Dear Julia,

I found an old hurricane-style glass the other day, and the logo on it appeared to be from a bar I remember in the French Quarter called Lautrec, 514 Toulouse. I went to a lot of Uptown and French Quarter bars in the 1970’s, and I remember the name, but I don’t think I ever went there. I can’t find any information or pictures of the bar, but it appears that 514 Toulouse in New Orleans is a very historic location. Any information on the historical significance of the location itself would also be great.  

 –  Mike Fallon,  Kenner

 

That hurricane glass sounds like a great find Mike. May you fill it with rum hurricanes and may those hurricanes be the only ones you will experience from now on.

First Mike, let me mention what might be obvious to some people, but not to others. The name of the bar obviously comes from the location which is on Toulouse Street named after the famous French post-Impressionist painter, Toulouse- Lautrec.

His paintings, particularly of festive Paris life are classics, especially his masterpiece of the Moulin Rouge. Because of a childhood disease, his legs never developed as they shood have, so he only stood only four feet and 11 inches talk. Nevertheless, he is a celebrated character. There have been several bars named after him including in Paris, Barcelona, Lyon, London and, of course, the one in New Orleans which certainly reflected his lifestyle.

514 Toulouse, where the bar was located, was once part of the Louis Lanoix House, one of the older homes in the Quarter. Today the ground floor is the site of the New Orleans Creole Cookery restaurant and is also rumored to have hauntings, but then again what building in the Quarter does not?

Alas we have not been able to find a picture of the old place—most businesses named after Lautrec are usually decorated with reproductions of his dreamy painting. (If anyone has any pics please contact me at julia@myneworleans.com).

Oh, Poydras says he once bought a painting from a street vendor in the French Quarter called “Toulouse-Lautrec and the Blue Dog.” I didn’t want to tell him that it was probably a fake.

 

Dear Julia,

There is a story about a prank pulled on a group of men over dinner at Antoine’s. It has gotten around so I am sure you know what I am talking about. Is it true?

 –  Ferd Johannsen, Meraux

Yes, I know what you are talking about Ferd. There is a prestigious men’s dining cub that has periodic feasts in the Rex Room at Antoine’s. (It is not associated with the Rex organization although some members belong.) For the event the 12 members each wear tuxedos, and so do their 12 guests. Members rotate as hosts and on one occasion the host, before the meal, asked the members to get on their knees beside their chair. For some members doing so was quite a struggle, but they all managed to make it. With the done, the host told the men to “look around, this is what the room would have looked like to Toulouse Lautrec.” There were groans and a burst of laughter. The members worked their way back into their seats trying not to rumple their tuxedos. Many years have passed and there has been turnover among some members, but they still talk about the story. Yes, it is true.

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