Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Weather ball signals winds of recovery

Work has begun on converting the old Falstaff Brewery into 149 apartments -- bringing an eye sore into a key landmark at a high visibility intersection for the New Orleans recovery effort.

The statue above (King Gambrinus, a 12th century Flemish nobleman who legend has it brewed the first beer) sits atop the 204,000-square-foot former brewery. More famous is the 125-foot sign below with 10 foot high letters that would light up. The ball at the top would change colors to predict the weather.

The ball turned green to signal fair weather, red to tell of cloudy skies and a flashing red light was warning of rain. If the letters of the Falstaff name were lit from the bottom up, the temperature was rising. When they were lit from top to bottom, the temperature was falling. Flashing lights on the letters meant a constant temperature.

Close up:
The brewery operated from 1936 to 1978.

Here's a great collection of old photos of the closed-down brewery.

Maybe just one more legend. Hank Williams chauver, Charles Carr, reported the country crooner was drinking Falstaff on the night of his death.

You remember, of course, Jerry Jeff Walker's line in "Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother" -- 'He sure did like his Falstaff beer. He liked to chase it down with Wild Turkey liquor.'

--steve buser

9 comments:

Annie said...

What a landmark! How is it that I never saw it when I traveled to New Orleans? I guess I haven't been a very diligent tourist. I owe you a debt today for introducing me to this sight.

NorthBayPhoto said...

Super photo! Great information. Hopefully they will keep pole and start to reuse it to inform the citizens of the weather (plus the tourists would probably get a kick out of it too!)

Thanks for visiting my NorthBayPhoto blog. Hope your granddaughter, Sophie, is feeling better.

Wanda said...

WoW! You have posted a lot of pictures since I've been gone. It will take me a while to catch up. Love all the photo and especially the footprint in the sand.
I loved your comment on my blog about the aMAZEing Maze. Cute.

photowannabe said...

Fascinating landmark. I had forgotten about the weather predictor. Thanks for your information and great pictures about this.

Moi said...

wow!!!! that's a lot of thinking going in there to revitalize it .....

Roadrider said...

I'm sure it's no coincidence that King Falstaff is oriented so that he is toasting the nearby Dixie Brewery on Tulane Avenue. You can see it in this photo.

Chris said...

Very interesting, Steve!

Isn't it amazing what developers are doing with old factories and such? Like the ones renovating Falstaff, developers here have taken an old manufacturing facility and turned it into loft-condos. Just amazing!

• Eliane • said...

I love this old sign and the story that goes with it. I do hope they keep it!! The Falstaff is a very famous brasserie in Brussels, an institution.

julia said...

Vying for attention on the skyline in a grand fashion.A nice asset Boutique Brewries have been emerging. Our somewhat curious old brewery became a city museum which is now moving out into an ex-railway workshop (of note) and the old brewery will have a new use - I hope.