Work has begun on converting the old Falstaff Brewery into 149 apartments -- bringing an eye sore into a key landmark at a high visibility intersection for the New Orleans recovery effort.
The statue above (King Gambrinus, a 12th century Flemish nobleman who legend has it brewed the first beer) sits atop the 204,000-square-foot former brewery. More famous is the 125-foot sign below with 10 foot high letters that would light up. The ball at the top would change colors to predict the weather.
The ball turned green to signal fair weather, red to tell of cloudy skies and a flashing red light was warning of rain. If the letters of the Falstaff name were lit from the bottom up, the temperature was rising. When they were lit from top to bottom, the temperature was falling. Flashing lights on the letters meant a constant temperature.
The brewery operated from 1936 to 1978.
Here's a great collection of old photos of the closed-down brewery.
Maybe just one more legend. Hank Williams chauver, Charles Carr, reported the country crooner was drinking Falstaff on the night of his death.
You remember, of course, Jerry Jeff Walker's line in "Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother" -- 'He sure did like his Falstaff beer. He liked to chase it down with Wild Turkey liquor.'