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Perique Tobacco

A St. James original

Published: February 29, 2024
Last Updated: February 29, 2024

Perique Tobacco

Photo by and Gift of Charles Martin, The Historic New Orleans Collection

Men beat perique tobacco leaves on metal drums to remove dust and debris.

Perique is a particular strain of tobacco originating in St. James Parish. Native Americans cultivated its forerunners; when Europeans arrived, they added fermentation to complete perique’s distinctive aroma. Robust and almost peppery, perique is well suited for pipe tobacco, though it is also blended into other products—including a French-made sweet liqueur. Once a major crop for the area around LaPlace and Convent, perique is now produced in small amounts for specialty markets.