10 Things You probably Don’t Know About New Orleans
1. The caramel color of Bourbon was an accident and originated from immense demand for "Red Liquor" in new orleans.
Story has it that in the 1820s Kentucky Bourbon was shipped down south in new oak barrels preserving the liquor's clear color. However, as soon as New Orleanians sipped the wonderful spirit, demand was off the charts. The Kentuckians soon ran out of new barrels and needed to use anything they could find. Often, they would use old barrels that contained anything from rusty nails to fish heads. To sterilize the barrels, they would char the inside. Unbeknownst to the Kentucky bourbon makers, the spirit's color had taken on a red hue as it aged in the charred barrels when it arrived in New Orleans 5 month's later.
2. What's the difference between Cajun and Creole?
One can go on and on about the differences between the two distinct cultures in New Orleans. Simply, Creole people refer to the descendants of aristocratic upper class Europeans from Spain and France. The term specifically in Louisiana has grown to include free people of color and native born slaves from African decent. When it comes to food, Creole is typically refined city cuisine using a variety of spices and European cooking techniques with influences from France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Germany, Africa, Native America and the Caribbean, to name a few.
Cajuns were descendants of French settlers who came to Canada, known as Acadians. Forcibly removed from their homes in Canada, the Acadians fled to Louisiana in what became known as Le Grand Dérangement. Acadians were incredibly resourceful, living off the land and learning techniques such as farming, foraging and hunting from native people. They became famous for their black pots and slow cooking techniques (braising). Cajun people are from the southern countryside and their food is rustic and indicative of wild game, fish, and produce. These days however, it's hard to differentiate as there has been a lot of cross pollination between Cajun and Creole food.
3. Who really makes the best Po' Boy Sandwich?
The Verdict by THE SWEAT SOCIAL TEAM
Parkway Bakery for their Fried Shrimp
Parasol's for their Roast Beef
Verti Marte for the All That Jazz
But if you want to get more exotic, this list by Serious Eats is solid.
4. The legendary treasure of the Pirate Jean Lafitte and his Brother has never been found. It's Still out there...somewhere.
5. One of the best places to see a ghost is in the Pavillon Hotel.
Legend has it that the hotel is haunted by a distinguished older gentlemen who likes to play pranks on the hotel staff. Other specters include an aristocratic couple from the roaring 20's, and a sweet, but spooky teenaged girl from the 19th century. The bar isn't safe ground either and rumors of ghosts enjoying a stiff drink have been circling for years.
6. Go explore secret rooms locked in the past.
Check out the Antique Store M.S. Rau Antiques on Royal Street. Politely ask for a tour and to be shown the secret room and be dazzled by works of art, antiques and historic artifacts from a time long ago.
7. The Fair Grounds isn't just the location of Jazz Fest.
You can see ostrich and zebra races too!
8. Who has the Best Happy Hours and Deals?
Lükes for 75 cent oysters, half priced cocktails and wine (our favorite). Mannings has 50 cent drafts with any entrée order on Friday only from 11-3pm (ask for the deal or you won't get it). Red Fish has 50 cent oysters and 2 for 1 drafts and wine Monday through Thursday. Les Bon Temps Roulé uptown has great live music and FREE oysters from 7pm until they run out on Friday's. Samuel's Blind Pelican promotes 1 dozen raw oysters for 3 bucks if you buy a drink during happy hour, held everyday. Commander's Palace has a great pre-set lunch menu that's not too bad on the wallet and you get up to three 25 cent martinis before the cut you off (trust us, it's plenty). Have fun!
9. WE have some very famous residents & celebrities
Celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, Harry Connick Jr., Reese Witherspoon, Richard Simmons (represent fitness!),Tyler Perry, Louis Armstrong, Truman Capote and even Lee Harvey Oswald were all born in New Orleans. You can see the full list of celebrities that have come from NOLA here. Matthew McConaughey owns a home here and Nicolas Cage has built an amazing eye sore of a tomb to be buried in located next to the resting place of Marie Laveau - the famous voodoo queen. Brad and Angelina just sold their place in the French Quarter and Beyoncè and Jay-Z just purchased a $2.6 million home here.
10. The best (we think) cocktails that have originated in new orleans
The Ramos Gin Fizz - Created by Henry C. Ramos in the 1880s, the Ramos Gin Fizz combines dry gin, heavy cream, egg whites, simple syrup, orange blossom water, lemon + lime juice.
The Sazerac - Invented in the 1830's by Antoine Peychaud in his pharmacy, the Sazerac combines rye whiskey, sugar, Peychaud Bitters, Herbsaint or absinthe and a lemon peel.
Creole Bloody Mary - It's a bloody mary with more of a horseradish kick finished with amazing garnishes. Step aside celery and top your creole bloody mary with pickled okra and string beans.
Brandy Milk Punch - Brandy, whole milk, simple syrup, vanilla extract. Although this drink may not have been invented in NOLA it is deeply intertwined in the culture here.
The Pimms Cup - Ok, ok it wasn't invented here, but we sure have taken ownership of it. This wonderful summer drink was made popular at the Napolean House in the 1940s and includes Pimm's 21 liquor, Lemonade, 7-Up and muddled cucumber and lemon.
Brandy Crusta - A precursor to the Sidecar and invented in the 1850's at the Jewel of the South Bar, this cocktail combines cognac, grand marnier, marashino juice, simple syrup, lemon juice and Angostura bitters.
The Hurricane - Invented at Pat O'Briens in the 1940's the hurricane is a combination of dark rum, lemon and lime juice, and passion fruit syrup, garnished with a slice of orange.
The Bywater - New on the scene and named after its inventor's Favorite Neighborhood, this drink combines aged rum, green Chartreuse, Averna Amaro and Velvet Falurnum.
A Few Free Bonuses, a.k.a, Cultural "Lagniappe"
If you ever hear the term "Neutral Ground" it commonly refers to a median (we don't use that word) in other cities and it was where the French and the Spanish could do their business without conflict in old New Orleans. Oh and locals call avacado's "Alligator Pears."
There's a lot more to New Orleans than Bourbon Street.
Enjoy traveling off the path and experiencing some culture.
THE SWEAT SOCIAL TEAM