History of Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop

Built during the settlement of New Orleans

Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop was built between 1722 and 1732 by Nicolas Touze. It has been called the oldest continually used bar in the United States. The thousands of patrons who have come through these doors in the last nearly 300 years include both the famous and the infamous. Many pictures adorn the walls of the celebrities who have visited, including Nicholas Cage and Tennessee Williams, who was a regular here.

Between 1772 and 1791, this property is thought to have been used by the Lafitte brothers, Jean and Pierre, as a base for their smuggling operations out of Barataria. Jean Lafitte was a pirate, an entrepreneur, a sailor, a spy, and one of the heroes of the Battle of New Orleans. Although the details about his early life are unclear and many details about his life are contradictory, he was the “go-to” man of the time for whatever anyone wanted.

Home to heroes of the War of 1812

In 1815, Lafitte agreed to help General Andrew Jackson defend New Orleans against the British. In return for a pardon, Lafitte supplied arms, ammunition, and men to General Jackson at Chalmette, the site of the Battle of New Orleans. The British stepped into a screaming hell of pirates, woodsmen, Native Americans, and free people of color under the cover of a thick fog. They were no match for this rough and ready mélange of New World settlers.

The tavern’s building is one of the older surviving structures in New Orleans. The building escaped the two great New Orleans fires at the turn of the 19th Century, thanks to its slate roofing. The structure and fence are in the old French Provincial Louis XV style used in French Louisiana.

To retain its old New Orleans charm the current bar, even today, does not use electric lights and is all gas-lit.

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