Churchill in New Orleans

Churchill in New Orleans

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.

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