Octoberfest New Orleans is here. There are plenty of reasons to celebrate when October comes around in Southeast Louisiana. The weather turns from unbearably hot and muggy to mild and pleasant. And equally important, it’s now time to celebrate German immigrants and their cultural contributions to Louisiana.
Germans introduced Octoberfest to a Southeast Louisiana region that has always appreciated a good party. After all, in the mid-1800’s German brew masters introduced lager beer to New Orleans-area residents eager to learn how to keep their beer fresh. By then, Octoberfest was already an annual celebration in the old country.
The History of Octoberfest
King Ludwig of Bavaria started it all in 1810, when he chose a bride of such beauty that he wanted all of his countrymen to share in his great joy. The King hoisted a glass of good Bavarian beer and told his royal subjects: “All of Germany is invited to a state fair to help me celebrate my wedding to the fairest creature ever to hoist a stein.”
King Ludwig and his queen were so pleased with the first celebration that they called another party the following October. Then another, and another, and another. The world took notice, and ever since, come October, it’s time to enjoy a cold German beer along with “Leckerbissen” (goodies) such as bratwurst, pretzel and sauerkraut.
Get Me To The Food!
In New Orleans, several German restaurants serve genuine German cuisine and German “Bier”. The Crescent City Brewhouse in the French Quarter (527 Decatur Street) brews its own beer on the premises, following the German beer purity law of 1516, known as the “Reinheitsgebot”.
The Deutsches Haus on Bayou St. John (1700 Moss Street), and the Bratz Y’all beer garden in the Bywater neighborhood (617 Piety Street) offer German specialties such as Flammkuchen, (a pizza-like savory dish) and Schweinshaxe (pork knuckle).
Most importantly, all of them will serve whatever beer you choose in the appropriate traditional beer mug. This is the most important to a German beer drinker. Depending on what you drink, there are Pilsner glasses, Weizenbier glasses, Snifters, Tulips, Thistles. No, it’s not always a Stein. Prost!
Even though Octoberfest New Orleans is “officially” cancelled, there are still ways to celebrate responsibly during this strange year of 2020. The Deutsches Haus welcomes everyone to come and enjoy their Gemütlichkeit which is a German language word used to convey the idea of warmth, friendliness, and good cheer. Next week our Local “Guide” Food Review visits the German restaurant Bratz Y’all.
Many thanks to Regine Richter McClain, New Orleans Tour Guide, for this post.
The Savvy Native is a group of experienced local tour guides who were either born in New Orleans or wish they had been.
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