1836-1871: “A Sazerac Story” plus “The Dusky Socialite”

10 May

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Antoine Amede Peychaud and Blondeau

Among the early residents of the home was the apothecary Antoine Amede Peychaud, who was to play a prominent role in New Orleans’ cultural history. Long before today’s Hand Grenade or the last generation’s Hurricane, there was New Orleans’ first signature cocktail … the Sazerac. Peychaud developed this libation with a concoction of bitters and brandies, measured in a “coquetier,” or eggcup. The beverage has become legendary

In many Creole homes at that time, the first floor was used for commercial purposes, such as a store or office, but this appears not to have been the case
In a text titled “Social Life in Old New Orleans, Being Recollections of my Girlhood”, Ms Elize Ripley mentions Ms Henriette Blondeau part and parcel with her recollection of the “most fashionable Opera House in the land then”, the Old New Orleans Opera House: “dusky Henriette Blondeau comes, with her tignon stuck full of pins and the deep pockets of her apron bulging with sticks of bandoline, pots of pomade, hairpins and a bandeau comb, to dress the hair of mademoiselle” (68). For free blacks attention to hair and clothing could lend them a refinement that would break the color barrier of the era. Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau did similar work and built her name on the social life that ensued. According to the Ripley, Henriette was a “fashionable hair dresser” who achieved an envied style consisting of a “wide plait surrounding a nest of stiff puffs”, called the basket of fruit (111).

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