NEW ORLEANS PUBLIC SERVICE INC. COLLECTION
Earl K. Long Library
Size: 2 linear feet
Inclusive dates: n.d., 1837-ca. 1970s
Summary: Photographs of New Orleans Public Service transportation facilities (bus
trolleys, streetcars, buses), personnel, and related subjects. Chiefly relating to the company's
collections New Orleans Public Service Inc. Collection, Addendum 1 (Mss 199)
Source: Gift and Deposit, July 1984
Access: No restrictions
rights are retained by the Earl K. Long Library,
Citation: New Orleans Public Service Inc. Collection, Earl
K. Long Library,
origin of NOPSI can be traced back some 170 years ago to the 1820s, when an
actor/entrepreneur named James Caldwell opened his American Theatre on
than fifty years after gas lighting was introduced to the city, the era of
electricity began. The Southwestern
Brush Electric Light and Power Company was incorporated in
Edison Electric Illuminating Company was the first electric company in
decades that ushered in present-day NOPSI were chaotic. By 1900, more than 200 different gas,
electric, and streetcar companies had operated in
By early 1921 a federal receiver appointed the city's professional and business leaders as the "Citizen's Committee of Forty" to study the situation and suggest a solution. They recommended the formation of a single utility to provide electricity, gas, and transit.
April 1922, the New Orleans City Government passed the Settlement Ordinance
under which a new company could be created from the receivership. The ordinance set up controls to bring the
new company and the city into a partnership. Later in the year the entity was
born as New Orleans Public Service Inc.
first the new company was not really a single entity. Technically, six corporations with the name
“New Orleans Public Service Company Inc." succeeded each other in just
five years as the charter was redrawn to encompass the latest consolidations
and acquisitions of former companies.
The present NOPSI was chartered
The creation of NOPSI finally ended a series of buyouts, bankruptcies, and consolidations since 1835 that involved no fewer than six gas companies, thirty transit and street railway systems, and 18 electric or consolidated electric, gas, and street railway companies.
founding of NOPSI coincided with a leap in the consumption of electricity. In 1921, the year before the first NOPSI was
founded, there were 43,000 electric meters in all of
the city's demand for electricity grew at an enormous rate from NOPSI's
founding onward, the city's entire generating capacity continued to be housed
in the same
The 1970s were characterized by the energy crunch caused by the Arab oil embargo. With the trend away from natural gas and oil toward what was thought at the time to be more economical coal and nuclear fuels, the company committed itself to participation in the Grand Gulf Nuclear Plant along with MSU's other utility subsidiaries. With the growth in demand for electricity disappearing as the plant was being constructed, the need for it was continually questioned. This was one of the major issues of the 1980s and resulted in the New Orleans City Council in 1983 appointing a Citizens Task Force to look into the feasibility of the city municipalizing or taking over electric and gas operations in Orleans Parish. Ultimately NOPSI remained in private hands (except for the purchase of its transit operations in 1983 by the Regional Transit Authority), but in 1985 voters in Orleans Parish chose to return regulation to the New Orleans City Council from the LPSC.
Source: “New Orleans Public Service Inc.
(NOPSI) Company Profile,” http://dnr.louisiana.gov/sec/execdiv/techasmt/electricity/electric_vol1_1994/003e.htm.
Maintenance operations. n.d., 1929, 1945 - 1949, 1954, 1957, 1959, 1967. (See also Identified Personnel.)
169-31 Bus, bus trolleys, garage and work crews. 36 prints.
169-57 Streetcars, garages and work crews. 28 prints.
169-102 Machine shop and machinery. 48 prints.
169-107 Miscellany. n.d., 1914, 1931, 1950. Includes a scene of Mardi Gras, gathering of
people in streetcar barn on
Personnel. n.d., 1924, 1947, 1956, 1958.
169-131 Awards and social functions. 24 prints.
169-151 Employee training. 22 prints.
169-192 Identified personnel. 44 prints.
169-204 Posed groups. 12 prints.
169-219 Transit routes and bus stops. n.d., 1941, 1945, 1948, 1952, 1957. 15 prints.
Transit vehicles. n.d., ca. 1837-ca. 1970s.
Buses, exterior views
169-229 n.d., 1937, 10 prints.
169-279 ca. 1940s. 54 prints.
169-295 ca. 1950s. 17 prints.
169-301 ca. 1960s. 7 prints.
Buses, interior views
169-317 n.d., 18 prints.
169-335 n.d., 1954, ca. 1970s. 19 prints.
169-363 Bus trolley, n.d. 30 prints.
169-383 Streetcars, exterior views. n.d., 1837, 1897, 1938, 1943, 1946, 1957, 1964. 22 prints.
169-389 Streetcars, interior views. n.d., 1939, 1946. 6 prints.
New Orleans Public Service Inc.