21st Amendment Anniversary

This Saturday, December 6, marks the 81st anniversary of the ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment, which repealed the nationwide prohibition on alcohol.

Image from the National Archives

Beneath the headline “Return of Liquor Taken Quietly by City, Celebrants,” the Times Picayune reported:

Formal prohibition repeal became effective in New Orleans Tuesday night in a surprisingly unobtrusive manner.

A number of private or semi-private “repeal” celebrations were held in homes and clubs, but a glimpse into one of this city’s more popular saloons or larger restaurants Tuesday night would scarcely have indicated that the 13-year drought was just ended.

It was scarcely mentioned in barroom conversation that repeal, one of the most widely discussed questions in American during the past few years, had at last become a fact. An occasional, casual, “Well, Joe, It’s legal now,” was all that as usually heard.

The nonchalant tone of repeal extended to the Loyola Maroon as well. A review of the archived issues shows that the repeal was not mentioned in the student newspaper at all immediately after it’s passage.

In contrast to the calm repeal of prohibition, the passage of the Eighteenth amendment, banning the sale of alcohol in 1919, was a fraught one. Opposing Views: The Battle Among Louisiana’s Urban Newspapers During the Ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment, held in Special Collections and Archives, documents the public battle waged across the state on the issue. Can you guess which side the New Orleans press supported?

Found in the Archives is a recurring series of crazy cool stuff found in the Monroe Library’s Special Collections & Archives.

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