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Mina Lea Crais papers

Identifier: HJA-060

Scope and Contents

The Mina Lea Crais papers include the records of various businesses run by Mina Lea Crais and her husband, Bill Crais, including the Vieux Carre Music Shop, Carnival Records and Mecca Magazine. The collection also contains the personal papers and scrapbooks of Bill Crais, photographs of friends and events, numerous clippings, programs and brochures (primarily jazz related) as well as materials documenting the New Orleans Jazz Club (NOJC), of which both Mina and Bill were longtime members.


  • 1953-2005


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Biographical or Historical Information

Mina Lea Crais was born Mina Lea Sinske in Watertown, Wisconsin in 1924.  A devoted fan of New Orleans jazz, she first moved to New Orleans in the early 1950s.  Throughout her years in the city, she worked as a librarian at Charity Hospital School of Nursing, Tulane University and the World Trade Center, New Orleans.  In January 1958 Mina Lea and her husband, attorney and jazz trombonist Bill Crais, took over ownership of the Vieux Carré Music Shop at 706 Bourbon Street. They would later become part owners of Carnival Records and talent scouts for Golden Crest Records. Mina Lea was also an active member of the New Orleans Jazz Club, even serving on the board for several years. Returning from more than a decade away from New Orleans, she brought out the first issue of MECCA, a magazine devoted entirely to traditional New Orleans jazz in January 1974.


5.77 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Date acquired: 11/30/2005

Related Materials

Mina Lea Crais photograph collection
Language of description
English, Old (ca.450-1100)
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Tulane University Special Collections Repository

Jones Hall Room 202
6801 Freret Street
New Orleans 70118 US