In June of 1993 Silocaf began operations in New Orleans.

A subsidiary of Pacorini Global of Trieste, Italy, a stevedoring and logistics firm, their facility, a coffee silo, is located adjacent to the Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal. This is the point where 300,000 tons of green coffee beans annually enter the United States. This ties New Orleans with New York City for annual gross bean importage.

“It has been said that the best barometer of the destiny of the Port of New Orleans is coffee,” wrote T.J. Conroy in the New Orleans Port Record, in 1943.

We drink a lot of coffee in New Orleans and have since we were youngsters. Back then a cup meant equal parts cream, coffee and sugar but nowadays we take it black.

All grown up.

New Orleanians are obsessed with coffee. There are hundreds of sources for a good cup in town ranging from Merchant, sleekly self aware in the CBD, to Flora, benignly grubby and serving crusty punks along with the new gentry that has infiltrated the Marigny over the last decade.

Our favorite is Cafe Rose Nicaud on Frenchmen. Not for the coffee although it’s fine, but for the inevitable camaraderie that we encounter on the sidewalk cafe out front. You can’t get through the morning paper without having a good conversation with a complete stranger.

Now, The Historic New Orleans Collection is preparing to fete the coffee of the Crescent City via a conference titled “From Dancing Goats to Green Mermaids: Coffee and New Orleans”

Attendance is mandatory as the lineup for the affair is a murderer’s row of heavy hitters in the Deep South world of arts and letters.


Dr. Jessica B. Harris, Queens College/CUNY is a founding member of Southern Foodways Alliance and a leading authority on African foods. When she speaks we listen.

Mark Pendergrast is a Harvard educated writer whose “Uncommon Grounds” is the benchmark book on coffee history.

John Magill has been with The Historic New Orleans Collection for over 30 years. From his position as curator, Magill has secured his New Orleans bona fides via countless articles in magazines pertinent to the region as well as numerous contributions to New Orleans-related books.

and Poppy Tooker, gal about town, expert on all things New Orleans, noted author, chef, radio personality and person of intrigue. We are always on alert for Poppy sightings around town as she’s one of the ladies that makes New Orleans the finest city in all of USA.

At the end of the conference, registrants will adjourn to nearby Tableau, Dickie Brennan’s restaurant, for a Cafe Brulot demo and tasting. You haven’t experienced New Orleans properly til you’ve had a boozy, flaming cup of Cafe Brulot, preferably served by a silver haired waiter with at least 40 years of flaming experience.


Date: Saturday, June 7, 2014

Time: 9 a.m.–3:30 p.m

Place: Williams Research Center, 410 Chartres Street

Our guide to the coffee houses of the Faubourg Marigny is right this way link

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