Can you give me the history of our coffees: Café Du Monde, French Market Coffee, CDM, Union and Community? Were Café Du Monde and French Market Coffee the same at one time? Lisa Dear Lisa, New Orleans is such a coffee-drinking town, I sometimes wonder how it ever got the name 'The Big Easy."
A hundred years ago, there were 24 coffee dealers listed in the city directory. One of them was Merchants Coffee Company. In 1986, Merchants merged into the American Coffee Company, and it is this company that produces Union Coffee, one of its brands. The first can of French Market Coffee & Chicory was roasted, blended and packaged in 1890. The Bartlett and Dodge families, incorporated as the American Coffee Company, moved to 800 Magazine St. in 1941. So today both Union and French Market Coffee are produced by the same company, but Café Du Monde and French Market Coffee have never been the same.
The original Café Du Monde Coffee Stand was established in 1862 in the French Market. For more than a hundred years it was one of two places to go for coffee and beignets, the other being Morning Call. The latter was founded in 1870 but moved to Metairie in 1974.
The company that produces CDM Coffee had its beginning in the late 1800s. William B. Reilly, the founder, was operating a wholesale grocery business in Monroe and, entrepreneur that he was, believed that New Orleans would be an ideal place to start a coffee roasting and grinding business. The company that began in 1902 now produces more than just coffee. Reilly Foods also sells teas, mayonnaise, Cajun/Creole foods, seasonings, sauces, salad dressings and chili kits. It now has manufacturing facilities in New Orleans as well as Knoxville, Tenn., and Baltimore.
Community is the youngest of the coffee companies. The Saurage family of Louisiana has owned and operated Community Coffee Company for four generations. In 1919, Henry Norman 'Cap" Saurage learned the trick to making this Louisiana favorite in his country store in Dixie, La. He called his coffee Community to honor his community of friends. In 1924, he decided to specialize in coffee, so he closed his store and turned a barn in the backyard into a coffee mill. He used coffee beans that he had purchased from a local roaster.
Years later, Cap's son H. Norman Jr. decided Community should roast its own coffee and purchased a roaster in 1941. The company built a roasting plant in Baton Rouge five years later.
The company continued to grow, and in 1970 built a new plant in Port Allen, La. A decade later, Community introduced the country's first vacuum-sealed coffee package. The year 1995 saw the opening of the first CC's Community Coffee House on the corner of Magazine Street and Jefferson Avenue in New Orleans. Hey Blake,
I would like to find out about the existence of the St. James Infirmary. I used to be a saxophonist and have played the song many times. Mark Dear Mark, The song 'St. James Infirmary Blues" has been sung and played by numerous musicians, but it was made famous by Louis Armstrong in 1928. There are those who will argue that the song is actually an 18th century English folksong with a different name that arrived in America and then was sung with many different lyrics. The actual St. James Infirmary was probably in London.
While there never was a St. James Infirmary in New Orleans, there was a St. James Hospital. It began life in 1859 as a hotel on Magazine Street between Natchez and Gravier streets. During the Civil War it became a Union military hospital. But in December 1864, rights to the building were returned to the owner, A. B. James, and he returned it to its original use as a hotel.