Where Y’Eat: German Mug Culture and a Dancing Chicken Means It’s October

We don’t hear much about the German heritage in New Orleans, until October, when it comes to us with all the umph of an oompah band.

Suddenly you’re showing your nephew how to do the chicken dance, dissecting the differences between bratwurst and weisswurst, and yelling “prost!” as the froth descends an inch on your mug.

Sounds like good times to me, and it doesn’t hurt that October this year comes with mild weather, making it all feel a little more like good, October, instead of extended August.

This is when New Orleans got a much more German flavor too, as restaurants offered special menus, local brewers offered seasonal Bavarian beers, and fairs and fundraisers adopted the Oktoberfest theme. This includes the biggest annual Oktoberfest around these regions, the Deutsches Haus edition. More on that in a moment.

All around Louisiana, there is still a more subtle vein of German influence that lingers long after the dirndl and lederhosen have been tucked away for another season, and runs through our everyday food culture.

This is something that dates back to the early days of colonial immigration to Louisiana. And this continued until the 19th century, when German was a common language here and German names filled the ranks of local bakers, breweries and butchers. This may be harder to discern today, as so much of Louisiana ultimately sounds French…or this hybrid of French in the New World created here.

But there’s no subtlety in celebrating Oktoberfest at Deutsches Haus, now at home along the shores of Bayou St. John, just across from City Park, at a crossroads of places where New Orleans meets.

It continues this weekend, when you will find all the traditional food, the beer, the oompah. Now here someone quick, hold my drink, I know the chicken is back on the dance floor and it’s time to get those wings flapping again.

Get festival details at OktoberfestNola.Com