Federal Writers' Project - Life Histories/2017/Fall/Section 26/Louis Huber
March 4, 1881
Louis Huber was a truck gardener who lived in New Orleans. His wife was interviewed by the Federal Writer's Project to obtain his information.
Little is known about the early days of Huber’s life. Louis Huber was born to Frank Huber and Frances Reiser in New Orleans where the family owned a three-quarter of a mile farm, which they used to make a living. Besides Huber, Frank and Frances also had two other children. However, one died for unknown reasons, which left Huber with one sister.
Huber was described by his wife as “[not knowing] much” because he only made it to the 4th grade at Gentilly school. The school contained only one teacher for the entire school. No records of his school life can be found, but Huber was known to be chased up a tree by his teacher. If he didn’t know his lessons, he’d stay there all day in fear that he’d get punished.
Huber married his wife, Pauline Philebar, in 1906 in New Orleans where they had their two children. Their oldest son, William Huber, was born on May 30, 1907 and their other son, Edward Huber was born on January 11, 1909.
Huber took both pride and joy in being a truck gardener. However, before he settled down and found his passion Louis worked with the Sewerage and Water Board until he was laid off in 1929 because of the effects of the Great Depression. Fortunately, Louis was able to farm six of the lots formed when his father’s land was divided up upon his death. Louis worked the land with his brother-in-law where they grew leeks, mint, snap beans, mirlitons, thyme, sweet corn, radishes, mustard, beets carrots, eggplants, and turnips. Huber faced the difficulty of keeping his land fertile, so he purchased $10-$12.5 of manure a year. The Hubers didn’t make much from these gardens as their reported weekly earnings ranged from $0 to $4.50. In the words of Louis, it’s because “people plant too damn much”.
Adulthood to Death
Huber and his family moved several times before they found their family home. They first stayed on Broad Street, then Orleans Street, and finally moved to his family owned garden in 1916. Huber built a house in 1928 that contained a bedroom, parlor, bathroom, and kitchen. The back porch was later converted into a bedroom and playroom to accommodate his grandchildren, Shirley (age 10) and Bill(age8), because William and his family also stayed with them. The house featured a yard with mulberry, peach, and fig trees. They even kept a few livestock such as chickens and two baby ducks for the grandchild Shirley. The Hubers had two vehicles, a car that was used to take stuff to the market and an old truck that often broke down. Huber later died at an unknown date.