Sweet Tea, or New Orleans Part 1

I need to address something very important, something very near and dear to my heart:

Sweet tea.

I know what you’re thinking, “But Sarah! You’re a Yankee!” This is true. However, my grandmother had a famous sweet tooth. Family lore tells that my dad refused to finish his dinner one night. Her response was “Well, you better eat all your dessert.”

Now, I’m not sure if this is why she made sweet tea, or if she just happened to be taught that way. But one of the best parts of going to Grandmom & Grandpop’s was filling a tall glass of tea from the giant stockpot she kept in the refrigerator.

(Small aside: I don’t know what they put in the water in NE Philly, but I can still recall the taste of tea at that house, both hot and cold.)

Dad makes it now, gallons at a time, for us to drink in the summer. He uses decaf tea, but it’s really not the caffeine’s fault that you stay awake for days after drinking it. It’s the massive amounts of sugar.

Anyway. Sweet tea.

I didn’t really think about sweet tea with respect to my trip to New Orleans. In fact, it wasn’t until we sat down at Deanie’s for lunch the first day that I realized I was in the South, land of the sweet tea. It happened when the server set down a bowl full of boiled potatoes (with some sort of awesome seasoning, maybe crab boil?) and asked what we’d like to drink.

LJ, Jordan, Fargs: “Margarita please.”
Neil*: “I’ll just have a water.”
Sarah, obviously excited, thinks she already knows the answer: “Is your tea sweetened?”
Server: “Oh no, it’s unsweetened.”
Sarah: “…what?”


Not sweet.

I think I even asked, “We are south of the Mason-Dixon line, yes?”

I thought maybe this was a fluke, but I stopped at Napoleon House for a piece of muffuletta, as suggested by a woman at the Louisiana Tourism office. I asked what food I should eat, and where I should eat it. She said Central Grocery, of course, but when she mentioned Napoleon House, she said they served it in quarters and warmed it up.

I went there after our swamp tour to try it out. I sat at the bar and asked for a quarter of a sandwich and an iced tea. I asked if it was sweetened. It was not. Sigh.

Mario, the awesome bartender, told me that that sweet tea wasn’t really served in many places around New Orleans. So I guess it’s a specific section of the South? WEIRD.

While I was waiting for my sandwich, I checked out the Yelp reviews and found out that they make a good Pimm’s Cup.


And it was SO delicious. I highly recommend the Pimm’s/muffuletta combo if you find yourself in New Orleans.

*Poor Neil has been plagued with stomach problems for a while now. New Orleans is not the place to have a delicate stomach, as most things are fried or spicy or fried and spicy. He soldiered on though.


September 10, 2009. Uncategorized.


  1. Aunt Jan replied:

    I am so hungry!!! I’m planning a trip to NO next Mar or Apr so I’ve noted the places you went.

  2. New Orleans Part 2 « Sarahdares replied:

    […] hotel clerk where we should eat. She suggested Acme Oyster House or Deanie’s. As you saw in New Orleans Part 1, we went to […]

  3. Ll488 replied:

    Yeah we New Orleanians don’t do sweet tea. It also must have lemon. Now I live in Mississippi and have to say, “unsweetened with lemon” more than I care to.

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