I was wondering where I could find information on the history of Jax Brewery. I am supposed to have a relative who helped build the brewery.
I would be happy to give you some basic information about the brewery. The charter for the Jackson Brewery was adopted on June 23, 1890. On July 2, the property was purchased, and construction began about three weeks later. The brewery was an independent institution, and its officers were Hermann Schurr, president; Charles Rieder, vice president; and Luis Imbolte, secretary/treasurer. Other directors were Cyrus T. Rayner, W.M. Lonsdale and Joseph Harz. The brewer was Thomas Hofer.
The formal opening -- a festive occasion to which the pubic was invited -- was on Saturday, June 6, 1891. After a stirring oration by Judge E.K. Skinner, much beer was dispensed to hundreds of guests who declared the brew was first class in every respect and wished a long life to the Jackson Brewery and its officers.
By November, the brewery had a new president: David Jackson, a steamboat captain. A few years after that, a restaurant owner named Lawrence Fabacher Sr. took control of the corporation. For many years after it was more or less a family-run business.
Eventually it became the largest independent brewery in the South and the 10th largest single-plant brewery in the country. During Prohibition the firm -- unlike many breweries that were forced to close -- stayed in constant operation manufacturing near beer (alcohol-free malt beverages), root beer and other soft drinks.
The 1970s were lean years for the company. The Fabachers sold out to Jim Howard from Chicago and his company, Meister Brau Inc. The new owner made a fatal mistake when he failed to advertise. He lost a fortune -- more than $2 million in 20 months -- and the brewery closed. Then in 1984, it was reincarnated and became an upscale shopping mall that sells all manner of beer -- except for Jax.
You might like to check out the small museum in the mall that is devoted to the brewery; it's free and open to the public. But if you really want to read all about it in the newspapers of the day, in particular the Daily Picayune of 1891, you should go the main branch of the New Orleans Public Library on Loyola and Tulane avenues. On the third floor, you will find the Louisiana Division and many smart and helpful librarians who will aid you in your search.
Can you tell me anything about Louisiana tokens? One says "sales tax" and the other one says "public welfare tax." They all have holes in the center in the shape of a triangle. There is no date on any of them.
Many types of tokens have been issued over the years, in Louisiana as well as other states. Just about every kind of business imaginable has issued tokens at one time or another to give credit or discounts, make change in odd amounts, show proof of purchase, guarantee a customer's return, and a variety of other reasons. Even churches and houses of ill repute had special uses for tokens.
Louisiana issued its first tax token in 1936 in conjunction with the Luxury Tax Act of 1936. The tokens made it possible to pay sales tax in fractions of a cent. Certain items were taxed 2 percent, but the tax caused confusion for both merchants and consumers. For example, canned juice and bread buns were taxed, but juice in bottles and loaf bread was not. As you might imagine, New Orleans nightclubs were exempt from the tax.
Then on Jan. 1, 1938, the sales tax rate was lowered to 1 percent, and a new token was issued -- "Public Welfare" tokens -- to benefit the State Hospital Board and public welfare. Once again, there were items that were exempt. The token system was abandoned at the end of 1941, and people could redeem their tokens for cash for the next three months. However, of the 70 million tokens that were produced, only about 27 percent were ever redeemed.