Green Fairy in the Big Easy


The Southern Food and Beverage Museum's

La Galerie d'Absinthe
Courtesy of the Southern Food and Beverage Museum

 serves up a profusion of artifacts associated with the herbal liqueur favored by debauched artists and denizens of the night. A mismatched assortment of glass cases overflows with the silvered paraphernalia the drink's classic presentation requires, as well as hundreds of dusty bottles, newspaper clippings, labels, and even elaborate fountains designed to dispense the high-proof beverage.

The exhibit celebrates New Orleans' proud history of scoffing at vice scolds, including a decidedly damp Prohibition period and an uninterrupted tradition of absinthe consumption—even during the decades "the green fairy" was banned in the United States.

The bright, informal museum (which shares space with the Museum of the American Cocktail) is located in a pleasant airy loft. But Bourbon Street tourists take note: You will have to leave the city's familiar bacchanalia and walk under a seedy overpass to get there.