Barely two years after Samuel Hermann completed construction of the French Quarter mansion in 1831, Carl Kohn, a newly-arrived Bohemian immigrant, attended a social gathering at the residence in the spring of 1833. Shortly afterward, on March 7, he described his experience in a letter to his Uncle Samuel Kohn in Paris:
"By the by I must not forget to tell you of a most magnificent soirée M. Hermann gave last week, but was unfortunately very much thwarted by the weather, which that day . . . proved most wretchedly bad, he was thus prevented of illuminating his court, and showing his fireworks, which had already been prepared. But nevertheless out of the 350 persons invited, very few failed to come--it was no doubt the finest party that had ever been given here, his commodious house, splendid furniture, and Mr. Herman's [sic] own good nack [sic] giving him every facility of making it as agreable [sic] as it could possibly have been made."Writing of her experiences in Creole households in the 1850's, Madame Helène d'Aquin Allain, a Creole herself who eventually immigrated to France, described the attributes of New Orleans hostesses:
"The mistress of the house, a woman of warmth and intelligence, entertained very well; she knew how to put one at ease, to interest, to amuse, and to entertain . . . those that she invited to her soirées where I [Allain] met the elite of the Creole population of the time . . . the Oliviers, the Labatuts, the Gardeurs, the Pitots, the Canonges, the Ferriers, . . . the Baquiés, the Grimas, . . . and many others. . . ."Allain also described Creole pride in coffee making:
"It was she [Allain's Aunt Amélie] who made the coffee. Every morning, Suzanne [a free black servant] carried in a kettle of boiling water, and an hour before Mass, this delicious beverage that the Creoles had the gift of making better than anyone else was ready for the entire family."The Hermann-Grima household reputation for hospitality and fine cuisine extended into the 20th century when a letter written by Adélaïde Grima on August 12, 1916 offers an insight into the family's penchant for good manners and fine food. The letter was written by Adélaïde at the request of one of her two sisters-in-law, either Emma Pugh Grima or Louise Durruty Grima, and is addressed to Célestine Eustis in Bar Harbor, Maine:
"My Dear Miss Eustis,
Madame Grima [one of Adélaïde's two sisters-in-law] asked me to send you some native okra so that you can give your Bar Harbor friends a rather accurate notion of our traditional Creole Gumbo, so savoured by people from the North and foreigners. My sister-in-law seemed delighted at meeting you, and everything that she has written us about you makes us doubly sorry that your too rare, too short visits to New Orleans have deprived us of the pleasure of getting to know you better. . . .
Warmest regards,Adélaïde Grimarue St. LouisNlle O."
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