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What can you tell me about old coins that say "Magazine Market Carnival Club" on them?

Blake Pontchartrain: The New Orleans N.O. It All


Hey Blake,

My wife found some coins in her father's possessions after he died and she is trying to determine what they were and for what they were used. One side says "Magazine Market Carnival Club" and the other side just has a "5" on it. Any information you might have on this would be helpful.

Charles Mayne

Dear Charles,

  The coin you describe looks like a fascinating tidbit from one of the city's neighborhood Carnival clubs, which took its name from one of New Orleans' early public markets. The Magazine Street Market was located in the block formed by St. Mary, St. Andrew, Magazine and Camp streets, according to the New Orleans Architecture book series by the Friends of the Cabildo. The merchants of that area formed a social club in 1912. According to a story in The Times-Picayune the next year, the club "though newly organized, is composed of some of the prominent business men within the vicinity of the Magazine Market."

  Among its early social events was a picnic held in June 1913 at Southern Park. But the coin you describe was probably a Carnival throw, or precursor to the Mardi Gras doubloon. A May 1913 mention in the newspaper says the main object of the club is "to join in the Carnival celebrations by a unique parade." In 1914, the club reported a membership of 125, including the butchers and merchants of the market. It promised to make its first appearance at that year's Mardi Gras. In 1915, the club was listed in the Mardi Gras edition of the Picayune as a highlight of Fat Tuesday, along with Rex, the Jefferson City Buzzards and other Carnival clubs. The last mention of the club I can find is from 1931.

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