|National Historic Landmark, Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop, 1952;
photo by Charles Cushman; contributed by Dave Martin.
|Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop
|Little has been done over the past 250+ years to alter the building
from the way it was when Jean and Pierre Lafitte owned it.
|A close-up of some of the construction detail.
|Images of Jean Lafitte - pirate, smuggler and hero of the Battle of New Orleans.
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|Constructed sometime between 1727 and 1772, Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop is a good
example of a French Colonial Louis XV townhouse of briquete-entre-poteaux
construction. It is one of the oldest buildings still standing in New Orleans. It's
believed to have been occupied and probably built by pirate brothers Jean and Pierre
Lafitte and that the blacksmith shop was, in reality, a front for their nefarious business
enterprises. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1970. It houses a bar said
to be the oldest continually occupied bar in the United States. It's a very popular tourist
attraction and one of the most photographed buildings in the city, as well as, a favorite
subject for artists, as in the sketch below featured on a 1940's postcard. You'll find no
electric lights at all inside of Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar, only candles are used to
illuminate. All the better to catch a glimpse of the spirit of Jean Lafitte, who reportedly
still oversees his ghostly pirate empire from the back room of the bar. A tourist once
captured the ghostly image of a horse standing in front of the shop, head bent as if
drinking from a trough. (Well, okay, it may have been the reflection of neighboring neon
lights, but why throw cold water on a good legend?)