A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from October 16, 2022
Erb City (New Orleans nickname)

The Angolite is an inmate-edited publication of the Louisiana State Penitentiary (Angola, LA). From 1954 until 1961, the publication called New Orleans “Erb City” and a New Orleans resident an “Erb” or “Erb Citian.” The reason behind the term is unknown.

“Erb” probably means “herb," as in marijuana. Many people have been put in the Louisiana State Penitentiary for possessing marijuana. Charles Neville (1938-2018), a jazz musician, served three and a half years at Angola, beginning in 1963, for marijuana possession. “Erb” is the name of a company that sells California grown cannabis.

From 1957 to 1959, The Angolite used “Erb City” less than the previous three years, replacing the nickname with “Big Easy.”

“Dozen Arrive From Erb City” was printed in The Angolite on January 16, 1954. “Erb Citians” was printed in The Angolite on February 20, 1954. “ALBERT BOURQUE, Pine #3, tells about how close he came to being an ‘Erb.’ Says he was halfway across the H. P. Long bridge before he realized he was going in the wrong direction” was printed in The Angolite on January 14, 1961.

Other New Orleans nicknames include “America’s Most Interesting City,” “Baghdad-on-the-Bayou,” “Big Crescent,” “Big Easy,” “Big Greasy,” “Big Sleazy,” “Birthplace of Jazz,” “Chocolate City,” “Chopper City,” “City of a Million Dreams,” “City of Yes,” “City That Care Forgot,” “City That Forgot to Care,” “Convention City,” “Crawfish Town,” “Creole City,” “Crescent City,” “Gateway of the Mississippi Valley,” “Gumbo City,” “Hollywood South,” “Jump City,” “Mardi Gras City,” “Metropolis of the South,” “N’Awlins,” “Necropolis of the South,” “Nerlins,” “No Orleans” (after Hurricane Katrina), “NOLA,” “Northernmost Banana Republic,” “Northernmost Caribbean City,” “Old Swampy,” “Paris of America,” “Queen City,” “Saint City,” “Silicon Bayou,” “Silicon Swamp” and “Sweet Lady Gumbo.”


Wikipedia: New Orleans
New Orleans (/ˈɔːrl(i)ənz/ OR-l(ee)ənz, /ɔːrˈliːnz/ or-LEENZ, locally /ˈɔːrlənz/ OR-lənz; French: La Nouvelle-Orléans [la nuvɛlɔʁleɑ̃], Spanish: Nueva Orleans) is a consolidated city-parish located along the Mississippi River in the southeastern region of the U.S. state of Louisiana. With a population of 383,997 according to the 2020 U.S. census, it is the most populous city in Louisiana and the twelfth-most populous city in the Southeastern United States. Serving as a major port, New Orleans is considered an economic and commercial hub for the broader Gulf Coast region of the United States.

JSTOR
16 January 1954, The Angolite (Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola, LA), “Dozen Arrive From Erb City,” pg. 3, col. 2:
Twelve new candidates for the honor of being the best hand in their camps—except the hand The Man wipes his nose with—were officially checked in at the Receiving Station from Orleans Parish.

The dozen, 11 colored and one white, were gently chauffeured from the Big City by Barney Kilbride, the official driver of the Black Maria.

JSTOR
20 February 1954, The Angolite (Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola, LA), pg. 2, col. 3:
ABADIE ON COOK JOB
AND THIS PROVES IT
Chef Jack Abadie, who alleges he positively did NOT learn his trade under the Chinaman on Decatur Street in New Orleans, is currently top cook at Camp H-1, wherein dwell all the white first offenders.

Jack says people in Erb City won’t believe he is cooking until they see it in The Angolite.

For the benefit of Jack, Erb Citians at large and Jack’s ever-loving spouse, let it be shown on the record that Jack’s stew is something to write home about.

JSTOR
6 March 1954, The Angolite (Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola, LA), “He’s Seen The Light, This Boy!,” pg. 4, col. 2:
Beron, an Erb City neighborhood boy, has at long last ‘made good’ on Angola!

JSTOR
20 March 1954, The Angolite (Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola, LA), pg. 4, col. 1:
FOURTEEN FISH FROM ERB CITY
Fourteen grasping fresh fish, pink around the gills from long immersion in the Parish Prison tank at New Orleans, were revived here last week at Reception Center.

The dozen-plus-two, including 12 colored and two white, were bade a fond farewell by Chauffeur Barney Kilbride, chief of the Criminal Sheriff’s Escort Bureau in Erb City.

JSTOR
14 August 1954, The Angolite (Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola, LA), “ENVELOPE ORDER PROGRESSES,” pg. 5, col. 3:
A recent addition to the Print Shop staff was old-timer “Cigarets” Burgau of the Erb City.

JSTOR
25 September 1954, The Angolite (Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola, LA), pg. 10, col. 2:
ERB CITIAN CHOOSES
PRIME STORE SPOT
Frank Mastricova, a New Orleans boy who has made good on Angola, was last week named manager of the Camp E-1 food emporium for inmates.

JSTOR
23 October 1954, The Angolite (Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola, LA), “PLEADERS SEEK TO DODGE CANE,” pg. 8, col. 1:
John Paternostro, an Erb City boy who made good, is now maintenance plumber at the Hotel Reed.

JSTOR
25 December 1954, The Angolite (Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola, LA), “Orleans Saves Dinner Costs,” pg. 8, col. 3:
Up Tuesday with 11 men, all colored, was Barney McBride, chauffeur and escort of the Erb City Sheriff’s Department.

JSTOR
1 January 1955, The Angolite (Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola, LA), “LOCAL BRIEFS,” pg. 8, col. 3:
Richard Chotin, former Erb Citian, is now at the General Warehouse in full trusty status.

JSTOR
12 February 1955, The Angolite (Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola, LA), pg. 9, col. 1:
feeds felines, not self
EX-ERB CITIAN IS BIRD SNARER
Using all the trapping wiles gains from years of experience in jungles bordering the Irish Channel in New Orleans, Malcolm (Black-Snake) Pustanic has appointed himself a one-man bird-catcher at Camp H-2.

The former Erb Citian has devlsed a method of approach which is sure-fire and nearly always results in the snaring of an unwary sparrow.

JSTOR
9 April 1955, The Angolite (Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola, LA), “Erb On Pratt-Job,” pg. 5, col. 2:
Francis Giardina is now a clerk at the Administrative office following a work transfer last week.

JSTOR
6 August 1955, The Angolite (Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola, LA), pg. 3, col. 1:
Among bed patients in the General Hospital this week is Sam Bonura, former Erb Citian.

JSTOR
1 October 1955, The Angolite (Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola, LA), “GANG WAR FIZZZLES!,” pg. 2, col. 1:
Whereupon, taking up the cudgel, the Baton Rouge boys hurled back charges better left unsaid at the Erb Citians.

JSTOR
10 December 1955, The Angolite (Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola, LA), pg. 5, col. 3:
ONE-WAY ORLEANS
BUS IN TUESDAY
WITH 17 FRESH FISH
(...)
All had been gaffed by law enforcement officials in New Orleans.
(...)
Barney Kilbride, long-time chauffeur for the one-way bus from Erb City was escort.

JSTOR
24 December 1955, The Angolite (Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola, LA), pg. 8, col. 1:
erb citian promoted
‘I WILL ARISE’ GAINS MEMBER

(...)
That Danny Herbert, late of the city of New Orleans, has joined the ranks of the Sons and Daughter of I Will Arise, Angola Chapter No. 615.

JSTOR
7 January 1956, The Angolite (Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola, LA), pg. 10, col. 1:
ERB CITIAN UPPED
TO CLERK SPOT
Francis Giardina, an ex-Erb Citian who joined the Sons and Daughters of I Will Arise, Angola Local 615, received another promotion last week.

JSTOR
25 February 1956, The Angolite (Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola, LA), pg. 10, col. 1:
ERB CHAIN IN;
13 ON ‘COTICS
Dragging a trot-line at the end of which were 15 fresh fish, Barney Kilbride of the New Orleans Criminal Sheriff’s Department last Thursday denied the finny felons were leftover tidbits from a Mardi Gras blowout.

JSTOR
24 March 1956, The Angolite (Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola, LA), pg. 4, col. 1:
ERB BLACK MARIA
BRINGS DOZEN RAW
Twelve—no! Eleven—fish were popped in the local tank from New Orleans last week.

There were 12 on the big Black Maria driven by Deputy Sheriff Barney Kilbride, but one was shunted off to the Women’s Camp where she is to slave away two years.

JSTOR
7 April 1956, The Angolite (Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola, LA), pg. 2, col. 3:
‘MOOSE’ JOINS RANKS
OF BALD HEADS
Marcel “Moose” Hingle, another Erc Citian who has joined the ranks of Sons and Daughters of I Will Arise, Circle 615, today is sporting a bald-head.

JSTOR
14 April 1956, The Angolite (Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola, LA), pg. 6, col. 3:
Erb Citian Happy
In Butcher Spot

Steve Daure, the former Erb Citian to whom the Parole Board had to say ‘no’ four times—because he has four cases—is a happy boy today.

JSTOR
28 April 1956, The Angolite (Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola, LA), pg. 3:
MEAT’S MEAT—EVEN IF IT’S—?
BACK IN WAR-TIME—1942 and 1943—they marketed muskrat meat in New Orleans and called ‘em “marsh hare.” Unwary Erb Citians, made hungry by a meatless diet, flocked to the market and bought.

JSTOR
5 May 1956, The Angolite (Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola, LA), “5 Gals on N.O. CHAIN,” pg. 2, col. 2:
His job, he says, keeps him busy hauling bad widdle boys and gurruls from Erb City to Angola.

JSTOR
26 May 1956, The Angolite (Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola, LA), pg. 6, col. 1:
Everyone wishes to thank Whitey Rodgers, retired undefeated heavyweight King and the well-known Erb, Billy Kid Rousseau, for officiating the boys. Both did swell jobs as referees.

JSTOR
16 February 1957, The Angolite (Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola, LA), “The Pine Dorms” by Punchy, pg. 6, col. 1:
I understand “Legs” arrived last week on the Black Maria from Erb City.

JSTOR
28 September 1957, The Angolite (Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola, LA), “The Pines” by Bobby Eisemann, pg. 7, col. 1:
Jim Whitaker finally shapped and moved to a good dormitory. He’s now bedded down in Erb Alley at Pine-3.

JSTOR
10 May 1958, The Angolite (Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola, LA), “Four Oaks” by Gene Hoover, pg. 4, col. 2:
That’s two hillbillies, two coonaroonos, one erb,—and a blank.

JSTOR
14 January 1961, The Angolite (Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola, LA), “GOLA BRIEF,” pg. 5, col. 1:
ALBERT BOURQUE, Pine #3, tells about how close he came to being an ‘Erb.’ Says he was halfway across the H. P. Long bridge before he realized he was going in the wrong direction. It was a narrow one!

Posted by Barry Popik
Nicknames of Other PlacesBig Easy, City That Care Forgot (New Orleans nicknames) • Sunday, October 16, 2022 • Permalink