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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Absinthe and Bourbon: 1903

Absinthe and Bourbon: 1903

New Orleans circa 1903. "Old Absinthe House and Bourbon Street." (*Hic*) 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Wandering Around

My wife and I were at the Absinthe House several times over the years. Never as far back as 1903. Actually the last time was a few weeks before Katrina visited.
I may be wrong but we remember it as a gay bar. But then again we had been drinking too much soda pop and did always have fun.
I'd swear that hot dog vendor was there or very close even then.


Below is the same view from September of 2008. Interestingly, it appears that the same hot dog vendor from the Google Streetview provided by bluegrassboy hasn't moved from the corner. Maybe hot dogs go with absinthe.

The Trumpet Player

I was there in 1981, had a few shots and listened to the trumpet player. He said: "I'm 92, if I had known that I would live this long I would have taken better care of myself."

Drink Up Before It's Gone

A peek inside at Absinthe Room: 1906.

Motor Age, November 9, 1916.

New Orleans — America's Paris

The Old Absinthe House is one of the very few places where absinthe is obtainable in the United States at present, since the importation of it is now prohibited. No one seems to think a visit to New Orleans is complete unless one sees this old building and helps decrease the 17,000 cases of absinthe which were brought over between the time congress passed the law prohibiting the importation and the time the law became effective.

Somewhere, high on a wall

I don't know if this is done anymore, but back in the previous century on one visit to the Absinthe House I added my business card, along with that of my imbibing companion, a certain Barbara who was on Playboy's corporate staff in Los Angeles, to the thousands of cards pinned on just about every vertical surface in that pub. Maybe they're still up, along with that of one notable visitor, Mark Twain. Well, two notable visitors if you count Barbara.

At the time I was with a company that made chocolate in a town where the main street was Chocolate Avenue, so any place with a Bourbon Street address got my attention.
The souvenir cups had this on them:
Jean Lafitte's
Old Absinthe House
Since 1807
240 Bourbon Street
New Orleans

I'll take the streetcar

Those cobblestones look a bit too bumpy for my comfort, especially in a carriage with steel wheels.

Um, sweet Russ blocks

Arc lights, streetcar tracks, and steel gutter covers. Sadly, no people. Looks like a clear winter morning with minimal street offal. A-house still a decent bar, favorite of oil industry landmen. Overpriced drinks, but a must-visit during Xmas holidays when tourists are few and there's a blazing fire in the back fireplace. And btw, absinthe is legal again in LA.

Even Hollywood

couldn't come up with a better set than this.

Bienville St at Bourbon St

Google street view.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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