I’m doing research for a video tour book on lesser known places in New Orleans. I recently heard that Winston Churchill made a visit here in 1932. Is this true? -B.K.
Yes, Churchill was in New Orleans on his 1932 lecture tour, between 16 February and 11 March, during the last hectic leg of his abbreviated schedule. (In December he was nearly killed by a car in New York and had recuperated in the Bahamas through 22 January.) On 11 March he boarded the Majestic in New York and sailed home. His New Orleans appearance would likely have been around February 18th-22nd, or just after the 23rd when he was in Atlanta, since train schedules would have had him in both cities within a day or so of each other.
You should check the morgue at the New Orleans Times-Picayune, which probably reported his appearance, likely a one-night stand. From Robert Pilpel, Churchill in America 1895-1961 (New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1976), 111-12:
After a Washington Press Club luncheon in his honor on February 16, Winston embarked upon the most grueling period of his tour. He was still not completely recovered from his automobile accident, and the distances between what were usually only one-night stands were immense. Nashville, New Orleans, Cincinnati, Grand Rapids, Indianapolis, Ann Arbor – east, west, north, and south the Churchills traveled. Fifteen years later Winston looked back on this episode, “living all day on my back in a railway compartment and addressing in the evening large audiences,” and he concluded, rather startlingly for someone with his background, “On the whole I consider this was the hardest time I have had in my life”….The tour wound down in an accelerating spiral of fatigue, and when the Churchills finally staggered back to the Northeast for Winston’s last three appearances, all of them were very nearly spent. On their way to New York the news broke that Anne and Charles Lindbergh’s infant son had been kidnapped.
Anticipating a follow-up question, Churchill privately considered the Lindbergh kidnapping shocking, and resolutely refused to comment to the press about it.