WILLIAM MULDOON'S OLYMPIA
Myles Salt Plant - Weeks Island, Louisiana
Now a Morton Salt Plant
Eugene's salt plant today, still in operation as Morton Salt
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Myles Salt Company was created at the turn of the nineteenth century by two brothers, Beverly and Frank Myles, who sank a shaft for the purpose of mining salt on Weeks Island, Louisiana. When the salt mine was ready for production, the Myles brothers entered into an agreement with Henry M. Mun, head of the St. Louis based H.M. Mun & Co. brokerage firm, to begin marketing Louisiana rock salt, becoming the first firm to sell Louisiana crushed rock salt from a St. Louis base.
In 1919, Eugene Mente and Emanuel Benjamin bought out all interests in Myles Salt Company and became equal owners in the company and the mine. Mr. Benjamin passed away in 1934 and in Eugene Mente’s 1937 autobiography Eugene states that he was then  the president of the salt company.
The Myles Salt Company operated salt mines on both Avery Island and Weeks Island in Iberia Parish. The Avery Island mine passed out of Myles' hands in 1896, and the Weeks Island mine was sold to Morton Salt Co. in 1947.
Eugene sitting on the bench commemorating his $50,000 contribution in 1914 to Touro Hospital in New Orleans. That's $1,232,620 in 2018 dollars.
"The E.W. Mente Park. In appreciation of his generosity to Touro Infirmary MCMXXV" Bronze bas relief sculpture placed on granite bench made by A. Weiblen Marble Co. Plaque which accompanied the bench is attached to the building. It reads: "In grateful appreciation of the generous benefactions of E. W. Mente this park has been named in his honor."
Biographical Note: German sculptor Albert Rieker (1890-1959) studied in Munich, his native Stuttgart, and Italy. Relocating to New Orleans in 1923, he taught at the New Orleans Art School of the Arts and Crafts Club. His commissions included sculptures for the capitol in Baton Rouge and likenesses of many political and civic leaders. (THNOC catalog-The Long Weekend part II.)
The Mente Bench is still very much a part of Touro Infirmary. It is in a garden nitch facing Prytania Street, and it has quite a history. At first there was to be a Mente ward but World War I interrupted this plan. After the War, Touro constructed the A Building across Aline Street, and the bench was placed in a Mente Park between the buildings. In 1936, Aline Street was closed so Touro could build the Bloch Pavilion, connecting the A Building with the original buildings facing Prytania, and the bench was moved into the garden nitch where it is today. The medallion with Mente’s picture is attached at the back. There is also a plaque on the building giving a short history of the bench.
The Mente Bench in Mente Park at Touro Infirmary
1917 WWI Fund Raising Drive
274 Bath Avenue Summer Home - Long Branch, New Jersey
274 Bath Avenue Summer Home
274 Bath Avenue
Eugene visiting Charles G. Foertmeyer MD
Eugene's Automobile and Chauffeur
Eugene's home was probably within the yellow oval
Entrance - probably not original to Eugene's estate
Mr. Foertmeyer, Unfortunately we have no information in our files relating to the original builder (who went bankrupt) nor information on the home that once stood there. Ironically, for safety reasons, we just cut down the massive beech tree which stood on that property for the last 100 plus years. It was nearly 7 feet across at the base! If I hear of anything, I will let you know. Bill Mosey
If you have read Eugene Mente's autobiography then you know that Emmanuel V. Benjamin was his business partner and close friend for some fifty years. Below is a photo of his home, and the family home after his passing, until 1943.
5531 St. Charles Avenue - Built 1912
Architect Emile Weil reputedly loved this 22-room Italianate / Beaux Arts Renaissance Revival house above all the other St. Charles Avenue and Audubon Place residences he designed. It took four years to complete the two-and-a-half-story palace — with its stone façade, balustrade and paired Ionic columns, grand interior foyer, replicated Versailles staircase and long ballroom — but by 1916 businessman Emmanuel V. Benjamin was ensconced in his dream home. Legend has it that his son, who grew up in the mansion, was such an eccentric that a group of men started “The Benjamin Club” just to tell and retell their favorite stories about him.
Emmanuel Victor Benjamin
1866 - 1934
Passport Photo 1924
Rachel (Hachie) Goldsmith Benjamin
1874 - 1953
Passport Photo 1924
According to many years of New Orleans city directories, Eugene
listed his residence in New Orleans as the Cosmopolitan Hotel.
For at least one year he listed his New Orleans address as the Grunewald Hotel; later renamed the Theodore Roosevelt Hotel. Shown above is the fourteen story annex built in 1908.
When The Grunewald was established in 1893, it was a six-story, 200-room hotel. In 1908, it was expanded with a fourteen-story, 400-room annex.
It was, also, at this time that what is believed to be America's first nightclub was opened. The subterranean supper club called "The Cave" came complete with waterfalls, stalagmites, stalactites and a line of chorus girls dancing to a Dixieland Jazz band. It's said that Louis Grunewald was attempting to duplicate the environment of Kentucky's Mammoth Cave - with the help of 700,000 pounds of plaster and cement. The Cave became a popular place for New Orleanians and visitors alike and remained open until 1930. It was the forerunner to the famed Blue Room which opened in 1935. The Grunewald family ran the hotel until 1923, when it was sold and the name was changed to honor former President Theodore Roosevelt.
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Myles Salt Company - 1048 Constance Street - New Orleans