Hubig's Pies: A New Orleans Icon
Sirens shattered the early morning peace of the Marigny neighborhood before dawn on
July 27, 2012.  When the day was over, the little building that had been home to New
Orleans' iconic Hubig's Pies since 1921 was gone.  As soon as the site cooled
down enough, bulldozers finished what the dramatic 5-alarm fire had started.
When news of the fire became known, social media sites went crazy with twitters and tweets,
with people mourning the loss of the well-loved New Orleans institution.  Finally, someone
who had never lived in the city and wasn't familiar with Hubig's, posed a remark others
from out of town must have been thinking, as well:
"It's sad that a business is destroyed," he said, "but I don't get the big tragedy about losing
a pie company."  His comment was quickly answered, in fact, many times over.  But, as
much as people tried to explain, they found it hard to put their feelings into words,
usually ending with, "You'd have to be from New Orleans to understand."
I didn't add my tweet to the comments trying to clarify it for him, but, if I had, I would've
repeated a quote by Wright Thompson that I came across in the months after the levee
failures:  "New Orleans inspires an irrational love for traditions and places; people mourned
the ones that didn't come back, and became even more fierce about the ones that did."
In the case of Hubig's Pies, there are reasons that go even beyond tradition.  First of all,
we love our Hubig's pies -- they are seriously good.  But, more than that, for anyone who
knows the story of Hubig's gallant fight to rebuild after the levee failures (its story was told
in some national publications), the little pie factory that said it would come back - and
did - has become something of a symbol of the city's determination and resilience.
The little New Orleans-style fried fruit pies flew off of retailers'
shelves when news of the fire was reported.  Though they
could be purchased online, the familiar Hubigs' vans
drove no further than an hour away from the factory on
Dauphine Street to make deliveries to retail outlets.
But, if that's not enough, there's still more.  The owners and employees of Hubig's are part of
the New Orleans family.  Even as their own company sat in flood waters in 2005, they were making
their way around the city, distributing the last day's production of pies, made prior to the flooding,
to rescue workers - fire and police and EMTs - and citizens in need of comfort food and a smile.
Their kindness continued after they were up and running again in 2006, as they went through
their neighborhood, distributing pies to people who were working on their houses.  And, even
on Friday morning, while the ruins of their business still smoldered, they emptied out a van
full of pies parked nearby and distributed them to firefighters and others on the scene.
They are good neighbors and will be truly missed.  -- Nancy
Above, before the fire;  below, during and after..
People in New Orleans take their Hubig's Pies seriously:  left, a Hubig's Pies
display at a wedding reception; right, Mardi Gras with Hubig's Pies costumes.
Photographs on this page are courtesy of:
DiscoveringNOLA.blogspot, Wikipedia-1, Wikipedia-2,
Hubig'sPies, Jessie Butler, kittekake.blogspot,
UPDATE - 4/2015:
So far, no good news, no happy ending.  The owners sold the old Hubig's property and
expressed an interest in purchasing a larger space for the company, but - as far as I know -
there has been no movement in that direction.  New Orleans is still without its favorite pies.
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Vintage Hubig's Pies Ads