Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop -- built between 1722 and 1732 by Nicolas Touze, is reputed to be the oldest structure used as a bar in the United States.
In 1722, further building is recorded by a realty transfer set down by one Don Andres Almonester. The structure and fence are in the old French Provincial Louis XV or Briquette-Entre-Poteauxe style used in French Louisiana. The building escaped two great fires at the turn of the 19th Century, due to slate roofing. Such slates are presently used by artists as canvases. Between 1772 and 1791, the property is believed to have been used by the Lafitte Brothers, Jean and Pierre as a New Orleans base for their Barataria smuggling operation. The legend is based on the fact that the property was owned by the family of Simon Duroche a.k.a. Castillon and the wily privateer Captain Rene Beluche.
Like most New Orleans legends, Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop is a gumbo of truth and French, Spanish, African, Cajun and American embellishments.
About the Artist
German born Knut Engelhardt came to New Orleans from Germany, via Parish, in 1972. His story is one of romance, which is also the nature of his work. Trained in an academic manner, Engelhardt formerly made his living painting landscapes and seascapes; scenes which recallpleasurable moments to the people viewing his work. Bearded, with a ready smile and happy eyes, Engelhardt is pleased when someone says, "That picture reminds me of where I used to go fishing", or "I know that moment when the sky turns that particular color."
While in Paris, he won three gold medals from the Olympics of Fine Arts as the best German artist working there during 1964, 1965 and 1966. Engelhardt is "at home" in any artistic media, making him one of New Orleans' few local painters who truly can be tagged "an artist for all seasons." He has worked on Jackson Square and traveled throughout the United States, exhibiting his work at art shows until 1979. In recent years, he has progressed to producing his own prints from some of his most popular original works. Today, you will find his work in fine gift shops, major hotels and art galleries in New Orleans and other major cities in Louisiana.
Al Shea, Gambit 1984
Artist: Knut Engelhardt
Matted Print 8" x 10"