McCrory's Five-and-Dime

Stop 1 of 8 on the Modern Civil Rights in New Orleans tour

The former McCrory's lunch counter at 1005 Canal Street was a site for protest during the New Orleans civil rights movement.

Segregation was widespread and remained deeply rooted in New Orleans in the early 1960s. Following the Woolworth's lunch counter demonstration in Greensboro, North Carolina, student-led, nonviolent direct action swept across the country. In 1960, representatives from the Congress for Racial Equality (CORE) organized college students in New Orleans to stage sit-ins at local lunch counters. On September 17, 1960, McCrory's on Canal Street became the scene of CORE’s second local lunch counter sit in.  The first sit-in occurred a week earlier at Woolworth’s on Canal Street. Xavier student Rudy Lombard, SUNO student Oretha Castle, Dillard student Cecil W. Carter, Jr., and white Tulane student Sydney Goldfinch, Jr. challenged McCrory’s store policy by insisting to be served together at the segregated lunch counter. All four were arrested, charged, and convicted under Louisiana criminal mischief laws. In Lombard v. Louisiana, the students appealed their convictions to the Supreme Court of the United States. In November 1962, the high court overturned the arrest in a decision that involved several lunch counter segregation cases, setting a precedent by affirming the student’s civil rights striking down the tradition of segregated lunch counters. When recently interviewed about his experiences during his arrest at McCrory’s, Sydney Goldfinch, Jr. explains, “All I wanted to do was have coffee with my friends.” McCrory’s closed their store on Canal Street in the late 1990s. Currently, this civil rights landmark serves as popular chain restaurant and a parking garage. For more on this story and an artist's rendering see "Sit in at McCrory's," in the Paper Monuments tour on our site.

Video

Edgar "Dooky" Chase III Oral History Interview
Edward "Dooky" Chase III, a college student in the 60s discusses the importance of Canal Street to New Orleans and the impact of the sit in protest. ~ Source: Earl K. Long Library ~ Creator: UNO Mizell-Nelson Digital History Lab ~ Date:...
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Map

1005 Canal Street New Orleans, LA 70119