Julia Street

WITH POYDRAS THE PARROT A MONTHLY PURSUIT OF ANSWERS TO ETERNAL QUESTIONS

Hi Julia,
I have four menus that I believe date back to the late 1960s or early ’70s that belonged to my now deceased parents. Pascal’s Manale, Elmwood Plantation, Court of Two Sisters and Emerald Door. Prices for appetizers run from 75 cents (for gumbo) up to $2 for crabmeat ravogotte (menu’s spelling). Entrées top out at $7 for a steak dinner. Two of the menus offer Lancer’s wine by the bottle, which I remember drinking in my college days, and a bottle of Chianti Classico Antinori from Pascal’s was only $4! The Court of Two Sisters even has a quote from Milton about Mint Julep’s (again their spelling), “Behold this cordial Julep here / That foams and dances in his crystal bounds / With spirits of balm and fragrant syrup mix’d…” And none of us will forget Elmwood’s Quail, Baby Pheasant or their own version of Shrimp Mosca.
I plan to frame and hang all four in my kitchen. My question is about the Emerald Door. Where was it, when did it close, who owned it and was it considered one of the Creole restaurants?
Diane DeSalvo
Destin, Fla.

I was unable to find a city directory listing for the Emerald Door. The menu’s coloring and graphic seem to point to a date in the early 1960s. Oddly, the menu doesn’t note a location or hours of operation. Even though you intend to display your menus as a group, I would have to say that the Emerald Door would not have been the sort of restaurant a visitor would seek out as an exceptional example of local cuisine. It just wasn’t that kind of place and it wasn’t in the same league as the other restaurants represented in your menu collection.
The bill of fare appears to have been unremarkable and geared to business lunches, leading me to believe it may have been a short-lived downtown operation. The mostly seafood-oriented menu, which contained an enticing section called “Chilled Buffet Offerings,” also prominently featured “The Business Men’s Special.” For $1.95, hungry bread-earners could get a complimentary Manhattan or Martini cocktail paired with a roast beef sandwich, creamed potatoes and string beans.

Hi Julia,
A friend, Susan Stockstill in Baton Rouge, inquired about her grandfather’s brother’s restaurants called de Latour’s Chicken Restaurants. The motto on the menu was: “Positively only fresh killed poultry used in our restaurants daily.” There were two locations, one on St. Charles Avenue and one on Gravier Street. “Uncle Louie” de Latour and his sister “Aunt Sis” owned and ran the restaurants. Susan’s grandfather was in the poultry business. Relatives who dated in the 1940s used to go there. Any information you have would be appreciated.
Sandra Herman
New Orleans

Neither of the locations your friend recalls were the original de Latour’s Chicken Inn. Back in the days when the lake was where Lake Vista now sits, Louis de Latour opened a restaurant at 540 Robert E. Lee Blvd. Although best remembered for fried chicken, Louis de Latour also had a seafood business. In the 1930s he and Clarence Schmitt operated the de Latour Sea Food House at 101 Lake Ave. in Bucktown.
Louis de Latour grew up in the Fair Grounds neighborhood. When he died in late 1949, at age 60, it was as a racing enthusiast and prominent member of the local racing community that he was remembered. Thanks, in part, to de Latour’s efforts the Fair Grounds was saved from being turned into a real estate subdivision, a fate that claimed at least three Jefferson Parish tracks. Following Louis de Latour’s death, his daughter, Shirly de Latour Cheer, took the helm at de Latour’s Chicken Inn.

Dear Julia,
My great great, great, great grandmother died in 1803, and, according to records in the Archdiocese of New Orleans, she was buried in the St. Louis Cathedral Parish Cemetery. I have not been able to find any information about the cemetery. I was wondering if you could help.
Avery Hall
Mobile, Ala.

At the time your third-great grandmother passed died, there was only one St. Louis Cemetery and the parish church wasn’t yet a cathedral. Your ancestor would have been laid to rest in the St. Louis Cemetery, now known as St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, the city’s oldest surviving and best-known burial ground.
One place to obtain an overview of St. Louis No. 1’s history and geography is a Web site produced by the Historic Preservation Program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Fine Arts. Called “Dead Space,” the Web site includes a database and interactive maps that make it easy to input a family name and locate tombs on which the name appears. The URL is: cml.upenn.edu/nola.

Dear Julia,
My family and I used to go to a great Spanish Restaurant, Espana, years ago. It was located on Jefferson Highway near Causeway Boulevard. They had the best paella and sangria. It probably closed down close to 30 years ago. Do you know of the place? If so, do you know if the family relocated and opened under another name?
Mary McAlister
Kenner

To the best of my knowledge, Antonio Lopez’s Espana restaurant neither relocated nor remained in operation under another name. The 2705 Jefferson Highway location was actually the restaurant’s second home. The original location of the popular Spanish restaurant was, until the late 1960s, at 1221 South Broad St., near Clio Street by the Broad Street overpass.

Dear Julia,
When I lived in New Orleans during the 1980s, there were two restaurants my wife and I especially liked. In Algiers there was a restaurant, built out over the river, called Algiers Landing. I know this restaurant closed for a short while, around 1988 or ’89, but later reopened.
The other restaurant, Bart’s on the Lake, was located on Lake Pontchartrain overlooking the New Orleans Yacht Club marina. I wonder if either of these restaurants are still in business or are possibly being operated under different names.
Terry Bonbrake,
Tucson, Ariz.

Cherish those memories, Terry. Both Bart’s and Algiers Landing are long gone.
I never thought the Bart’s that was rebuilt after a fire in the early 1980s was quite the same as the original. Bart’s had a stunning view of the lake. Joe’s Crab Shack and now Landry’s have operated on the site once occupied by Bart’s.
Opened in time to capitalize on the 1984 World’s Fair, Algiers Landing looked like an old cannery building and operated a little more than a decade before being closed. Owned by Specialty restaurants of Anaheim, Calif., the blighted structure was demolished in the autumn of ’99. Because of safety concerns about the stability of the decayed former restaurant and the wharf on which it stood, demolition of Algiers Landing and the Bermuda Street Wharf was managed with barge-based demolition equipment stationed in the river.

 

Win a Court of Two Sisters Jazz Brunch or a night at the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel
Here’s a chance to stay at an elegant local hotel, or to eat, drink and listen to music, and have your curiosity satiated all at once. Send Julia a question. If we use it, you’ll be eligible for a monthly drawing for one of two Jazz Brunch gift certificates for two at THE COURT OF TWO SISTERS in the Vieux Carré or an overnight stay for two at the elegant Omni Royal Orleans Hotel. To take part, send your question to: Julia Street c/o New Orleans Magazine, 110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, LA 70005 or e-mail: errol@renpubllc.com. This month’s winners are: Diane DeSalvo, Destin, Fla.; Avery Hall, Mobile, Ala.; and Sandra Herman, New Orleans.

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