Menszer's Department Store: Site Of Unspoken Civil Disobience In Jim Crow South

Mar 31, 2016

The latest edition of NOLA Life Stories takes place at a department store in Gretna, 1937. This is a time when families lived above the store, when advertisements were delivered door to door, and babies got their first pair of shoes for free.

This was also a time of separate but equal, of back-of-the-bus politics. But not every nook and cranny of the city was gripped by segregation. As Sam and John Menszer remember, the customers at their family’s shop kept any racist attitudes– and their bags – at the door.  

Menszer’s closed in August, 1962 after new highways diverted customers to big-box stores down the road. This interview was conducted by Mark Cave for the Historic New Orleans Collection and produced for WWNO by Thomas Walsh.