The Muse: Rose Nicaud
Do you know the name of Rose Nicaud? This trailblazing woman is the historical epitome of "Black girl, Black coffee." As an enslaved woman in New Orleans, utilized the laws of manumission to sell coffee to churchgoers on Sundays. Researchers estimate that she started selling her coffee around 1840. "Old Rose" quickly became the talk of the town for her delicious coffee.
According to written records, Ms. Rose Nicaud would shout this phrase aloud to attract customers to her coffee stand. this was a common form of “marketing” that many street vendors would utilize to drive sales. It wasn't long before she didn't have to do this anymore, as her patrons would await Sunday mornings when they could come and purchase a cup of her coffee. Over time, Rose Nicaud made such a name for herself, and generated so much profit from her coffee, that she was able to purchase her freedom.
Rose Nicaud's coffee so good, that it conjured a spiritual vibe for one of Rose Nicaud's biggest fans, Catherine Cole. In 1916, Cole wrote, "her coffee was like the benediction that follows prayer. Or, if you prefer, like the benedictine after dinner." With her permanent location near the end of the French Market (where Cafe Du Monde stands today), Rose Nicaud was able to spread the joy and blessing of her famous coffee everyday. In the process, she actualized a life of freedom. But, not just for herself. She also established a name for teaching and helping other enslaved Black women to start their own businesses and to make freedom moves.
There's so much learn and gain from her story. In my opinion, the coffee is only scratching the surface. Rose Nicaud's story, even the little bit of it that is known, is an inspiration to every Black girl and woman as we pursue our dreams -- coffee dreams, or otherwise. From her, we learn to never let systemic or cultural obstacles stand in the way of achieving our goals. We learn to always make room for other Black women to live their dreams and maximize their potential. We learn to continue to be the best in our fields of endeavor, by putting our signature touch on everything we do.
This is also in our DNA.