Say it ain´t so….
There`s a restaurant in New Orleans – which is not just “a” restaurant – Tujagues is the city’s second oldest restaurant (after Antoine’s) and may be in jeopardy of closing. Please, please, please don’t close Tujague’s….
I think it would be a catastrophe and very very sad if this old New Orleans landmark would be replaced with yet another “I got drunk on Bourbon” type of tacky tourist t-shirt shop..
Ann Tuennerman, founder of the Tales of the Cocktail wrote this open letter to Stanford Latter:
Please see below my letter to Stanford Latter. This is such a potential tragedy that I have written the following letter and would like to ask for your help sharing it with your audience and helping me appeal to Stanford Latter.
Dear Mr. Latter,
Let me start by saying how sorry I am about the recent loss of your brother, Steve. In the time I got to know him through my work with Tales of the Cocktail and the New Orleans Cocktail Tour two things always stood out– his dry wit and his love for New Orleans. He clearly had a deep respect for the history and culture of our great city with the way he ran Tujague’s for more than 30 years.
Now, I don’t claim to be a real estate expert so I can’t speak to getting the most out of your investment. But as the founder of New Orleans Culinary and Cocktail Preservation Society, I do know about our city’s rich history of dining and drinks. Tujaque’s is the place that continued the legacy of Madame Begue’s legendary brunches and where the Grasshopper cocktail was invented. It’s the home of brisket and horseradish and the beautiful long standup bar that takes you back in time when you order a drink. It breaks my heart to picture the doorway of this landmark littered with Drunk 1 and Drunk 2 t-shirts.
This city is in the midst of a renaissance– one that’s met with both excitement and fear. Every day brings progress that New Orleans hasn’t seen in decades. But the great fear, one that’s generations old, is that with progress comes a cleansing of the culture that makes this place not a just a great place to visit but, more importantly, a great place to live.
Culture doesn’t just disappear in a day. Here one day, gone tomorrow. It erodes slowly as people put the bottom line ahead of everything else. But it doesn’t have to be that way. With what you choose to do with the Tujague’s building, you can stand for the peaceful coexistence between progress and culture.
I know business is business. But sometimes selling to the highest bidder comes with costs that can’t be counted in dollars and cents. Like losing yet another of our beloved restaurants and a piece of the living history that makes New Orleans so special.
If you sell the Tujague’s building to the wrong person, the rest of us will be the ones paying for it. So please, Mr. Latter, respect our history, respect our culture and respect the legacy your brother worked his life to build.
Ann Tuennerman, Founder of Tales of the Cocktail
Thank you in advance.
And here´s why Tujague’s is important! These are some historical facts about Tujaque’s:
New Orleans original stand-up bar.
Built in 1827 on site of old Spanish Armory.
Beginning around 1856, this locations was Madam Begue’s, famous for her 3-hour meals, later called “brunch” became Tujague’s sometime after WWI.
In the 1800’s, New Orleans started drinking early – bar opened at 5:00 am – did brisk before-work business.
During Prohibition, Tujaque’s waiters carried contraband bottles in their aprons.
During Prohibition, Federal Agent Isadore Einstein came to New Orleans to test how easily liquor was accessible. Einstein stepped off the train in New Orleans and got a drink in 37 seconds!
Famous for the Grasshopper which was invented by a bartender there who entered a competition!
GRASSHOPPER: Equal parts of crème de menthe, crème de cacao and light cream or milk. Shake with ice and strain.
And here´s what cocktail historian David Wondrich has to say:
“Tujague’s is one of the most authentic, unspoiled examples of a nineteenth-century bar left in America. To lose it would be to not only lose an important link with the history of New Orleans (a city whose reputation as a place to visit was largely built on the character of its old bars and restaurants) but with America’s history as well. I know that with a little patience this historic place can be saved, and I pray that that patience is found.”
David Wondrich – Cocktail Historian
Also John Besh have expressed interest in buying Tujague´s restaurant:
If I could affect a better outcome coming to Tujague’s than a T-shirt shop, then I will have done something good for my city.” — John Besh
Tujague`s - 823 Decatur St New Orleans, LA 70116, (504) 525-8676
You can help by sharing the open letter and support Tujague´s!