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Was there a temperance fountain in New Orleans?

Blake Pontchartrain: The New Orleans N.O. It All


Hey Blake,

Was there a temperance fountain in New Orleans?

Dear Reader,

  In the 1800s, the mission of the temperance movement was to encourage citizens (mostly men) to "temper" their drinking or stop consuming alcohol altogether. At the time, alcohol was blamed for many of society's ills, including crime and destitution. Much of the initial push for temperance came from women and was in response to hardships they endured as a result of their husbands' drinking. Many relied on their husbands to support the family and heavy drinkers often squandered their weekly pay at local taverns.

  Temperance societies started in New York in 1808, and the interdenominational American Society for the Promotion of Temperance began in 1826, spreading messages against alcohol and other vices throughout many states and prompting the formation of local temperance groups. The Women's Christian Temperance Union formed in 1874, and the Anti-Saloon League was established in 1893.

  In Louisiana back then, most northern parishes were dry, while most of the southern parishes were "wet." As a large international port with lots of bars, New Orleans was not known for temperance.

  Temperance unions and their supporters felt men needed an alternative to drinking a beer (the local drinking water wasn't very clean), and they began to erect drinking fountains, or temperance fountains, in major cities. Although there were calls for such a fountain to be built in New Orleans (The Daily Picayune mentioned them in articles in 1903 and 1910), it appears none was ever built.

  The temperance movement spawned the 18th Amendment, which was ratified in 1919 and made Prohibition the law of the land. Clandestine operations, bootlegging and raids of speakeasies and bars dominated the ensuing decade. In 1933, the 21st Amendment repealed Prohibition and it again became legal to buy a drink in the U.S.

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