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New Orleans Tourism

On the southern shores of America, where the Mississippi River meets the Gulf, New Orleans was already a bustling port settlement by 1718.

That was more than 50 years before the Declaration of Independence was signed.

And yet, New Orleans not only existed, but it was open for business, playing host to one of the largest and busiest ports in the New World — as well as all the goods and culture that came flooding in along with it. Salt, lumber, fur, fish, produce, and more — including, of course, coffee.


[rebelmouse-image 19530716 dam="1" original_size="800x595" caption="Image by A. Mondelli and William J. Bennett/Wikimedia Commons." expand=1]Image by A. Mondelli and William J. Bennett/Wikimedia Commons.

While coffee didn’t become really popular in America as a whole until the Boston Tea Party sent colonists in search of a new breakfast beverage, in New Orleans it basically came with the territory. And over time, coffee grew from just a warm cup of caffeine into a cultural staple. As the swamps and bayous evolved, coffee remained, fueling the colonists, traders, builders, soldiers, pirates, criminals, and gentry of The City that Care Forgot.

Much of coffee’s history in the South has been forgotten by anyone but those who remain there participating in it still. But the path that coffee has carved through New Orleans is as fascinating as the city itself.

[rebelmouse-image 19530717 dam="1" original_size="640x426" caption="Image by jen/Flickr." expand=1]Image by jen/Flickr.

From the very earliest moments in New Orleans history, coffee was as much a part of the city as anything else.

New Orleans was founded in 1718 by Jean Baptiste Le Moyne, the governor of French Louisiana, who settled it as a trading outpost on the crescent of high ground resting above the mouth of the Mississippi. And when Le Moyne and his French explorers reached the river, they brought coffee with them.

Coffee had arrived in Europe in the 16th century, brought there by Turkish slaves, so Europeans had developed a taste for it. Colonizers took it along with them anywhere they went to aid in staying awake on long nights of watch and exploration that the New World might bring.

Image via iStock.

After they settled "Nouvelle Orleans" and opened it for trade, goods started flowing in and out not just among Europeans, but also from the Caribbean and Latin America. It wasn't long before coffee beans were among the products coming from Cuba, Brazil, and beyond.

Coffee remained in New Orleans throughout 300 years of transformation, and in the process, it did some transforming of its own.

It quickly became a staple beverage to the colony, powering the long hours and tireless trading that kept the port city open for business. As cultures and tastes shifted with time, so did the coffee recipe — which is how New Orleans ended up with the distinctive chicory recipe it is famous for today.

[rebelmouse-image 19530719 dam="1" original_size="2048x1367" caption="Image by Steven Guzzardi/Flickr." expand=1]Image by Steven Guzzardi/Flickr.

This recipe dates back to 1808, when Napoleon instituted the Continental Blockade, preventing France from getting most of its coffee. Their supply dwindling, the French started adding a locally grown plant called chicory to their drink in order to add to its flavor. Ultimately, many developed a taste for it even after the blockade was lifted and coffee trade resumed.

When French colonists continued to arrive in Louisiana, many still favored the chicory recipe, and the tradition became widespread at coffee stands and cafés in New Orleans.

[rebelmouse-image 19530720 dam="1" original_size="750x500" caption="Photo by Alex Jones/Unsplash." expand=1]Photo by Alex Jones/Unsplash.

Now, Café du Monde is world-renowned for its chicory coffee, which is served at the restaurant alongside pastries called beignets — fried dough sprinkled with powdered sugar. People flock from all over the world to try the combo at Café du Monde — so many, in fact, that the restaurant serves little else.

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But coffee culture in New Orleans reaches beyond the chicory recipe. Some even claim the "coffee break" was invented there.

In Lyle Saxon's 1928 book "Fabulous New Orleans," he describes the way businessmen in the city had developed a habit of getting coffee together at the beginning or end of a meeting.

"It is no unusual thing for a businessman to say casually: 'Well, let's go and get a cup of coffee,' as a visitor in his office is making ready to depart," he says. "It is a little thing perhaps, this drinking of coffee at odd times, but it is very characteristic of the city itself. Men in New Orleans give more thought to the business of living than men in other American cities."

[rebelmouse-image 19530722 dam="1" original_size="750x422" caption="Photo by Tim Wright/Unsplash." expand=1]Photo by Tim Wright/Unsplash.

Though no one knows for sure whether it was invented there, the coffee break was certainly strongly characteristic of commerce in New Orleans and helped contribute to coffee's prominence at the front of the city's culture.

Another unique thing that New Orleans-ers do is the "café brûlot," a difficult and theatrical take on an after-dinner coffee.

Image via Paul Broussard and NewOrleansOnline.com, used with permission.

It involves a long, spiraled orange peel, a lemon peel cut into strips, sugar, cloves, cinnamon, cognac or brandy, and black coffee.

Oh, and it's also set on fire.

Antoine's Restaurant, the oldest in New Orleans, claims that Antoine's son Jules invented the drink sometime in the 1890s, and it still serves it today.

[rebelmouse-image 19530724 dam="1" original_size="1024x742" caption="Image via Salix/Wikimedia Commons." expand=1]Image via Salix/Wikimedia Commons.

In every form, New Orleans' coffee embodies the spirit of the city itself, reflecting 300 years of history in each sip.

Whether it's true chicory coffee, a warm French café au lait, or a flaming café brûlot, these takes on the classic drink are set apart from the rest in their definitively, decidedly New Orleans nature.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Matthew McConaughey in 2019.

Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey made a heartfelt plea for Americans to “do better” on Tuesday after a gunman murdered 19 children and 2 adults at Robb Elementary School in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.

Uvalde is a small town of about 16,000 residents approximately 85 miles west of San Antonio. The actor grew up in Uvalde until he was 11 years old when his family moved to Longview, 430 miles away.

The suspected murderer, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed by law enforcement at the scene of the crime. Before the rampage, Ramos allegedly shot his grandmother after a disagreement.

“As you all are aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my home town of Uvalde, Texas,” McConaughey wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us.”

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Meet Eva, the hero dog who risked her life saving her owner from a mountain lion

Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.

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A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

She told TODAY, “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”

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