The Old Absinthe House is on Bourbon Street, and the reason why I like these place iis because of the liquor that gave it its name. It obviously does no longer serve 'real' absinthe since this stuff has become illegal a long time ago, yet, at the Old Absinthe House you can still soak up the atmosphere left behind by history's most notorious liquor. If you want to find out more about the history of absinthe, I can warmly recommend Absinthe - History in a Bottle by Barnaby Conrad III.
The Old Absinthe House was built for an importing business in 1806 by two gentlemen of Barcelona. They traded in food, tobacco and Spanish liquor. The ground floor was converted into a saloon known as "Aleix's Coffee House" in 1815. The coffee house was later renamed "The Absinthe Room" when mixologist Cayetano Ferrer created the Absinthe House Frappe there in 1874. This drink was a favourite drink of countless famous people, especially artists and writers who seem to find inspiration from the daze effects of the drink. It was later found that the drink was fairly dangerous because of the wormwood which was used in the making which had narcotic properties. The Absinthe was associated with hallucinations, delirium, madness and even death and consequently it became outlawed in the U.S.
The Old Absinthe House today and now houses Tony Moran's Restaurant, Ristorante Pasta E Vino. The front room is still a tavern known as Jean Lafitte's Old Absinthe House. It was named as such after a rumoured meeting of the Pirate Jean Lafitte and Andrew Jackson to plan the battle of New Orleans there in the upper rooms of the house. Many notables have entered the doors such as Oscar Wilde. P.T. Barnum, Mark Twain, Jenny Lind, Enrico Caruso, Gen. Robert E Lee, Franklin Roosevelt, Liza Minelli and Frank Sinatra. The walls in restaurant are covered in the framed photographs of several of the famous patrons.
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