This Day in History

July 1, 1929: Streetcar Workers Strike in New Orleans

Time Periods: 20th Century, 1920
Themes: Labor

On July 1, 1929, more than 1,000 streetcar workers went on strike in New Orleans.

Lasting four months, this is considered to be the last in an era of streetcar strikes. When scabs were brought in from New York, many in New Orleans rallied to support the strikers, including former streetcar workers and union members Clovis and Benjamin Martin who owned a small restaurant.

They wrote the letter above,

To the striking Carmen Division 194, We are with you till h–l freezes and when it does, we will furnish blankets to keep you warm.

They provided free sandwiches to the “po’ boys” on strike. It is said that this is where the po-boy sandwich name began.

Streetcar strikers. Source: Walter P. Reuther Library. Click for more information.

Here is a collection of more photos from the strike.

Below are resources for teaching about labor history. There are also “this day in history” posts about streetcar protests against racial discrimination.