Happy Repeal Day New Orleans

Prohibition began on January 16th, 1920. The “great experiment” came to a crashing halt on December 5th, 1933. In that decade-plus long run not a drop of alcohol was produced or consumed in the United States.

Instead the populace contented themselves with cold glasses of sarsaparilla.

Maybe the occasional birch beer.

In truth, the term “roaring twenties” was based on what happened during prohibition. The underground saloons and speakeasies serving alcohol were such wild affairs that all the previous rules that had applied to the legal sale of alcohol were forgotten.

Women had been forbidden to enter bars pre-prohibition but during this dark era the fairer sex were welcomed into the world of hidden dives. Moonshiners, mobsters, rum runners and tough guys quickly figured out ways to get rich off the newly illicit trade.

Not old enough to legally drink? Teenagers flocked to the blind tigers

When we lived in Austin we used to love to hang out at Mickey’s Thirsty I. Owner Mickey Leather held court and regaled the crowds with tales of Texas during Prohibition.

The drinking didn’t slow down, and the Dixie mafia, and confidence men all got rich.

Until Franklin Delano Roosevelt came calling.

Speaking at the 1932 Democratic National Convention held in Chicago, FDR said: “This convention wants repeal. Your candidate wants repeal. And I am confident that the United States of America wants repeal.”

A scant eight months later, Roosevelt signed the Cullen–Harrison Act and the 21st Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified, thereby repealing the 18th Amendment, which had banned alcohol. Upon scrawling his signature he remarked “I think this would be a good time for a beer.”

Certainly there was a great gnashing of teeth amongst the suddenly unemployed bootleggers.

New Orleans is one of the world’s greatest drinking cities but truth be told we do very little imbibing in our town’s bars. After hundreds of nights tippling amidst the throngs we far prefer the comforts of home when it comes time for a cocktail or cold glass of beer.

On those rare evenings when we venture forth from the 9th Ward in search of revelry you’ll generally find us out at Little People’s Place in Treme, the Black Penny in the French Quarter or Whiskey Bayou in nearby Arabi.

If you’re intent on the pleasure of the bar room these are some of New Orleans’ finest.

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