Friday, May 2, 2014

New Orleans: Commander’s Palace

In the early 1880s, when Louisiana became a U.S. territory, many Americans moved to New Orleans in hopes of making their fortunes. 

These new German, Irish, etc. settlers were not welcomed by the established French Creoles that lived in New Orleans’ French Quarter.

So these new snubbed residents established their own neighborhood, which quickly evolved into New Orleans’ beautiful Garden District. Its stately tree-lined streets showcase Greek revival homes and mansions that are surrounded by fragrant gardens.

These gardens were planted not only for their aesthetic appeal but to also mask the occasional odors that drifted across from the riverfront area where cattle pens and slaughterhouses were located.

Renovated Commander's Palace

In the heart of the Garden District in 1880, Emile Commander built his restaurant, Commander’s Palace across the street from Lafayette Cemetery No. 1. This restaurant became popular among the district’s wealthiest families.

Part of the Palaces success is attributed to the fact that families would dine after they visited loved one's graves across the street.

During the Roaring Twenties, gamblers and prostitutes used the Palace’s second floor. Gentlemen who wined and dined their mistresses reserved private rooms on this floor. These upstairs activities had a separate entrance.

In contrast, the first floor's main dining room had an “impeccable reputation.” Families often stopped in after church to eat at the restaurant.

Today the multi-award-winning Commander’s Palace is considered one of the most exceptional dining experiences in New Orleans--actually in the entire South. 

Emeril Lagasse and Paul Prudhomme are just two of its famous alumni Executive chefs.

Emile Commander
Many people believe that Emile Commander’s ghost still lingers at his favorite restaurant.

The Palace today has an eclectic wine list that includes bottles priced from $20 up to $2500. Regulars at the restaurant believe that the Commander has a fondness for alcohol. 

He is known to sip the guest’s unattended drinks or even drink the entire content in their glasses.

Other activity that has been noticed includes lights going on and off, and footsteps echoing without apparent cause. Dishes and silverware are found moved or just disappears.

A young female ghost has been seen on the staircase near the main dining room downstairs. 

Various other sightings are believed to be spirits that have come from the nearby cemetery. Others feel this activity is a result of the more nefarious activities that occurred in the restaurant in the 1920s.

Unlike many other restaurants in New Orleans, Commander's Palace does not officially acknowledge their ghosts. But often the wait staff will. 


Unknown said...

I had dinner with two coworkers there in the early 90s. At some point, I made my way to the ladies' room on the first floor. It was a cute little water closet with a shelf above the toilet tank. Imagine my surprise when something flew off that shelf and hit the opposite wall, narrowly missing my head. I didn't see any entities, but I can't imagine what else could have caused that but an angry ghost.

Virginia Lamkin said...

Thanks for sharing. The more stories told--confirms others experiences.

Unknown said...

Im from Louisiana. My brother in law and his wife took us to Commanders Palace for dinner. It was wonderful. But duringvthe meal my plate disappeared twice. It didnt vanish before my eyes it just was not there when I looked for it. I had an eary feeling. But kept my feelings to myself.