Saturday, May 7, 2016

My Country, 'Tis of Tea — Louisiana

Louisiana is a state I love for many reasons, just two of which are that my husband was born there and I spent part of my honeymoon there! So are there any important tea-ish facts to know about Louisiana? Of course there are!

• Years ago, a friend gave me this vintage, unopened tin of Luzianne Tea for Christmas. I haven't thought of good old Luzianne in a while, and I must confess to feeling a bit dimwitted when I Googled "Louisiana tea" and noticed that images of Luzianne tea products kept popping up. "Why is all this Luzianne stuff showing when I'm searching for … oh … Louisiana." Duh. According to, "Luzianne began life in 1902, when William B. Reily, who owned a wholesale grocery business, moved from Monroe, Louisiana to New Orleans. In New Orleans, he changed his emphasis to coffee and tea. By 1932, the Luzianne brand was established throughout the Southeast, as was its reputation for selling the region’s finest coffee and tea. Today, Luzianne is still revered as the gold standard of Southern refreshment." So Luzianne has headquarters in New Orleans, and if you visit the Luzianne website, it includes Hurricane Preparedness Information for its employees, quite appropriate, as we all know. So now I'll always think Luzianne = Luzianna.

• Lots of great books and movies have been set in New Orleans, and as a result of reading and viewing them, I often associate the city with its voodoo culture, which is said to be based on African folk traditions. Frankly, that stuff creeps me out, but I was intrigued when I found a photo of this "Bottom of the Cup Tea Room" on the New York Public Library's Digital Collections site. Does it surprise you that a storefront was advertising "Psychic Readings" in 1941 when the photo was taken? I guess it did me. But hey, even the psychics were encouraging everyone to join the American Legion, so there's that! The only other things I know about this photo are that it was sponsored by the Farm Security Administration and that it was photographed by Marion Post Wolcott.

• This screen grab is from the New Orleans Advocate, which last June published this article about the tea-growing efforts of Dr. Bill Luer of New Orleans. I was especially interested to learn he grows tea plants in pots and uses wine corks for better absorption. I also have made a note of the different varieties Dr. Luer is growing, and I'd particularly love to have a Louisiana tea plant for my own garden!


  1. I had never associated Luzianne tea with Louisiana, but if I had thought about the sound of the name, it should have been obvious. I have one of my grandmother's "fortune-telling" teacups (though we never tried to read fortunes in them) so I guess if there was a shop anywhere that "read" tea leaves, it would be in New Orleans.

  2. Luzianne tea makes the best iced tea! Never cloudy!

  3. I have made many pitchers of iced tea using Luzianne family sized teabags. Bottom of the Cup is still in New Orleans. In 2005, I went in for a tea leaf reading and instead had Tarot Card reading. I actually drank a partial cup of tea, but there was no one there who could read the leaves. This tea lady was disappointed.

  4. Interesting facts. I love Luzianne for iced tea.

  5. Thank you for all that year share of the history of tea in the US!

  6. Such interesting information on Louisiana, never knew about the Luzianne tie -ins. And how great to know that The Bottom of the Cup is still open: sounds like a 'Road Trip' to me! Enjoying this series, Joanie


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