired as major general. Civic leader: president, Community Chest of New Orleans; organizer, 1909, and president, 1916-1917, 1933-1951, New Orleans Parkways Commission; chairman, New Orleans City Planning and Zoning Commission; president, 1927 and 1932, New Orleans Association of Commerce; president, New Orleans Chapter, American Red Cross; president, Louisiana Historical Association; president, Judah P. Benjamin Memorial Association. Catholic lay leader: president, Associated Catholic Charities; president, New Orleans Metropolitan Council of St. Vincent de Paul Societies; grand knight, Marquette Council, Knights of Columbus. Honors: Times-Picayune Loving Cup, 1928, Knight of St. Gregory, 1943, and chevalier, Legion of Honor. Died, New Orleans, January 30, 1951; interred Metairie Cemetery. C.E.N. Sources: Who’s Who in America, vol. 26 (1950-1951); New Orleans Times-Picayune, January 31, 1951.
OWEN, William Miller, Confederate officer. Born, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1840; son of Allison Owen, a prominent merchant, and _____ Miller of Rapides Parish, La. Education: Cincinnati schools, Gambier (Ohio) Military Academy. Removed to New Orleans at age 18, and entered the cotton business. Civil War service: lieutenant at First Manassas; with Army of Northern Virginia, including the Seven Days’ Battles before Richmond, Second Manassas, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg; promoted to rank of major of artillery. Chief of staff with General Preston at Battle of Chickamauga. In spring of 1864 rejoined the Washington Artillery at Petersburg. At Battle of Drewry’s Bluff put in command of reserve artillery by General Beauregard (q.v.). Was wounded in the face by a minieball; promoted to rank of lieutenant-colonel. After the war was active in the reorganization of the Washington Artillery and was colonel commanding under Governors Wiltz and McEnery (q.v.). His well-known literary work is entitled: In Camp and Battle with the Washington Artillery. Married Caroline Zacharie, daughter of James W. Zacharie, a New Orleans merchant. Two sons survived their father, one of whom was Allison (q.v.). Last years devoted to collection of Confederate war relics and records which formed the basis of the collection at Memorial Hall. Died, New Orleans, January 10, 1893. TAG, LA Sources: Military records, Jackson Barracks, Library, compiled by Mary B. Oalmann, Military Historian.
OWENS, John Edmond, actor, theatre manager. Born, either London or Liverpool, 1823. Emigrated to United States at age 5; raised in Philadelphia. Made professional acting debut there at age 17, later became famous as comic character actor throughout the U. S., Canada, and in London in such roles as the title part in Solon Shingle and Caleb Plummer in Dot. Inspired his slightly younger, but ultimately even more famous contemporary, Joseph Jefferson III (q.v.) to assume roles of a similar type. Managed Baltimore Museum (a theatre), 1849-1853, and the Charles Street Theatre, Baltimore, 1854-1856, where he presented the first production of Uncle Tom’s Cabin ever produced below the Mason-Dixon line. Appeared frequently in New Orleans beginning in 1846. In 1858, became the manager of the Varieties Theatre there until the Civil War. After extensive touring, he returned to New Orleans and the management of the Varieties in 1874. Returned to New Orleans for the last time to act in Esmerelda in 1882. Died, New York, December 7, 1886. L.I.W. Sources: Phyllis Hartnoll, The Oxford Companion to the Theatre, 3rd ed.; John S. Kendall, The Golden Age of the New Orleans Theatre (1952).