Sweet potato vodka story is intriguing

Published 12:19 pm Friday, April 9, 2021

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Dear Editor:

The sweet potato-vodka article in this quarter’s “Washington Parish Living” magazine is intriguing, and I cannot resist writing and adding a few morsels of history.

Those of a certain age in our parish can remember when the principal destiny of the sweet potato was baked and then placed in the lunch pail carried by the “young’un’s” when they went out to catch the school bus in the morning. Those of that same certain age will also remember Mr. C. A. Stewart, a grand old gentleman who settled out west of town and got up early enough to milk cows by hand and then deliver the bottled milk to the doorsteps of Bogalusa. It was he who established the C. A. Stewart Creamery, which was operated at 515 W. Seventh St., the address where the Pontchartrain Distilling Company will turn out its product. After his death, his children, including Alcus, who became a school board member and director of the old Washington Bank, carried on the business for a long time.

Dr. Whit Gallaspy, who when a little boy, was very slender, smiles as he tells the story of being introduced to Mr. C. A. at the Washington Parish Fair. The rugged but kindly old pioneer looked him over and said, “that boy needs some whole milk.” His mother and I saw to it that Whit got it, from Mr. Stewart’s cartons, and he grew up strong.

As a possible endorsement of Mr. Kennedy’s expected product, I will say that the tubers in his hand in the cover picture appear to be the “Evangeline,” a new variety which is very sweet. And as one who in his less temperate years sometimes peeped into saloons, cabarets, pubs, or whatever you want to call them, I would have to say that there yet exists some demand in the Magic City for the Pontchartrain Distilling Company’s product. They won’t have to export all 400 bottles of it.

Now in my more temperate years, my only thought is that when we smack our lips and enjoy it, stay at home, don’t get behind the steering wheel. Our intersections are dangerous enough as it is.

And when the ribbon on this new business is cut, I will stand (or sit in a wheelchair) at a distance and propose a toast to Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy’s initiative. Perhaps you may join me.

John Gallaspy