Jean Lafitte. Not having an intricate knowledge of the history of the South before our trip to Louisiana this name was foreign to me. After hearing it for the first time on the first day, I heard it many, many times thereafter.
Jean Lafitte is known round these parts as the hero of the Battle of New Orleans. Noble, you say? Not sure, there is much speculation about his life and death but don’t let the truth crowd a good story huh. He was a go to guy, his life story seems to be a string of antics and exploits peppered with a good deal of mystery and suspense.
Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop is located on Bourbon Street. It is thought that he spent his earlier years there as a safe place off Royal Street to orchestrate the transfer of smuggled goods. First established in 1772 Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop is reportedly the oldest structure used as a bar in the United States. But, like most New Orleans legends, Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop is a gumbo of truth and French, Spanish, African, Cajun and American embellishments. Again with the gumbo.
It is quintessentially New Orleans and away from the majority of the crowds, even though it’s on Bourbon Street. We headed down there one afternoon for a bit of a look-see and it was an interesting little stop but the bar was pretty intense. There was some fairly serious hip hop music going on, especially for three in the afternoon, and at risk of sounding like I am 87, it was loud. We didn’t end up hanging around for a drink, we just grabbed a beer in a go cup (I love you New Orleans) to go and continued with our walk.
I do wish we’d hung around a little longer and if I’m lucky enough to visit New Orleans again, I’ll go back.
Have you been to Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop? What did you think of it?