Due to the French influence of the Crescent City, ďAbsintheĒ achieved a wide popularity in New Orleans as well. It was consumed by people from artists and musicians to Storyville madams.
Around the turn of the twentieth century , there was observed a subset of alcoholism referred to as "absinthism". Itís effects, despite popular conception, are not due to the wormwood (Artemisia Absinthum) alone, but to various herbs, most of which contribute in one way or another to its intoxicating effects.
By 1912, in New Orleans, as well as in the rest of the United States, Absinthe was banned; being classified with opiates, cocaine, and marijuana because of itís unique intoxicating qualities. Later years the USDA and FDA regulations also ban the sale or importation of any beverage containing wormwood.
After itís banning, many formulas using anise and other legal herbs appeared in modern commercial Absinthes. In New Orleans, one of the most popular is Herbsaint, a locally-made anise liquor, used in cocktails, like the superb local Sazerac; and cooking. Also it is very popular the French version ďABSENTEĒ, which contains the same ingredients, like: Angelica, Anise, Peppermint, Star Anise; with the difference that the Wormwood is replaced by a less bitter one, called Southern-Wormwood or Petite Absinthe, native of Mediterranean countries and warmer regions of North America. This wormwood contains minimal levels of Thujone, the natural chemical compound of wormwood, allowed in the United States. Also this formula has an alcohol content of 55% alc/vol (110 proof), and was the first allowed in the States after the ban.