When my brother shared his feelings about St. Charles Avenue as the street he "loved most in the world," he got me to thinking. He explained by describing: its beauty; what you find where it begins and ends; and, that the route is a microcosm of everything New Orleans.
We've both traveled the world in different ways. I began to scroll through my life and travels. Other than home in Cadrieu, France that goes without saying; it should come as no surprise to the rest of you that The Napoleon House is the bar/restaurant that I love most in the world. The Napoleon House stands alone: untouchable and incomparable.
Next year will be 40 years that I have been coming to the Napoleon House on a regular basis. We share a history and romance that I will always cherish.
It began when I arrived in New Orleans in 1976 to attend the Tulane School of Social Work. My friends and I would load up on the St. Charles Street car to ride from Uptown down to Canal Street for 30 cents and then walk into the Quarter. We quickly learned that we could get a quarter of a muffaletta and a soft drink at the Napoleon House, wander over to Cafe Du Monde for cafe au lait and beignets, and deposit our 30 cents return on the streetcar and still come in for under $5.
Through the years of jobs, men, friends, and visitors up until Hurricane Katrina; the Napoleon House had been a true and faithful constant in my life.
After the storm, it took some time for the hours to stabilize. Most of the wait staff had left the city. Even though I'd returned in October of 2005 and was one of the first 65,000 to come back-customers were in short supply too and many of us were living in shock amongst the rubble and debris of our lives. What a day when I went to the Napoleon House with my friend Barbara for lunch, and I got their first Reuben Sandwich made after the storm. (Little things make me happy!)
There is so much more that I could write. Suffice it to say that there is no other place in the world like the Napoleon House. It's history, charm, romance, atmosphere, personality, and memories make it so...and, home for me.