New Orleans, Louisiana is in the south east corner of the state and has one of the busiest sea ports in the United States. Common nicknames for the city are The Big Easy and The Crescent City. While most other states divide their state into counties, Louisiana has parishes and New Orleans is in the Orleans parish. The city is well known for its celebration of Mardi Gras, jazz music and Creole and Cajun cuisine. New Orleans was founded in 1718 and there are many historical buildings that provide a glimpse into this architectural era. One of the buildings that still stands today is the Old Absinthe House.
The building was erected in 1807 and was originally used as an importing business. Pedro Front and Francisco Juncadelia of Barcelona were the owners. This building sits on the corner of Bourbon and Bienville streets and really became the first "corner grocery store'' in the area. The business of selling items of food, tobacco and Spanish spirits continued for about forty years.
In 1815 the nephews of Senora Juncadelia took over the ground floor to run a coffee house. The name was changed from Aleix's Coffee House to The Absinthe House after the creation of a drink called the Absinthe House Frappe in 1874. The drink became famous in New Orleans and when people visit they can still see the original marble fountains that helped create this famous concoction.
These fountains dripped cool water over sugar cubes that were positioned over glasses of the alcohol Absinthe. Famous celebrities became fond of absinthe throughout the years. P.T. Barnum, Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, General Robert E. Lee and Edgar Allen Poe were among some of the more famous patrons of the Old Absinthe House. The original bar was made of wood and then topped with copper. During Prohibition the bar was removed so that it could be kept safe from destruction. The bar top was taken back to the original bar in 2004.
There are rumors that the pirate Jean Lafitte met with Andrew Jackson at the bar to plan strategies to win the Battle of New Orleans. That is why the tavern bears the name of Jean Lafitte's Old Absinthe House. Tony Moran who is a descendant of "Diamond Jim Moran'' a famous legend in New Orleans now owns the Old Absinthe House.
Absinthe was prohibited in 1912 because of its known narcotic properties. Today the Absinthe House Frappe is made mainly with Herbsaint, a more acceptable spirit. There are other drinks that can be found at the Old Absinthe House such as an Old Fashioned, Sazerac, Mint Julep and an Absinthe Suissesse. Many of these drinks are considered to represent the history of New Orleans and are favorites of the residents.
The French Quarter is a popular place to stay and is considered to be the heart of New Orleans. Meals are available at the many restaurants in the area. In the evening the French Quarter is closed to traffic so that the parties from the many clubs, bars and restaurants can spill into the streets.