Breakfast at the Astoria Hotel- 1929


Dr. Moton in New Orleans

Row 1 (Seated) – Dr. G. Lake Imes (special assistant to Dr. Moton),  Joseph P. Geddes (undertaker),  A.C. Atkins (director of agriculture at Tuskegee),  Hon. Walter L. Cohen (Political Leader & Insurance Executor), Dr. Robert R. Moton  (President of Tuskegee Institute),  Bishop I.C. Scott,  Albon L. Holsey (secretary of Tuskegee Institute), Rev. Alston

Middle Row Dr. Marcus C. GainesR.B. Hayes (Dean of New Orleans University),  Dr. Percy Pennington Creuzot  (Dentist),  Dr. L.B. Landry (physician Rev. D.F. Martinez,  James Lewis Jr.(Businessman), Rev. E.W. White  (Pastor of Tulane Avenue Baptist Church)

Third RowH. L. Williams, Bingaman J. Cohen (son of Walter L.Cohen/ Businessman),  Dr. Joseph A. Hardin (Civic Leader/ Physician)  Rev. A.J. Mitchell, J. W. Jones, Henry E. Braden Sr. (owner of the Astoria Hotel), P.R. Crutchfield (Circulation Manager LA Weekly)


Pictured above are the New Orleans members of the National Negro Business League who hosted a breakfast party in honor of the distinguished educator and president of Tuskegee Institute, Dr. Robert R. Moton. The morning affair was held on January 29, 1929 at the Astoria Hotel.

As Dr. Robert Moton and his party of four arrived at the L&N train station earlier that Tuesday morning, they were greeted by Walter L. Cohen and Joseph P. Geddes. Dr. Moton and his group were heading to a speaking engagement in Houston, Texas. It was there that they would attend the Silver Jubilee Celebration of the Federal Farm Extension Bureau.

The distinguished guest and his party were taken for a drive through the city of New Orleans before being whisked off to the breakfast party given by Mr. Cohen.  

The New Orleans branch of the National Negro Business League was especially proud of Dr. Moton because he was their national president.  In a speech given here on this occasion, Dr. Moton stressed the importance of economic growth among people of color. He made particular reference to the need for black businessmen to establish chain stores as contrasted with the small store operated by an individual, which lacks the necessary elements to withstand the rigors of modern business competition.

Upon his return from Texas, Dr. Moton again stopped over in New Orleans on his way back to Tuskegee. On Sunday evening, February 10, 1929 he appeared at a banquet held in the Red Room of the Astoria Hotel. This time an even larger representative group of the business and professional men and women of the city were in attendance. Here again he stressed the necessity for concerted action among the members of the race along economic lines.

That same night, the general public was invited to hear him speak. On this occasion the event was held at Tulane Avenue Baptist Church and was sponsored by the Federation of Civic Leagues

Dr. Moton was born in1867 in Amelia County, Virginia. He was an administrator at Hampton Institute before being named principal of Tuskegee Institute upon the death of Dr. Booker T. Washington. He held this position from 1915 until his retirement twenty years later in 1935. Under his leadership, Tuskegee Institute established a commitment to aeronautical training with emphasis placed on improving its facilities plus hiring instructors with engineering and technical expertise. As a result, Moton Field, the training base for the Tuskegee Airmen, was named in his honor. He was a speaker at the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. and the author of a number of books. Dr. Moton passed away in 1940, five years after his retirement from Tuskegee Institute, at the age of seventy-three.

Sources:   photo from Amistad Research Center; The Louisiana Weekly February2-16-23, 1929.


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2 thoughts on “Breakfast at the Astoria Hotel- 1929

  1. The Louisiana Negro Business League was organized in New Orleans in 1910. Affiliated with Booker T. Washington’s National Negro Business League, the conference in New Orleans drew blacks from across the state seeking to promote the financial and commercial interests of the race. My great-grandfather, Rev. Peter W. Clark, a Methodist minister, served as a conference delegate. A photo of the 1910 group can be found in the Southwestern Christian Advocate, July 14, 1910, p. 8.

  2. Reading about the names that, collectively, were prominent in my growing up years in New Orleans, I welcome the insights imparted by these factoids abstracted from Tulane Archives about the notable Black men and women who were memorialized in buildings and parks. AND on who’s shoulders I proudly stand as an inspiration to distinguish Black people. Names like, Hardin Park, Gertrude-Geddes Funeral Home, Landry High School, Joseph S Clark HS, Fannie C. Williams (Valena C. Jones & Dillard U), Dr. Stern (Stern Hall at Dillard U), Dr. Rosenwald (Rosenwald Hall at Dillard), Dr. Dent (Pres. at Dillard), Dr. Frederick (Rivers Frederick School), Dr. Braden, Belfields Drug Store …. These monumental reincarnate articles of truth correct, nullify, clue the History omitted from the books I was required to study.

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