The Louisiana Research Collection (LaRC) preserves extensive holdings documenting Louisiana’s food and cooking culture, including several thousand menus, restaurant brochures, bar flyers, and other items essential for understanding the cuisine and food industry of our state.
This online collection comprises three parts. Currently available are restaurant menus from the 1930s to the present. LaRC also preserves menus and brochures for hotel restaurants, as well as drink lists and promotional flyers for bars. Those extend to the 1910s and will go online during the summer and fall of 2012. Third, LaRC preserves banquet menus for organizations holding meetings and conventions. Extending back to the 1870s, we hope to put those online in the fall of 2012 and spring of 2013.
While this online collection can be an invaluable service to researchers, we hope it will also spur a greater awareness of the importance of menus and restaurant brochures in documenting and preserving Louisiana foodways. This will therefore be an ongoing collection with new items added as we receive them.
If you have a Louisiana menu or a menu collection, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 504-314-7833 so we can permanently preserve it and make it available to researchers from around the world.
Note that LaRC’s menu and food brochure collection is only one part of its extensive holdings about Louisiana’s food heritage, including cookbooks, guidebooks, and publications of Louisiana food processors; publications and reports of food, dining, and agricultural trade organizations; and publications of food and wine clubs. The Louisiana Research Collection is a major research source for food professional organizations, clubs, and food service industries in Louisiana, preserving such serial titles as Dough Boy (Published in the Interest of the Southern Bakery Industry), Louisiana Grocer, and The Mixer, official organ of the Master Bakers' Association of New Orleans, as well as documents about Louisiana gourmand clubs, such as the Confrérie des chevaliers du Tastevin and the Ancient Order of Creole Gourmets.
LaRC also preserves archival holdings pertaining to food and foodways in Louisiana, such as the Lafcadio Hearn papers (which include Creole recipes, proverbs and remedies loaned to Hearn by Dr. Rudolph Matas), the Jackson Brewing Company records, and the recipe books of noted sculptor Angela Gregory’s mother and grandmother.
To search our holdings and to learn more about how you can help preserve Louisiana’s food heritage, please visit the LaRC website.