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TulaneLSU
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TulaneLSU's Top 10 signs of Clearview Parkway of Metairie
Dear Friends,

New Orleans knows loss more than any other American city. Every generation from its founding to present has at least one great tragedy to share. Loss from disease epidemic, violence epidemic, hurricane, and flood fill that pages of New Orleans history. Within this broader landscape of loss have been even more micro losses.

One such loss was the Metairie Muffler Man. His reign over Clearview Parkway lasted for 38 good years before the mob, in the form of the winds from Hurricane Isaac in 2012, violently decapitated him. Rather than usher in a renaissance of signage and public art, this coup led to a vacuum of noteworthy public landmarks along Clearview Parkway that still has not been filled.

I always thought the Muffler Man looked a little like the sign language interpreter for all the Governor’s press conferences. He’s been the guy making signs for decades on TV now. I remember him from my brief stint at LSU as the sign guy at University Presbyterian Church, a modest church that obviously was ahead of its time in the sign language game. Or maybe he looked a little like Bald Bull from Mike Tyson’s Punchout.

Image: https://s3.amazonaws.com/gs-waymarking-images/6d584a40-470d-43af-b865-659114fc1d83_l.JPG
(not my photo)

Anyway, I can recall after the terrorist attacks in 2001 that the Muffler Man got a patriotic makeover, with blue pants, red shirt, and a gold crown. His skin was as white as vanilla icing. He survived Katrina only to fall victim to the wave of Saints fanaticism that captured the city after the storm. They repainted him, this time with gold pants and a black top. His skin remained snow white.

Muffler Men have felt the pains of life in New Orleans. A similar muffler man long stood sentinel over the Muffler Clinic in Terrytown. But then local assassins in the 1990s said, “Off with his head” and followed through with it. One wonders if anyone in the Take ‘Em Down NOLA group of iconoclasts got his start here. The risk of being a statue in these parts is quite high. Eventually his head was recovered and sewn to his neck -- clearly the weak link in Steve Dashew’s engineering of these 1963 fiberglass creations.

I wish I had many stories about Clearview Parkway, but I do not. Getting to and driving on Clearview always required a car, and Mother and Uncle rarely wanted to go to that part of Metairie. When the Krispy Kreme opened just before Christmas of 2000, I do remember making a trip there after shopping at Lakeside with Mother. The line stretched nearly to Airline and they had friendly employees handing out warm glazed samples as we waited. It was my first Krispy Kreme, and I am glad there is not one within walking distance, lest my BMI compare to that of the average Louisiana male.

Vague recollections of a rundown 1960s era stripmall where that Krispy Kreme sits cloud my mind. I cannot recall why we would have been there in the early 1990s. Perhaps we took the River route to Clearview for one of my cousin’s ballet classes. I believe that school was where the Reginelli’s is or maybe it was where the first That’s Amore’ Pizza was in that corner strip by West Esplanade across from World Deli.

Anyway, that other strip at the southeast corner of West Metairie and Clearview where Krispy Kreme sits today had a scary white van with a wobbly, white cart beside it. It was hand painted with red letters on its face. Inside the van must have been a generator, or perhaps they ran an extension cord from the convenience store, which I am told was Dan's Grocery, because there was a single incandescent bulb hooked to the van’s overhanging contraption providing the faintest of warm lights for those who needed an early morning or late night snack. In that cart were the creations of Manuel Hernandez, founder of Manuel’s Hot Tamales. By this time, his son-in-law, William Schneider, was running the business and apparently he had satellite carts throughout the Metro. The first cart had its start on the corner of Canal and Carrollton in 1933. And by the late 1950s his cart business had become so successful, Manuel opened Manuel’s Hot Tamale and Chili House at 952 Jefferson Highway. You may know that spot in the sharp curve in the road right before Ochsner, next to a Freemason’s meeting house. When Manuel’s restaurant was there, that area was filled with Italian mob-run businesses and casinos.

We never stopped to try a tamale at the West Metairie-Clearview intersection, one of the great regrets of my life. You see, Mother never let me go to any convenience store as a child except Time Saver, and the Time Saver was on the north side of West Metairie. The exception was made because Mother enjoyed Time Saver’s signage, commercials, and the Halloween gift slips for a free Icee. Mother always chose to dispense those coupons, along with Gideon Bibles, on October 31. The next day, of course, we made our way, like bad Protestants, to the cemeteries where our family is buried, including one Catholic at St. Vincent DePaul's Cemetery.

As most of you know, the origins for Clearview Parkway are 1926 when parish and state officials saw the need to connect Bridgedale, between West Napoleon and West Metairie, to Airline Highway. It, along with the budgeting for Transcontinental just west, was a relatively small project. The year before Clearview’s construction started, work on what would become the Huey P Long Bridge, that beastly creature, began.

It was Transcontinental, not Clearview, that was to connect with the Huey P. This fact is made clear by looking at the two streets names. Why would you name a narrow four lane street that runs through neighborhood after neighborhood Transcontinental? That was the road which was supposed to connect Metairie to the world, through the Huey P’s industrial rail system. Instead, Garden of Memories Cemetery cut Transcontinental from the bridge. I do not understand how this happened. Clearview, on the other hand, was supposed to be a parkway, tree lined, and for recreation, not commerce.

One might also look at map to see the absolute illogic of connecting Clearview to the Huey P. To do so required building a mess of a flyover at present Earhart in order to curve Clearview back west to meet with the Huey P. Neither I nor Uncle is privy to the details behind this boondoggle, but I have little doubt the people of Jefferson Parish were bamboozled by their government, which was Mob run in those days. I am not confident to say that either Broussard or Yenni of the Esplanade Mall were improvements.
This post was edited on 7/12 at 9:30 am


TulaneLSU
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re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 signs of Clearview Parkway of Metairie
The southernmost section of Clearview, starting at Airline and going to the River, did not receive funding until the 1960s. It was completed in 1973 and is decidedly industrial in nature, having no neighborhoods on its borders, making it distinct from the majority of Clearview north of Airline. Clearview Parkway’s completion gave Metairie its second River to Lake thoroughfare. The first was Causeway Blvd. Kenner only has one, Williams Blvd, and the city of New Orleans, surprisingly, also only has one, Elysian Fields.

I am told that the section of Clearview north of West Napoleon was a shell road even in the 1950s. At some point in the 1960s, it was paved, leading to the growth of the neighborhoods around it. Clearview Mall opened in 1969 and nearby East Jefferson General Hospital opened in 1971. Construction on I-10 through that part of Metairie started in 1960. I do not know when the Clearview flyover was completed, but hope to walk the flyover, not bridge, to see if I can find a date on the concrete.

Clearview has a moderately interesting history, but because it is part of the New Orleans Metro, I love it and will honor her with a Top 10 list of her best signs. If I have omitted any more fitting signs, and I do not include Frostop’s sign because I do not like their burgers, please include them here.

TulaneLSU’s Top 10 signs of Clearview Parkway:

10. Lindbergh’s Floral Design

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50101454863_4bf0879500_k.jpg


Unknown to me is how long this florist has had a modest shop right off traffic-laden Clearview. I do know they had a branch in New Orleans East in the early 1980s. This sign’s sunkist southern facade has indeed felt the wages of UV radiation over the years. Its fading colors add to its matured beauty. How did this plastic hold up to the strength of Juan, Andrew, The Storm of the Century, Georges, Katrina, Gustav, and Isaac? The craftsmanship of that plastic sign is marvelous.

9. Reginelli’s

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50101454563_dc1767f51b_k.jpg


My dislike of Reginelli’s chunky sauce pizza is legendary on the Food Board. I think it, and Italian Pie, are two of the worst pizzas in America. How either of them has expanded, much less survived, in our region is inexplicable. Perhaps it is the company’s advertising campaign and signage, like this one, that allows it to gain entry into the hearts of the public. The sign’s lightbulb lit metal reminds me a little of that of the Pontchartrain Hotel.

8. Quarter View

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50102038546_ed2387befe_k.jpg


It looks nothing like the Quarter, but at least the lettering has some class. Stephen Pardo opened this place around 2000. I have eaten here just once, back in the early 2000s when they had 99 cent crawfish night. I was one of the few non-obese patrons. This part of Metairie seems always to have had an absence of good neighborhood seafood restaurants. One could argue that Tessie’s is good, but it’s so small and full of really old people. This part of Metairie’s car-centric design has made it a rather inhospitable place to visit, and I presume, to live. Imagine if the designers of this neighborhood dotted the neighborhood with a few restaurants here and there. I think this place has expanded at least once, but unless they move up, there is no more space to grow.

7. Caffe! Caffe!

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50102038096_e6ae033c11_k.jpg


In 1991, the New Orleans Metro was behind the times in the ways of coffee shops. Of course, the city had a century-long tradition of coffee shops in the open air, as in Morning Call and Cafe du Monde. The quirky hangout coffee shop that also served overpriced gourmet sandwiches and baked goods, though, simply did not exist yet in New Orleans. Then entered Caffe! Caffe! at the corner of Clearview and West Esplanade.

Having eaten here thrice, I have never been impressed. One might blame that opinion on the memory of a date who took me here in high school. It was the same girl to whom I proposed on Prom night just before starting the fourth of five courses at Impastato’s. I ordered a carrot cake, thinking it would taste like Grandmother’s Christmas bread cake. It did not.

The sign's letters, especially the letter F, have a unique font. The F reminds me of Pequod's harpoon. I can also see in the F a 16th-century horseshoe nail, a Cornicello necklace, which Sicilians love wearing, or perhaps very happy stick men. Across the street was Romaine’s Fan or Lighting shop, I believe. Before Katrina, they had the coolest sign in Metairie. Fans rotated and it fascinated me. I did not see that sign any longer.

6. Qwik Chek

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50102038376_7c9462e36a_k.jpg


One of the hidden gems in the world of poorboys, Qwik Chek has served poorboys from this location since at least 1988. Mother does not realize it is also a convenience store, so there was no prohibition from us going there. However, Mother never brought me here as a child. It was only in 2006 that I first tried it and realized it was as good as Guy’s and many times superior to Domilise’s. The signage is simple and colorful. Whoever designed the sign wanted to add to the parkway’s beauty while also not distracting the driver. Well done. Once the Poorboy Tours of New Orleans\ get underway, this place will be a stop, with perhaps a quick stop at neighboring #5.

5. Ben’s Burgers

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50102038456_f51d72f772_k.jpg


I have long held that Ben is the best New Orleans rapper who is producing noise of that genre, and Ben’s has the eighth best burger in Metairie. Little recognized is how great Ben’s Burgers is in the art department. One look at the flaming sign calls to mind the company’s roots. The original company has strayed from those roots while Ben has admirably taken up that mantle and added to this Christmas inspired lightbulbed sign with some of the best restaurant mosaics in the Metro, including the only city's only noteworthy bathroom mosaic. For more on Ben’s, see TulaneLSU's Top 10 dishes of Ben's Burgers.

The building has a long history with flame grilled burgers. This was Flame N Burger's third location, opening in 1976. This location followed the first on South Claiborne (1972) and the second on Read Blvd (1974).

This post was edited on 7/12 at 12:49 pm


TulaneLSU
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re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 signs of Clearview Parkway of Metairie
4. Mobile One Audio Sound

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50102037931_bccb0375fd_k.jpg


Clearview’s Mobile One was the first, opening in 1983 at the foot of I-10 across the street from Clearview Mall, which once had a marvelous Maison Blanche store and sign. I will be honest: I find the sign a little tacky, but so too is that incessant Mobile One advertisement song that, if it finds a way into your head, will take hours to remove. I only know this because Cousin listened to the radio on the way to bringing me to soccer tournaments at Lafreniere. Mobile One! Complete Audio and Sound to go. The only more annoying but catchy radio commercial is from Kige’s cousins at Ramsey’s, who are infatuated with their own name, and so they repeat it twenty times in thirty seconds.

The sign itself is a product of the early 1990s with its liberal use of multiple, contrasting geometries. In the entire Metro there is probably not a better representation of this modernist industrial art with a hint of graffiti art on any signs. The fresh, hip colors call to mind the Fresh Prince's Bel Air Academy blazer's lining.

3. Jaeger’s

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50102262412_03706c282e_k.jpg


Jaeger’s has quite a history. As a restaurant, its history extends to 1948 in West End, a place I love. That old restaurant, before being washed away, advertised on its red facade, “The best fried catfish & hush puppies in town.” After Katrina, it moved to its current location. From the early 1980s through the early 1990s, this building house a Western Sizzler. I wish I were young enough to have tried that steakhouse, as I’ve heard it was really good. Miss Emily’s Steak House operated there for just a year in 1992, before making way for the also short-lived Balihoo Bay Grill. In 1997, Lone Star Steak House continued the steakhouse tradition. While it was so, we had a neighbor’s daughter who worked there briefly.

Jaeger’s took control of the building in 2007, opening to large crowds, serving an Old Jefferson and Harahan crowd that yearned for good neighborhood seafood. It was just the right location, and it seems the restaurant has done quite well there. Compare Jaegar’s to the short-lived rebirth of the terribly located and grossly overpriced Sid-Mar’s tucked behind a building on Veterans. Both victims of Katrina, but one found the right location. While the sign is not as classic as the original, I do like the neon.

2. Copeland’s

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50101454903_6bddd6c703_k.jpg


Uncle corrected me a few months ago when I wrote that the first Copeland's was located on Veterans. The first Copeland’s was actually this one on Clearview, which opened in 1983, soon followed by locations on Veterans and St. Charles.

This building’s first occupant was WUV’s, if any of you will recall it. It was before my time, but Uncle says it was before its time as well. With locations in Gretna and Houma, WUV’s tried to bring health food to fast food. It had an impressive salad bar, but its menu was confused, with its centerpiece still a fatty hamburger.

Anyway, there are now just two Copeland’s in the Metro, this one and the one near Esplanade Mall. Both are exceptional and both have some of the finest signage in the Metro as well. I regret not getting the full splendor of this sign, which occurs in the evening with the bright purples and pinks of the neon gas illuminate a dim world. At night, it is truly a breathtaking sight, perhaps worthy of the #1 spot.

1. World Deli

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50102038151_1770bcf9a5_k.jpg


When people talk about the best poorboys and muffulettas of the New Orleans Metro, almost without fail they overlook Metairie’s World Deli. It is their loss, for World Deli ranks in the top 10 for both categories. Even better than the food is that sign.

If there were a category for cutest signs in America, this one might win it. How can you not love the three adorable comic strip like characters, based on previous owner Ronald Wirth's three daughter? They seem so innocent and pure and willing to serve: true paragons of hospitality and friendship. If they were updated, I have no doubt that right now, they would gladly be donning masks to cover both their mouths and their nostrils.

Before this building house World Deli, it was owned by Frank and Cecile Marsiglia, who operated Casa Di Palermo through the 1970s. The Marsiglias sold the deli to the Wirths in 1980, continuing its family owned character. I assume that the motivation for the name change from Casa Di Palermo to World Deli in 1986 was to announce that the deli was not just an Italian deli. It also sold poorboys and American sandwiches as well. Whatever the reason, since 1986, World Deli has stood above all others on Clearview Parkway.

Find some good in your world today, friends.

Faith, Hope, and Love,
TulaneLSU

P.S. For more in the sign and buildings series, see:

TulaneLSU's Top 10 food signs of Williams Blvd
TulaneLSU's Top 10 non-food signs of Williams Blvd
TulaneLSU's Top 10 signs of St. Charles Ave, lakeside
TulaneLSU's Top 10 signs of St. Charles Ave, riverside
TulaneLSU's Top 10 signs of Bucktown, USA
TulaneLSU's Top 10 nighttime signs Veterans Blvd
TulaneLSU's Top 10 signs of West End
TulaneLSU's Top 10 skyscrapers of NOLA East
TulaneLSU's Top 10 skyscrapers of Jefferson Parish
TulaneLSU's Top 10 skyscrapers of New Orleans' CBD
TulaneLSU's Top 10 signs of Auburn, AL

This post was edited on 7/12 at 9:24 am


Pedro
Wisc-Milwaukee Fan
the one and only
Member since Jul 2008
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re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 signs of Clearview Parkway of Metairie
Friend,

Do a top 10 saints next please.

Yours truly,
Pedro


Breesus
USA Fan
House of the Rising Sun
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65907 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 signs of Clearview Parkway of Metairie
Do a top 10 homeless people at certain corners.

The marine at canal and the cemeteries, the old lady at canal and Carrollton, the window washers by the dome, the pregnant lady, etc...
This post was edited on 7/12 at 5:41 am


Lester Earl
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re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 signs of Clearview Parkway of Metairie
Hi.

Come on in.


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redstick13
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re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 signs of Clearview Parkway of Metairie


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OWLFAN86
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re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 signs of Clearview Parkway of Metairie
When I had stroke and near death and I got a glimpse of God.



He was reading your Christmas tome


p&g
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re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 signs of Clearview Parkway of Metairie
Everybody hates you because you suck


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SammyTiger
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re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 signs of Clearview Parkway of Metairie
World Deli for the win


medtiger
LSU Fan
Member since Sep 2003
20345 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 signs of Clearview Parkway of Metairie
quote:

Copeland’s


quote:

Exceptional


I hope you're only considering the signage.


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escatawpabuckeye
Ohio State Fan
Member since Jan 2013
652 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 signs of Clearview Parkway of Metairie
I have no idea how you got started on this schtick but it’s highly informative for a transplant like myself. Thank you


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63
A Menace to Sobriety
Houston Astros Fan
Member since Jun 2018
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re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 signs of Clearview Parkway of Metairie
Honestly really impressed that you came up with 10 total signs in Clearview. Well done.


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Pedro
Wisc-Milwaukee Fan
the one and only
Member since Jul 2008
24705 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 signs of Clearview Parkway of Metairie
quote:

When I had stroke and near death and I got a glimpse of God.



He was reading your Christmas tome


was Lucas p there to greet you at the pearly gates?
This post was edited on 7/11 at 8:29 pm


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40
TulaneLSU
TBD Fan
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Member since Dec 2007
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re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 signs of Clearview Parkway of Metairie
Friend,

I pray every day for your continued recovery and hope you can one day give me a tour of Houston. Perhaps we could make some Top 10 lists for your city.

Yours,
TulaneLSU


LoneStar23
LSU Fan
USA
Member since Aug 2019
1147 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 signs of Clearview Parkway of Metairie
As if the pop ups aren’t bad enough on TD lately, your threads have their own pop ups with more of your shite threads.


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Cowboyfan89
McNeese State Fan
Member since Sep 2015
8623 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 signs of Clearview Parkway of Metairie
tl;dr

Seriously, this makes those Top 10 lists that you have to scroll through like a slideshow actually enjoyable.
This post was edited on 7/11 at 10:50 pm


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OWLFAN86
Rice Fan
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re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 signs of Clearview Parkway of Metairie
Friend,

It would be a blessing.


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hob
LSU Fan
Member since Dec 2017
1088 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 signs of Clearview Parkway of Metairie
quote:

Vague recollections of a rundown 1960s era stripmall where that Krispy Kreme sits cloud my mind.


It was a little neighborhood grocery store with a full meat counter and butcher. It was called Dan's

quote:

the Time Saver was on the north side of West Metairie


It was a Tenneco gas station.


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Newrow
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re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 signs of Clearview Parkway of Metairie


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