19th Century New Orleans and its Magnificent Obsession: “Drinking is an Awful Vice Here”

“In 1718, the first Christmas in New Orleans is celebrated with “deer, quail, snipe and wild duck, along with wild turkey, which is in great abundance. Native Americans provide grain and vegetables, and the ship Neptune, recently arrived in port, provides red wine, white wine and brandy.” (1)

The account of this celebration in the new French colony foreshadows not only New Orleans’ obsessive interest in food, but also one of its major preoccupations – liquor. Continue reading

19th Century New Orleans and Its Magnificent Obsession: Gentlemen’s Free Lunches, Coffeehouses and Dinner by the Lake

Norman’s Environs, a popular guide book published in the 1830s, reported that in New Orleans “the traveler, who leaves the city without visiting one of the popular markets on Sunday morning has suffered a rare treat to escape him.” Norman continues, describing just such a Sunday morning, “At break of day the gathering commences-youth and age, beauty and the not so beautiful-all colors, nations and tongues are commingled in one heterogeneous mass of delightful confusion.” Continue reading

Nineteenth Century New Orleans and its Magnificent Obsession: Local Attitudes about Food; Dining at Home

“The truth is New Orleans appears to me to be at the extreme of everything, the hottest, the dirtiest, the most sickly, and at times the most healthy, the busiest, and the most dull, the wicked and the most orderly.” This frequently quoted remark was made by Bishop Whipple, a visitor to New Orleans in March, 1844. He goes on to say, “changes take place here with the rapidity of thought. Today rich, tomorrow poor, today well, tomorrow dead, today hot, tomorrow cold.” Continue reading