Adolph Joseph Moret (1893-1996)
Adolph Joseph Moret was the perfect example of a self-made man. From a boy of sixteen years who entered the printing trade as a neophyte to the owner of a successful printing company, his life’s story is marked by tenacity and determination. He was born on 25 October 1893 to Professor Joseph Adolph Moret and Georgiana Bordenave. His father was a music teacher who taught many of the pioneers of Jazz.
In the spring of 1910, young Adolph was a freshman in high school at the Southern University on Magazine Street. Sickness in the family and subsequently finances forced him to leave school after his first year. He took a job with the Daily Court Record at 538 Saint Peter Street in one of the Pontalba Buildings. As the name of the press implies, their principle project was printing briefs and other documents for the nearby courthouse. Adolph learned every aspect of the business – delivering the papers to various offices, picking up the orders at the courthouse, and spending hours setting the type by hand. He remained at the Daily Court Record until 1913, having spent a few summers as a steward on commercial ships to Central America and a few months working in a printing plant in Chicago.
He obtained a job with the Steeg Printing Company, one of the largest printing plants in the city. At the time, the Steeg Company printed the telephone directory, a very large project. While employed at Steeg’s, Adolph married Miss Georgiana Josephine Perez on 24 June 1916. They were blessed with five sons: Adolph Jr., Alexander, Edgar, Calvin, and Roy.
After eighteen years at Steeg, the Great Depression brought a reduction in work hours. It was then in January 1932, that Adolph Moret decided to begin his own printing company. With an initial investment of two hundred dollars, Moret opened his business in the garage in his backyard. Business was good – Mr. Moret had a steady stream of orders from benevolent societies, clubs, churches, fraternal organizations, schools, and businesses. He eventually outgrew his humble first shop in his garage and erected a spacious building of over one-thousand square feet which housed all of the necessary apparatus. Prior to December 1949, practically all of the type was still set by hand. At that time, Mr. Moret invested in a linotype machine which sped the composition process tremendously. Over time, additional equipment such as a large cylinder press and Miehle Vertical press were added.
As they came of age, Mr. Moret’s sons, Calvin and Roy, entered the business as partners. The business continued for seventy-three years until destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. With each advancement in the printing field, The Moret Press acquired and utilized the new technology. Adolph Joseph Moret died on 2 February 1996 at one-hundred and two years of age. He lived to see his son, Calvin G. Moret emerge as the head of The Moret Press. An accomplished man in his own right, Calvin Moret possesses many talents and is the last surviving Tuskegee Airman in the New Orleans area. In its near three quarters of existence, The Moret Press did little advertising, relying simply on its record of providing “Reliable Printing Service.”
Sources: The Moret Mirror 11:2 (June 1960), 1, 4. “25 Years of Reliable Printing Service – January 1, 1932-1957: The Moret Press” in Christopher P. West Papers, Amistad Research Center.