New Orleans Is a Tobacco Town

I’m smoking a cigar as I write this.  I bought it in the French Quarter.  It was rolled right there in the shop: The New Orleans Cigar Factory.  This shop was on Bourbon Street, but I think the main shop is on Decatur Street.  They have a couple of outlets scattered throughout the French Quarter.

Louisiana isn’t particularly known as a tobacco state.  I know all about perique tobacco but I’m not going to discuss it today.  If you want to email me to correct me that perique tobacco only comes from St. James Parish in Louisiana, feel free to write.  If you don’t what perique tobacco is, you probably don’t need to, so this paragraph is meaningless to you.  Google it and you can find out more.  Like I need to tell you that.

Aside from perique, Louisiana isn’t particularly known as a tobacco state.  New Orleans, however, is a notably tobacco-friendly city.  It’s been two years, I think, since we were last allowed to smoke legally in bars.  The city passed an ordinance to forbid smoking indoors at bars in order to keep the medical association business rolling into our convention center.  Cross the parish line and leave New Orleans, you can smoke in bars in the rest of Louisiana.

I can’t say that I miss the smell of cigarettes in bars.  My fondness is for cigars and pipe tobacco.  I’m smoking a cigar as I type this, if I haven’t mentioned that already.  No smoking in our inn, however, not even by me and I’m in charge of everything.  I set the rules.  If I don’t smoke indoors, even when no one is around, neither can you.

Most of our guests don’t smoke.  This is only an observation, a fact that is neither here nor there to me.  My job isn’t to judge anyone’s vices.  My job is to share the New Orleans state of mind.  La Belle Esplanade is your New Orleans adventure headquarters while you’re here.  Just don’t come to breakfast naked.  Ours isn’t a clothing-optional establishment.  If you’re looking to hang out in the altogether you should consider staying here, or here.  As far as I know, both places allow smoking outdoors.  Don’t quote me on that when you tell them I sent you there.

There are cigar shops all over the French Quarter, and there are a few located in other parts of New Orleans, mostly Uptown.  I go to Mayan Imports on Magazine Street, in an old orphanage, but there’s also Dos Jefes on Tchoupitoulas Street.  That ins’t a typo, it really is spelled Tchoupitoulas.  Do Jefes is a really nice cigar bar.

I don’t only enjoy hand rolled cigars made a mile from our house.  I sometimes enjoy the occasional machine made cigar.

We had some census takers stay with us recently:


New Orleans is a tobacco town
An old Tiparillo ad, circa 1967


I would offer a census take a Tiparillo, if I had any.  Unfortunately, I don’t keep Tiparillos around the inn, even when a dental hygienist stays with us.


New Orleans is a tobacco town
Another old Tiparillo ad, circa 1968


We do have a jar in our lobby stocked with cigars.  One of them is planted with an explosive charge.  We don’t charge if you want to try one of our lobby cigars.  Just remember: no cigar smoking in the house!  I’m waiting for someone to pick the explosive one.  La Belle Esplanade is full of surprises.  Let the hilarity begin!

New Orleans is full of surprises.  You’ve never been to a city like this.  New Orleans is a tobacco town, but it’s a whole lot more than that.

There’s a sidewalk in the Central Business District in New Orleans, I think its on Baronne Street.  Years ago there was a tobacconist at that address and his tiled sign is still cemented into the sidewalk, or banquette, as we like to call the sidewalk in New Orleans.  The largest cigar factory in the United States used to be located in New Orleans, but that was a few blocks from where you’ll find this sign.


New Orleans is a tobacco town
Cigars & Tobacco sign in a New Orleans sidewalk


Come discover more things than you can possibly imagine in New Orleans.  You can stay in the French Quarter if you want to stay inside the tourist bubble.  If that doesn’t particularly appeal to you, you can stay outside the French Quarter at the most interesting place to stay in America’s most interesting city.  You’re on the right website for that.  10 million people visited New Orleans last year.  We only have five suites.  This is your chance of a lifetime.

À votre santé,

La Belle Esplanade

….where every morning begins with a curated breakfast salon.

Monday, February 6, 2017:  I met with a couple of our fellow New Orleans innkeepers this afternoon.  Bonnie said she’d probably read about the meeting on La Belle’s blog tonight.  I just mentioned it.  This blog installment is dedicated to The Grand Victorian.  If our inn happens to be full and you’re not looking for a clothing-optional place, check out the Grand Victorian.  You’ll love it.