POSTED Tue. Sep 23, 2014


Southern Food & Beverage Museum to open new digs
Adam Karlin
Written by ADAM KARLIN

Any bucket list of qualities that makes New Orleans special inevitably include some rock solid standbys: our food, our drink, our architecture, our music. When those are the strengths you wear on your sleeve, it’s always nice to have a museum that focuses exclusively on two of those qualities.

We’re talking about the Southern Food & Beverage Museum, or SoFAB, which is dedicated, in its own words, “to the discovery, understanding and celebration of the food, drink and related culture of the South.” That’s a lofty mission by any measure, and when you’re covering such a fascinating array of topics, you need some good housing.

So join your city in welcoming SoFAB’s newest digs: the revamped Southern Food and Beverage Museum and Museum of the American Cocktail, at 1504 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd (formerly the Dryades Market) in Central City, on Sep 29.

Why, you may ask, a Southern Food and Beverage Museum? And why put that museum, or a museum dedicated to the cocktail, in New Orleans?

Last question first. The cocktail gets a museum here because it may have been invented in New Orleans. This largely depends on what you classify as a ‘cocktail’, but if you believe that it is a mixed drink that includes bitters, then New Orleans is the granddaddy of the concept, seeing as Antoine Peychaud invented bitters at his apothecary at 514 Chartres (now site of the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum).

Furthermore, while the rest of the country has been undergoing a craft cocktail craze, concurrently, cocktails never really fell out of favor in New Orleans. We’re not saying they dominated the local drinking scene in the ’80s and ’90s – the Crescent City was susceptible to booze trends like Lynchburg Lemonade and Zima and wine coolers, just like everywhere else – but where you might have gotten a funny look when ordering an Old Fashioned in the rest of the country, here you would have gotten a nod and a very good drink. Let’s not forget, by the way, about the sheer amount of cocktails invented here that list alone justifies posting a Museum of the American Cocktail in the soil of Orleans Parish.

As for having a museum dedicated to the specific regional cuisine of the South, the fact is the South contains the most recognizable indigenous cuisine in the country, and New Orleans contains the most recognizable distinct cuisine within that region. So by dint of this heritage – not to mention this really is the best place to eat in the country, given a long tradition of hospitality, innovation and a penchant for absolutely dominating annual culinary awards – New Orleans is a natural home for the Southern Food and Beverage Museum. In any case, someone out there has to explain the difference between Cajun and Creole.

Hope to see you at the SoFAB Grand Opening. Remember that SoFAB Culinary Library and Archive, a non-circulating library that is open to the public for research and browsing, is located nearby at 1609 O.C. Haley. Eventually, the library will house over 11,000 cookbooks along, with documents and archival materials related to the culinary history of the city and state. Here’s a final temptation for showing up on Sunday: you’ll get to see the grand roll out for Purloo, a restaurant located on the SoFAB premises, dedicated, like the Southern Food & Beverage Institute itself, to the cuisine of the South

Image courtesy of Facebook.

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    Our Local Publisher Partners

    • The Arts Council of New Orleans
    • WWNO
    • WWOZ
    • PRC
    • NOMA
    • The Historic New Orleans Collection
    • Southern Food
    • Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities
    The Arts Council of New Orleans

    The Arts Council of New Orleans is a private, non-profit organization designated as the City’s official arts agency. The Arts Council serves as one of eight regional distributing agencies for state arts funds and administers available municipal arts grants and the Percent For Art program for the City of New Orleans. The Arts Council works in partnership with the City of New Orleans, community groups, local, state, and national governmental agencies, and other nonprofit arts organizations to meet the arts and cultural needs of the New Orleans community through a diversity of initiatives and services.


    WWNO, the NPR member station for New Orleans, serves southeast Louisiana and parts of southwest Mississippi by broadcasting balanced news, thought provoking analysis, classical music, jazz and other musical styles, intelligent entertainment, and unique local content. We broadcast on 89.9 FM, and KTLN 90.5 FM in the Houma-Thibodaux area as a public service of the University of New Orleans. All of WWNO’s programs, including its growing local news coverage, are available online at


    WWOZ 90.7 FM is the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Station offering listener-supported, volunteer-programmed community radio. WWOZ covers many events live in and around the city and across the United States, and broadcasts live from the famed New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival annually. WWOZ’s mission is to be the worldwide voice, archive, and flag-bearer of New Orleans culture and musical heritage.


    Preservation Resource Center (PRC) has been preserving, restoring, and revitalizing New Orleans’ historic architecture and neighborhoods since 1974. Throughout its history, PRC has acted as an advocacy agent on a local, regional, and national scale, spreading the word about the city’s rich architectural heritage and the economic importance of preserving this heritage. PRC also takes a hands-on approach to preservation, with a history of successfully restoring over 1,400 properties. The center strengthens and revitalizes New Orleans in a way that is forward-looking and sustainable, yet sensitive to the city’s past and its heritage.


    As a nexus for the arts in New Orleans, NOMA is committed to preserving, interpreting, and enriching its collections and renowned sculpture garden; offering innovative experiences for learning and interpretation; and uniting, inspiring, and engaging diverse communities and cultures.

    The Historic New Orleans Collection

    The Historic New Orleans Collection (THNOC) is a museum, research center, and publisher dedicated to preserving the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South. Its holdings comprise more than one million items from more than three centuries, documenting moments both major and minor. Its four exhibition spaces–the Williams Gallery, the Louisiana History Galleries, the Boyd Cruise Gallery, and the Laura Simon Nelson Galleries for Louisiana Art–faithfully depict the multicultural stories of the region, from permanent displays exploring the evolution of Louisiana to rotating exhibitions showcasing history and fine art.

    Southern Food

    The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is a nonprofit living history organization dedicated to the discovery, understanding and celebration of the food, drink and the related culture of the South. While based in New Orleans, the Museum examines and celebrates all the cultures that have come together through the centuries to create the South’s unique culinary heritage. The Museum is also home to the collections of the Museum of the American Cocktail, the Galerie d’Absinthe, and a demonstration kitchen.

    Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities

    The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities to all Louisianans.

    The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ mission is to provide all Louisianans with access to and an appreciation of their own rich, shared and diverse historical, literary and cultural heritage through grant-supported outreach programs, family literacy and adult reading initiatives, teacher professional development institutes, publications, film and radio documentaries, museum exhibitions, cultural tourism, public lectures, library projects, and other public humanities programming.



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