Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar - 941 Bourbon St.
It's reputed to be the oldest continually operating bar in the US. This is quite a claim. And, really hard to prove considering it was owned by a pirate, sorry privateer. People of this profession were not much into keeping records as their dealing were mostly illegal. The records do show that Jean Lafitte owned blacksmith shop at the corner of Bourbon and St. Philip.... On which corner it does not say. I'm posting the history from the Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop's webpage for your to look over below. You can come to your own conclusions!
From the Lafitte's webpage:
Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop -- built between 1722 and 1732 by Nicolas Touze, is reputed to be the oldest structure used as a bar in the United States. In 1722, further building is recorded by a realty transfer set down by one Don Andres Almonester. The structure and fence are in the old French Provincial Louis XV or Briquette-Entre-Poteauxe style used in French Louisiana. The building escaped two great fires at the turn of the 19th Century, due to slate roofing. Such slates are presently used by artists as canvases. Between 1772 and 1791, the property is believed to have been used by the Lafitte Brothers, Jean and Pierre as a New Orleans base for their Barataria smuggling operation. The legend is based on the fact that the property was owned by the family of Simon Duroche a.k.a. Castillon and the wily privateer Captain Rene Beluche. Castillon was a rather record-shy adventurer and entrepreneur. Captain Beluche commanded his ship "Spy" in Lafitte's Baratarian fleet. Although the owners of the property, Jean Baptiste Dominica Joly LaPorte probably lived on the premises, it is within reason that the Lafittes could have used the place as city base for negotiations with potential buyers of their goods. It is unlikely that a wealthy Creole would agree to meet at home on Royal Street. Bourbon and St. Phillip was probably regarded as a safe and convenient neutral ground. Like most New Orleans legends, Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop is a gumbo of truth and French, Spanish, African, Cajun and American embellishments.
I do know that they make the BEST hurricanes in the city (my opinion)! It is a great place to hang out and take in the local culture. I do have some recommendations while you're there. Many of the walking tours in the city stop by "The Shop" as some of our group call it, If they do go immediately to the bar or the bathroom whichever you need. Because all of those on the tour will want a drink and to go to the bathroom! Also, while you're there keep your eyes open for celebrities! It's a known hang out because it's off the radar of most the tourist bars. While in the bar, check out the photographs of the bar on their walls. They are all my work.
Here is a list of the pieces on the walls:
Lafitte's Secret- Over the fireplace
Curb Service - on the side entrance wall
Lafitte's Night - by the bar (this one is sold out, sorry)
Lafitte's - over the juke box (this one is sold out, sorry)
If you get there send me a picture! Oh, and have a Hurricane for me!