Dear Julia and Poydras,
When I was a young girl visiting the city with my parents about 70 years ago, my mother mentioned a restaurant located across the street from City Park that was one of her long ago favorites.
Since my mother left New Orleans in 1915 to move to Ohio and marry my father, also a native of New Orleans, she must’ve been referring to a restaurant that was popular prior to that date.
I hope that you can give me the background of the building where the popular Ralph’s in the Park is now located. Was there a restaurant there over 90 years ago?
Mabel Monguillot
New Orleans


The building that now houses Ralph’s on the Park dates to 1860. Known as the Jean Marie Saux Building, the National Register property was originally owned by coffeehouse proprietor Jean Marie Saux. Coffeehouses in Saux’s day bore a closer resemblance to taverns or pubs than to modern coffee shops.
In the early 1890s, Saux sold the business to Fernand Alciatore, son of Antoine’s founder Antoine Alciatore. Under Alciatore’s leadership, the coffeehouse was transformed into an acclaimed restaurant called A La Renaissance des Chenes Verts, the name of which is translated as “Rebirth of the Green Oaks.” In 1901, Justin Tujague, a member of another famous restaurant family, bought the business.
In 1912, the New Orleans Brewing Company purchased the building and leased it to Frank LaMothe, who had run a well known restaurant and oyster saloon on St. Charles near Canal Street. [Ed note: St. Charles between Lee Circle and Canal Street is usually called a street, not an avenue.] Under LaMothe, the establishment was known as LaMothe’s City Park Restaurant. As was the custom in those days, women’s dining rooms were segregated from the men’s accommodations and women were courted as a separate group. It was almost certainly under LaMothe’s management that your mother frequented the restaurant.
In later years, businessman Jack Sands operated a restaurant in the building known as Tavern in the Park.

Hello Julia and Poydras,
My grandmother and grandfather are both long gone. They had a restaurant and bar and resided upstairs at 3801 Magazine St., at the corner of Peniston Street in New Orleans.
I was told that when World War I ended in 1918, the regular patrons of the business pounded on the doors for my grandparents to open so that everyone could celebrate the ending of the war.
Would you know the name of the business?
P.S. My Amazon Parrot Amos sends his good wishes to Poydras.
Agnes Anzalone
Metairie

Agnes, Poydras returns Amos’ good wishes and wants to know if Amos can lend him a few bucks. Please have Amos contact Poydras.
I assume your grandfather was either Vincent Daura or DiFalta Siereader.
In the mid 1910s, Vincent Daura had sold oysters before moving to 3801 Magazine St., some time around 1917 when he and DiFalta Siereader operated a saloon for which no other name was given. While I don’t know if the men were related by blood or marriage, the ’18 city directory indicated that both men lived at the same address as the restaurant they were running. Siereader’s involvement in the business may have been brief. Like many other alcohol-related businesses, the bar at 3801 Magazine St., tried to adapt to prohibition by selling soft drinks instead of hard liquor.

 
Dear Julia and Poydras,
Do you remember cookies described below and who made them? We called them Lemon Thins, although I’m not sure of their real name. They were about two inches in diameter, which is larger than a vanilla wafer. They were thinner than a vanilla wafer and flat, not domed, except for the outer three-eighths-inch, which tapered to a fine edge. The center, flat part, was lemon yellow and the tapered part went from yellow to a dark toast color at the edge. They had a lemon-like flavor but sweet at the same time. In my memory they ranked up there with the best of the cookies, although that’s a pretty crowded field. I’m sure Poydras would love them with a glass of milk.
We had them frequently in the 1950s to mid-’60s when I was a kid, then at some point we never had them again. My wife Lois, from Michigan and a little younger, doesn’t remember them, so I suspect they were made by a local bakery that either closed or was bought by a national concern that stopped producing them.
Do you know anything about them? And, if you find they’re still made, please let us know where. Well, gotta go – it’s about cookie, I mean lunch, time.
John E. Sullivan, Jr.
Mandeville

Yes, we do remember the thin crisp lemon cookies with the browned edges. I don’t believe they were strictly local. Nabisco, FFV and Jacks once made this type of cookie but I’m not aware that anyone still makes anything quite like the particular cookies we are discussing. They were exceptionally thin and were tapered at the crispy brown edges. The taste is a little hard to describe in words other than to say that the lemon flavor was clear without being acidic or overly sweetened. The thin brown edges were definitely a critical element, giving the cookies just the right amount of caramelized sweetness without overpowering the lemon.

Julia Street,
I spent February in New Orleans and the old excitement returned. I spent my honeymoon at LaFitte Guest House in 1948. Bought all of Harnett Kane’s books then and am now rereading Queen New Orleans and have found where Vieux Carré, the restaurant, was located – 241 Bourbon St. – our first amazing meal; then on to La Louisiane and Tujaque’s. On a return trip in the early 1970s, we ate at La Brasserie. Can you recall where that might have been located? La Brasserie must not have been around when Kane wrote his books in the late ’40s. Can’t find any reference anywhere. So I turn to you.
I returned for a week last December and stayed in the same room at LaFitte Guest House and met all those remarkable people who are part of that lovely hotel. They loved my reminiscences of the place in 1948 and do I have memories!
The New Orleans Magazine is a real upper. Thank you.
Ruth Marion Tobias
Lincolnwood, IL

The Brasserie Restaurant and Bar was a very short-lived Royal Street establishment that most certainly was not around in Harnett Kane’s heyday. In fact, it came and went so fast that it was quite a challenge to precisely locate it. Although my memory agrees with yours insofar as I recall the name as being “La Brasserie,” the 1972 city directory called it “The Brasserie Restaurant and Bar.”
According to local city directories, it appears that some time around mid to late 1971, Frank Ditezel managed the Brasserie restaurant, which was located at 201 Royal St., in a building previously occupied by Chimes Restaurant. By late ’72 or early ’73, the Seven Samurai Steak House had set up shop at the 201 Royal St., address. Although fondly remembered, The Brasserie appears to have existed for approximately one year.

Win a Court of Two Sisters Jazz Brunch for two!
Here’s a chance to eat, drink, be merry, 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 a New Orleans landmark, THE COURT OF TWO SISTERS in the Vieux Carré. To take part, send your question to: Julia Street c/o New Orleans Magazine, 110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, La. 70005 or email: errol@renpubllc.com This month’s winners are: Mabel Monguillot, New Orleans; and Ruth Tobias, Lincolnwood, Ill.