New Orleans telephone exchanges

The history of the telephone exchange names in New Orleans, as in most significant United States cities, can be divided into three periods:

  1. The pre-dial period, which for the purposes of this site extends to June 11, 1927, when all telephone calls were completed by manual action by operators (Only the first two exchanges in New Orleans were changed to dial at this time, but as long as any exchanges were dial, the requirements for dial exchanges applied), and there were no constraints on exchange names other than that there was no likelihood of confusion when a customer gave the name to the operator,
  2. The early dial period, beginning with June 11, 1927, in which the New Orleans telephone numbers were set up to accommodate dialing the first two letters of an exchange name followed by a four-digit number designating the individual line, though in fact not all exchanges provided for dialing by the phones in those exchanges, and
  3. The late dial period, whose beginning in New Orleans was not at a sharp point in time but extended from 1955 to 1960, in which, instead of the first two letters of an exchange name alone, one dialed the first two letters and an "office numeral" (This was the terminology used in an early New York City directory, though it was not common terminology in this period), again followed by four digits designating the individual line. Though an effective standard in the United States in the pre-1960 era, this pattern was in use only a short time in New Orleans before replaced by all-number calling.

While the transition from the early to the late dial period extending over several years is unusual, a similar piecewise process was followed in Atlanta, Georgia and in the Los Angeles, California metropolitan area.

Much of the data on these pages comes from two online sites:

  1. A list compiled by David Grant in 1978, and
  2. Information prepared by the Louisiana Telephone Pioneers.

Where the two disagree (not a common occurrence), my judgment was used as to which seemed more likely.

New Orleans:
Main New Orleans page
Chronological periods of the New Orleans data:
Pre-dial period Early dial period Late dial period

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Last modified March 8, 2015.

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