Hard-working Germans helped create the foundation of New Orleans’ life.
The earliest Germans arrived in Louisiana in 1722, enticed by advertisements from the John Law company. The Germans arrived to the swamplands upriver from New Orleans, tamed the land and were soon helping to feed the downriver settlement. They worked closely with the Cajuns who settled nearby and melded into the local culture. German names like Troxler and Zweig became Trosclair and Labranche.
By 1850, one-fifth of Louisiana’s population was German-speaking, and there were, by some accounts, as many as 50 German language newspapers. The prosperous Germans, including many German-speaking Jews, eventually moved to New Orleans proper, entering all areas of commerce in the city. They opened bakeries, hotels, breweries and restaurants. There were more than 30 German breweries in 1850.
World War I forced the German operations to blend in even more — Fabachers began selling Jax Beer, the Grunewald Hotel on Canal Street became the Roosevelt, and Berlin Street was named after General Pershing. Throughout their years, the Germans had a number of benevolent and social societies. The Deutsches Haus, which opened in 1928, evolved from several of those organizations.