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:
- 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,
- 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
- 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:
- A list compiled by
David Grant in 1978, and
prepared by the Louisiana Telephone Pioneers.
Where the two disagree (not a common occurrence), my judgment was used as to
which seemed more likely.
Last modified March 8, 2015.