One of the best summertime treats I remember as a kid was a nectar soda from the K&B counter. I notice that nectar concentrate is sold at some area grocery stores and was wondering if you knew how to best recreate that delightfully sweet drink. Clarke Kissel Dear Clarke, Ah, yes. Nectar sodas! This really brings back fond purple memories. In Greek, the word nektar means "drink of the gods," but you don't have to reside on Mount Olympus to imbibe this delicious old New Orleans favorite. There actually is a local company producing both Nectar Soda and Nectar Soda Syrup, which come in regular and diet versions.
There are several ways you can take yourself back in time and imagine you are seated at the soda fountain of K&B some time before the 1970s, when soda fountains and lunch counters started to disappear. If you buy the syrup, you can mix it -- 1 oz. of syrup to 5 oz. club soda -- and voila! You have a nectar soda. If you mix this with some cream, you have a cream soda. And if you add a scoop of ice cream to the nectar soda and top it with whipped cream you'll be transported back in time and probably start singing the old K&B theme song: "Look at almost every corner, and what do you see? A big purple sign that says Friendly K&B." Come on, you remember.
The nectar syrup originated in the late 19th century with Isaac L. Lyons, a local pharmacist who, like others, created recipes for all sorts of lotions, potions, tonics, powders and beverages. Lyons sold the Nectar Soda syrup to local drug stores for their soda fountains. K&B, which opened its first store in 1905, was one of them. The recipe for the syrup -- almond and vanilla flavored -- was shared, and the current producer of the syrup and the soda got it from her grandmother.
One thing that made K&B sodas special was the ice cream. The company made its own, and it was really rich because of the high butter-fat content. It was this vanilla ice cream that went into the sodas.
But that was then. The company that now produces the tasty treat, New Orleans Nectar Soda, distributes to a number of stores, coffee shops and other outlets. To get a list of where you can find the soda and the syrup, log onto www.nectarsoda.com. Hey Blake,
I recently visited New Orleans for a weekend, and friends of ours took us to LafitteÕs Blacksmith Shop on Bourbon Street. The bartender claimed that LafitteÕs is the oldest bar in America. Being from Boston, I found this claim hard to believe. IÕve always thought that the Bell in Hand Tavern was the oldest bar in America. Can you tell me when LafitteÕs opened? Wendy Dear Wendy, The building at 941 Bourbon St. was constructed as early as 1770 and is one of the oldest surviving buildings in New Orleans, and in 1970, it was designated as a National Historic Landmark. But it was not operating as a bar 200 years ago. In fact, the place has been a bar only since the 1940s.
I suppose while you were there, the bartenders also told you about Jean Lafitte and his pirate pals and how they used the blacksmith shop as a front for their smuggling operations. This, of course, is one of the stories about New Orleans that is still disputed. However, one thing we can be sure of is that Jean Lafitte was not serving drinks in 1795 when the Bell in Hand Tavern opened. Hey Blake,
I read your piece on Lee Harvey Oswald and wanted to know if Oswald at one point lived at our location of 315 N. Vermont St. in downtown Covington. Since we opened our restaurant, Thai Pot, many Covington old timers have told us that Oswald had rented the loft upstairs at our restaurant. Can you confirm this? Joe Rattanakhom Dear Joe, Yes. In the summer of 1946, Oswald's mother, Marguerite Oswald, left her third husband, Edwin A. Ekdahl, and moved with Lee and his two older brothers to Covington, where they lived on North Vermont Street.
In September, Lee was enrolled in the first grade at Covington Elementary School. But in January 1947, his mother withdrew him. She and Ekdahl had reconciled briefly, and they decided to move to Fort Worth, Texas.