When the subject is alcohol consumption, it usually doesn’t take very long before New Orleans comes up in the conversation.
So we weren’t surprised the Crescent City had a cameo appearance or two in “Prohibition,” the recent public TV documentary made by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick.
One of the points of the documentary series, which recently completed its debut run on PBS, is that while alcohol consumption officially was prohibited in most cases in the United States for nearly a decade and a half, the law was routinely ignored.
One of the wryest anecdotes in “Prohibition” concerns a friendly wager among federal officials about which city would offer visitors a drink most quickly. The dubious champion city proved to be New Orleans, where a visiting official was offered a swig by a cab driver as soon as the visitor arrived.
New Orleans was far from alone, of course, in flouting Prohibition, which was reversed by an amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1933. Apparently, more than a few Americans like to imbibe every now and then, which is why the bar scene in New Orleans continues to be such a draw for tourists.