Oktoberfest is something to celebrate
The influence of French and African culture on New Orleans is known world-wide and both continue to serve as the basis for many of our contemporary traditions. Some people are also aware of the Italian (think muffulettas) and Irish (think Channel) influences as well. But there is another nationality that had a tremendous impact on early New Orleans and Southeastern Louisiana that I was oblivious to until I lived in New Orleans.
The Germans were some of the earliest settlers in Louisiana, and according to research by Nola.com for its 300 for 300 project, by 1870 one-fifth of Louisiana’s population was German speaking and there were more than 50 German language publications.
Many societies and social aid clubs were formed to help the early immigrants and they suffered negative feelings from the larger community with the onset of WWI. In 1927 those organizations still surviving combined to form Deutsches Haus, which itself made it through WWII and still serves New Orleans and the Gulf South today.
Deutsches Haus is a membership organization that provides cultural education, language classes and its most popular offering, Oktoberfest.
Kicking off this weekend and running for the next three, Oktoberfest NOLA brings German food, beer and music to the forefront each Friday and Saturday.
Deutsches Haus temporarily moved to Metairie from its previous location on Galvez Street, but has been working to build a new headquarters in Bayou St. John at 1700 Moss St. That new location on Moss St, overlooking the Bayou, is where this year’s Oktoberfest is being held.
The beer is the star of the event and over 20 different varieties are planned. Pilsner, bock spaten, kölsch and weisse are just a few of the types of brews you get to pronounce as you explore the golden elixirs. Nine wine varieties and over 20 different schnapps will also be available. For those who don’t care to tipple, soft drinks will be available as well.
German food matches its libations. Meat dishes like grilled or boiled brats with sauerkraut, meatloaf, pork loin, sauerbraten and schnitzel soothe the hearty cravings. German cheeses and Bavarian pretzels and nuts allow for tasty snacking. There will also be desserts.
Oompah music, special dance performances and the Dancing Chicken are on the event schedule and keep the party lively. There will also be a daily beer stein holding contest with the mouthful name of Masskrugstemmen, as well as an historical exhibit and souvenir shop.
Deutsches Haus Oktoberfest is Oct. 6-7, Oct. 13-14 and Oct. 20-21. Fridays will be 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Saturdays will be 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tickets are $8 at the entrance and children 12 and under are free.