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The Dixie Brewing Company was making beer in New Orleans before being demolished by Hurricane Katrina

Darko Nanevski

Founded in 1907, the Dixie Brewing Company has been making and selling high-quality beer for 110 years now. As a regional brewery, it has been one of the most recognizable brands and an integral part of New Orleans’ history and urban culture.

And being in the business for as long as they have, having persevered all sorts of problems and obstacles over the years, it’s safe to say that the Dixie Company has really endured the test of time, both literally and figuratively.

An old Dixie Beer outdoor advertisement revealed during renovation in New Orleans’ Faubourg Marigny neighborhood. Author: Infrogmation CC BY-SA 2.5

An old Dixie Beer outdoor advertisement revealed during renovation in New Orleans’ Faubourg Marigny neighborhood. Author: Infrogmation CC BY-SA 2.5

Dixie Brewery, 2401 Tulane Avenue; post-Katrina photograph

Dixie Brewery, 2401 Tulane Avenue; post-Katrina photograph

They survived the Prohibition era by naming themselves the Dixie Beverage Company and producing soda and other non-alcoholic beverages.

The mid 20th century saw another problem heading in their direction. It was a time when local breweries were considered old fashioned and inferior to their mass producing rivals like Pabst, Miller, and Budweiser. So in 1989, Dixie filed for bankruptcy.

Ruins of the wooden annex of the Dixie Brewery, New Orleans. Author: Bart Everson CC BY 2.0

Ruins of the wooden annex of the Dixie Brewery, New Orleans. Author: Bart Everson CC BY 2.0

 

Interior of the Dixie Brewery, New Orleans. Ruined in the Hurricane Katrina levee failure disaster almost 5 years earlier. Author: Bart Everson CC BY 2.0

Interior of the Dixie Brewery, New Orleans. Ruined in the Hurricane Katrina levee failure disaster almost 5 years earlier. Author: Bart Everson CC BY 2.0

Fortunately, they were lucky enough that New Orleans showed a renewed interest in locally produced beers. And in 1992, Dixie yet again came back on top, when they introduced three new beer products: Red Crimson Voodoo Ale, Blackened Voodoo Lager, and Jazz Amber Light. The business was booming again.

Interior of the Dixie Brewery, New Orleans. Ruined in the Hurricane Katrina levee failure disaster almost 5 years earlier. Author: Bart Everson CC BY 2.0

Interior of the Dixie Brewery, New Orleans. Ruined in the Hurricane Katrina levee failure disaster almost 5 years earlier. Author: Bart Everson CC BY 2.0

However, in 2005, they were faced with a problem like no other before: a problem that would not only change the company’s future but would have an impact on all New Orleans citizens, and with dire consequences.

Dixie Brewery, New Orleans. View out the main gate towards Tulane Avenue. Author: Bart Everson CC BY 2.0

Dixie Brewery, New Orleans. View out the main gate towards Tulane Avenue. Author: Bart Everson CC BY 2.0

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