Napoleon House: NOLA history, regional food all on one corner

Entry tiles: Napoleon House, New Orleans French Quarter

Entry tiles: Napoleon House, New Orleans French Quarter

You might as well not even think about traveling to the New Orleans French Quarter if you’re not going to eat what locals do. And so we heed our own advice: plan your next meal; then tour what’s nearby! Although we’re frequent travelers to the Big Easy (Spent honeymoon there and many other trips in our 48 years together), we’d never been to Napoleon House. Recommended to us by Oscar and Sharon Southall (longtime Denham Springs, Louisiana, residents who’ve made hundreds of trips to New Orleans) Napoleon House was everything they said it was:  a well-preserved historic place with a short but perfected menu of foods of the Quarter.  (Think gumbo, muffulettas, boudin, jambalaya, and grilled alligator sausage!)

The 200-year-old building that is Napoleon House.

The 200-year-old building that is Napoleon House.

Napoleon House, a New Orleans fixture for 200 years, was once the residence of Nicholas Girod who served as mayor of New Orleans from 1812- 1815.  Girod offered the place to Napoleon as a refuge during his exile, and, even though Napoleon didn’t take him up on the offer, the name Napoleon House stuck anyway.

Small tables with white tablecloths await guests in a side room of Napoleon House.

Small tables with white tablecloths await guests in a side room of Napoleon House.

Known as a gathering place for artists and writers, Napoleon House was operated by the Impastato family from 1914 until Ralph Brennan (known for Red Fish Grill, Brennan’s New Orleans, Ralph’s on the Park and other great dining establishments) purchased it in 2015 with plans to expand and accommodate larger gatherings and parties.

Old photos and memorabilia hang on an untouched wall at Napoleon House, New Orleans French Quarter.

Old photos and memorabilia hang on an untouched wall at Napoleon House, New Orleans French Quarter.

Rooms in Napoleon House look about the same (well, that’s our judgement) as when Girod lived here: bunched-together random hangings of art and photos.  Peeling paint walls.  Shadowy lighting. It’s intimate. And definitely interesting.

A bartender prepares New Orleans cocktails in the elegant bar at Napoleon House.

A bartender prepares New Orleans cocktails in the elegant bar at Napoleon House.

The courtyard offers light and fresh breezes as you sit among the palms and dine on white tablecloths in what we’ve deemed “the epitome of a Deep South experience.”

Food, of course, is what we came for, and no disappointment there.  Napoleon House gumbo became a favorite with lots of seafood in a cooked-just-right roux. Although twilight lighting didn’t enhance my pictures, we encourage you to check out TripAdvisor for tourist photos of creole cuisine done right.  (Note to diners:  Unless you’re really hungry, order half a muffuletta — it’s on the menu that way — ’cause this sucker’s huge!!!)

Whole muffuletta from Napoleon House. Photo courtesy of TripAdvisor.com

Whole muffuletta from Napoleon House. Photo courtesy of TripAdvisor.com

Not one to sit quietly and wonder, I just outright asked our waiter What’s upstairs? He replied, That’s where we have parties and gatherings.  Want me to see if the manager will take you up for a look? And that’s how we hooked a private mini-tour of the elegant, beautifully preserved second floor!

If you appreciate old buildings with preserved fireplaces, chandeliers, doorways, floors, etc. — Napoleon House is almost a museum as most of its 200-year-old interior remains intact. But it’s first and foremost a great place for eating while you soak up that authentic French Quarter ambiance. C’est si bon!

Rooftop architecture: Napoleon House, New Orleans.

Rooftop architecture: Napoleon House, New Orleans.

For more information:

Napoleon House, 500 Chartres Street, New Orleans, LA 70130; 504-524-9752; napoleonhouse.com

For private events: 504-934-4704

 

About Oh, the Places We See

Met at University of Tennessee, been married for 47 years, and still passionate about travel whether we're volunteering with Habitat Global Village, combining work at Discovery with pleasure, or just seeing the world. Hope you'll join us as we try to see it all while we can!
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13 Responses to Napoleon House: NOLA history, regional food all on one corner

  1. Rusha, as you can probably tell from our posts, we can never say enough about NOLA. It’s pretty funny that we had a muffuletta at the Napoleon House on our last trip as well. One of our favorite things to do is to find the prix fixe menus at places that are usually only special occasion restaurants. And BTW, you may have noticed that things have been quiet at Gallivance lately. Terri blew her knee out and had to have a total knee replacement surgery recently, so as you can imagine, her recovery and care have kept us both pretty busy. She’s progressing well, but it’s slow going. We haven’t forgotten about our friends and look forward to things getting back to normal. In the meantime, thanks for continuing to follow along. ~James

    • I am so very sorry to hear about Terri’s knee. I haven’t had trouble like that, but my plantar fasciitis is just about to get the better of me! I’ve heard about mobilitiy issues, and they’re not for the faint of heart. We’ll welcome you both back to blogging world whenever you can make it. I take lapses during travel just so I can enjoy the scenery more and sleep at night. Glad you enjoyed Napoleon House. It was a favorite of ours this time. But I’d love another trip to see what other faves we could unearth!!! (Love Jacques Imo’s Cafe, too, but my pics aren’t good enough for publishing. But oh, so much fun!)

  2. What a gorgeous place! Well done for getting the upstairs tour. 🙂

  3. I do love the French Quarter… and was ever so happy that it bounced back after the hurricane. Thanks for reminding me why! –Curt

  4. That’s a trip back in time!

    Love the lavish interiors. Oh if those walls could only talk, the stories they’d share 🙂

    History and food and drinks?

    Yes please 😉

  5. We really, really need to go visit the French Quarter!

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