- New Mexico decides to use HealthCare.gov for 2015
- Satanists to use Hobby Lobby rule to skirt state abortion laws
- White House: No choice but to act now on climate change
- HHS: ‘Donut hole’ reforms saved Medicare enrollees $11.5 billion since 2010
- Boston-area tornado rips 100 homes: ‘Are we in Kansas?’
- Rush Limbaugh: ‘There is no journalism anymore’
- Scott Brown struggles for political traction in New Hampshire Senate race
- California’s Jerry Brown cites God, ‘religious call’ to embrace illegals
- Hamid Karzai’s cousin killed by suicide bomber at Eid al-Fitr party
- Obama thanks Muslims for ‘building the very fabric of our nation’
Closure of landmark Brennan’s eatery in New Orleans spotlights family feud
Question of the Day
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Enter New Orleans’ French Quarter on the uptown end of Bourbon Street, and the legacy of Owen E. Brennan Sr. becomes immediately clear.
Mr. B’s Bistro (Cindy Brennan, managing partner) is at Iberville and Royal streets, while SoBou, another Brennan project, has opened next to the tony W hotel. There’s also the venerable Commander's Palace over in the Garden District.
Of course, you could always drop by the spiritual base of the dynasty at 417 Royal St., home of bananas Foster, sumptuous courtyard breakfasts, and dinners of fresh seafood or prime meats awash in what one glowing review called “a Niagara of familiar sauces — hollandaise, meuniere, marchand de vin, bearnaise and choron.”
But you won’t get in. Not even with a reservation.
Brennan's Restaurant — “A New Orleans Tradition Since 1946” — is closed, the latest shoe to fall in 40 years of headline-grabbing family discord and costly litigation over matters of control, money and use of the family name.
Golden lettering that once spelled out “Brennan‘s” has been pried from the 18th-century pink town house on Royal, leaving gray gashes in the stucco and, perhaps, an even deeper wound in the psyche of a city keen on its culinary history.
Brennan’s the restaurant — and the Brennans themselves — have always been about more than dining. Their establishments launched celebrity chefs such as Emeril Lagasse. Family members founded the star-filled Mardi Gras parade Bacchus and have worked to promote the city’s tourism industry as a whole.
That there have been quarrels is hardly news in New Orleans, but when word of the closure at 417 Royal hit websites and social media, it raised anew questions about the future of the hallowed site and the Brennan legacy.
“The fact that it closed amid family squabbles is just kind of unseemly,” says Bret Thorn, food editor of Nation’s Restaurant News magazine.
“It’s just such a great, great institution,” says Tim Zagat, co-founder of the Zagat restaurant guide. “With the spaces inside, the famous dishes that they created. It would be a shame to lose it.”
• • •
The gastronomic dynasty began in the 1940s on Bourbon Street. Owen E. Brennan owned the Old Absinthe House bar when, according to New Orleans lore, he opened his namesake restaurant in part to answer a challenge: Fellow restaurateur “Count” Arnaud Cazenave jokingly questioned the ability of an Irishman to run anything better than a hamburger joint.
Owen Brennan succeeded with fine cuisine, powerful cocktails, imported wines and promotional savvy. He pushed chef Paul Blange to create a banana-based dessert because New Orleans was a major importer of the fruit. While other establishments focused on the dinnertime experience, Brennan promoted “Breakfast at Brennan's,” featuring a courtyard view and rich egg creations.
TWT Video Picks
- GOP Senate candidate: Obama needs to visit Central America
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- Border surge puts Obama legacy on immigration at stake
- EPSTEIN: All IRS roads lead to the archivist
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- Smugglers, rainstorm combine to poke holes in border fence
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia's gay marriage ban
- PRUDEN: When the hangman botches the job
- Romney would win popular vote in rematch against Obama: CNN poll
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq