KEY WEST…..CIGAR CAPITAL OF THE WORLD

The world knows there was a time when Key West was the cigar capital of the world. Cuban cigars!

In 1900, the cigar business was booming. The average weekly cigar output was over 1.5 million. Big business! On this day in December 1900, the steamer Lampasas sailed for New York. Its cargo 1,846,000 cigars.

Cigar business no more. Except for the solitary old Cuban on the street hand rolling them for tourists.

The only remnants from the successful days gone by are some old factory buildings that have been converted to other uses. Like the Gato building on Simonton. Now a County office building. Also, the tiny Conch houses that were built by the cigar factory owners to house the immigrants who worked for them. Those houses today selling for $1 million plus.

The weather man was correct. Woke this morning to 65 degrees. The high today 68. Not even 70!

I turned the heat on when I woke.

A Key West life. Julia La Congo.

Julia died this day in 1930 at the age of 110. God bless her!

Julia initially was Queen of a tribe in Africa. She was captured by slavers and sold into slavery in Cuba. At some point, she was freed.

She came to Key West. Met her man and married. She and her husband operated a grocery store till World War I.

Guy deBoer ran a series of pictures in this morning’s KONK Life E-Blast. The subject the C. W. Colts Backyard Concert Series. Four band members. Three men and a woman. The woman the vocalist.

I never heard of the group before. Means nothing. There are so many vocal groups in Key West. Whatever, I will try to find out more about the group and let you know.

Many a movie has been filmed in Key West. Many the star that has made films here.

In December 1997, A Mast of Crows was filmed. Its star, Academy Award winning Cuba Gooding, Jr.

I have in Key West for 30 years. Sort of makes me a local.

Change and death are the two certainties in life. Key West has experienced change.

The Key West of 30 years ago is not the Key West of today.

Its change has been too fast and too dramatic. I doubt Key West will ever know another Jimmy Buffett and Cheeseburger in Paradise.

This morning’s Citizens’ Voice  published a comment by a person I assume has been a Key Wester a long time. He said he agreed with the negative Key West articles which pop up on occasion.

He wrote, “Sadly, our city government and the TDC are marketing a false narrative of ‘paradise of a bygone day.’ Overpriced, dirty, and in no way what Buffett sang about.”

I agree with the comment, except for the “dirty” part. I don’t see it.

Key West has changed dramatically the past 5 years. Especially, the last 2. Primarily the TDC is responsible. A tourist organization. The group has done its job well in advertising and attracting tourists to Key West. Too well. Tourists arrive from all over the world.

There was a time when they came during the “season.” Like January to April. Summers dead. There was a saying a person could throw a bowling ball down Duval and not hit anyone.

Today, summers are almost as busy as season.

Sad. The Key West of yesterday will never return. A gem disappearing.

Trump is in London today. Participating in the NATO conference.

The past 2 years, he has knocked the hell out of NATO. Not this trip. I watched him on TV this morning. He is kumbaya. Loves most attendees. Speaks positively about things.

What a change! Part of a devious plan I suspect.

His selected foe this trip is France’s Macron. Macron has no fear of Trump. Stands up to him, where and when necessary.

Trump does not like that.

Last week, Macron was interviewed by the Economist Magazine. Macron commented about the “diminished state” of the NATO alliance. He said the same was occurring because of the “brain death of NATO due to lack of American support.”

Trump wasn’t going to stand for France knocking NATO. Trump the person who has been saying all sort of adverse things about NATO for almost 3 years.

Trump needed a scapegoat to beat up on. His way of doing things. He picked on Macron.

Trump decried Macron’s comments, said they were “very very nasty…..very disrespectful…..very insulting.”

Would you believe!

Respectfully, the man is a whore. A two faced one.

Trump also announced he was seriously considering new tariffs to be imposed on French imports. Like champagne, cheese, handbags, and porcelain. Trump is going to punish Macron for saying nasty things about NATO. I assume also Trump thought beating up on Macron would bring most of the other nations of NATO to Trump’s side. Our man! How can he be unaware most Europeans dislike him?

Trump does not understand human nature. You beat up people, you defecate on them, and they are going to retaliate. A don’t tread on me attitude.

French Finance Minister Bruno LeMaire said the Eurounion would strike back against the U.S. Trump made a mistake in thinking that there would be no retaliatory action. Even more, he failed to recognize that the Eurounion would retaliate.

The result would be a trans Atlantic trade war.

Trump needed more than his adverse comments re Macron as an excuse to impose these new tariffs on France. He found one.

France recently imposed digital services taxes. On U.S. companies such as Apple, Facebook, and Amazon. Done for no other reason than a business one.

Trump is using the digital tax imposition as the “real” reason he is going to be difficult with France.

Trump failed to do his homework once again. France is late to the game in taxing U.S. companies providing digital services. Austria, Italy and Turkey have been doing it for some time.

Trump was unaware and the word now is the U.S. may investigate Austria, Italy and Turkey for purposes of determining the appropriateness of such digital taxes.

Another example of Trump doing something without doing the necessary homework. Trump announced he would be imposing tariffs on Brazilian and Argentine steel and aluminum exports to the U.S.

It appears the tariffs could boomerang on American steel makers. They need semi-finished products exported by Brazil in order to operate their mills.

Some things are right and some things are wrong.

There is a saying that the child should not be made to pay for the sins of the father. I would adjust the statement a bit. A wife should not be made to pay for the sins of the husband.

First Lady Melania Trump recently spoke at an opioid awareness event at the University of Maryland in Baltimore. The event titled the B’More Youth Summit on Opioid Awareness.

She was booed when introduced, during her opening remarks, and sporadically during her talk. The boos were described as “resounding.”

The audience was comprised primarily of middle school and high school students.

The First Lady took the booming in stride. She said afterwards the U.S. is a free country and people have a right to express themselves.

Husband Donald tried to smooth things over by announcing he was donating one quarter of his $400,000 salary to combat the opioid crisis.

Tonight, my blog talk radio show. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Nine my time. A half hour of me ranting and raving about what I like and don’t like, what I think is good and what I think is bad. Join me. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

13 comments on “KEY WEST…..CIGAR CAPITAL OF THE WORLD

  1. Sure Key West has changed over the years, especially these last two years?

    Duh… so has the rest of this country, especially these past few years. We now live in a country that has become pretty much a Banana Republic, run by a “Strong Man”and half of the country supports that change. If you think Key West is the only place in America that’s changed for the worse, then you are both blind and wrong.

  2. Key West has indeed changed since we started coming down in the early 90’s. Back then Key West as a sleepy little peaceful place that seemed to be stuck in the 60’s or 70’s where everything was open, free and simple, a refuge to what elsewhere in America had become uptight and corporate. Apart from maybe the Hard Rock cafe and that Coach store, there wasn’t much to remind you of the rest of America.

    But things started to change by the middle 90’s with more and more tourists who were too often of a more conservative nature, who absolutely fell in love with the lifestyle and the ‘way of life’ they found there and you saw more and more of them buying property and even moving here, some permanently some just part time. But when they got here, many living in gated communities, opposite to what attracted them in the first place. Suddenly Key west became a “get off my lawn” kind of place where tolerance and civility became a thing of the past. Then we started see other changes, like the Walgreens and CVS invasion, a Home Depot pushing out more local solutions and even a “Denny’s” restaurant on Duval Street. We can distinctly remember when you’d hear the “locals” complaining just about everywhere what a pain it was to have to go to Miami to ”get” anything.

    Lou, it is the people who fell in love with Key West, who then moved here because of what they saw and liked, then made Kew West change to their more uptight values which has made this place so different nowadays. Not sure it will ever the same again, not at least until after some masz shooting at the high school, on maybe when CVS pulls out.

  3. Remember the dill-doe store next to JB place. The town fathers have put in place so many rule, codes, etc. to keep the “old Look” the town is now constricted by the “code” and the city’s quest for money. Take out a parking lot, build a fire house castle and make up the lost dollars up by increasing the parking fees. We do not need more $300.00/night motels were parking is extra.

    • …ummm, have you checked out the cost of a decent hotel room in any desirable city lately, particularly a city with access to the waterfront? I think you might find prices in KW aren’t particularly unreasonable. Maybe yous should do a little more research before you denigrate Key West with your constant ignorance.

      Sure, you can get a room in a hotel here in Troy overlooking the Hudson river for less than what rooms are in KW, but Troy’s a sh*thole and nobody wants to stay here anyway.

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