New Orleans, LA is home to one of the most haunted eateries in the nation, Brennan's Restaurant. Come Explore its spooky menu and other offerings with Haunted Journeys.
When Owen Brennan, the beloved proprietor of the Old Absinthe House, was teased by Count Arnaud that an Irishman's culinary skills ended with boiled potatoes, he was determined to prove him wrong. In 1946 he opened Owen Brennan's Vieux Carré Restaurant on Bourbon Street, where Bananas Foster, Breakfast at Brennan's, and history were made in the process. After a successful decade of business and Owen's untimely passing, the restaurant moved to its present quarters. In festive New Orleans fashion, loyal patrons ate and drank a final supper before parading to dinner at 417 Royal Street, a new location with an illustrious past. Constructed in 1795 by the great grandfather of Edgar Degas, the famous pink building once housed the Louisiana State Bank, served as a private residence frequented by President Andrew Jackson, and was home to eccentric chess master Paul Morphy. It was bequeathed to Tulane University, leased and then sold to the Brennan family in 1984, and in 2013 was bought by partners Ralph Brennan and Terry White, who completed a major restoration.
Once famous haunting there involves the infamous spectre of the second-storey Red Room. Said to be the spirit of a former owner who lost everything in financial ruin and who committed suicide after murdering his family, the ghostly atmosphere of the Red Room is usually all anyone needs to convince them that the place is haunted. Staff and employees, however, often have to go to the room for linens or tables and additional chairs, and there have been reports of a mysterious misty figure who literally haunts their steps the entire time they are working upstairs. Patrons who have rented the room for special events have reported the ghostly image of a man dressed in 18th century clothing seen peering in disapprovingly at the festivities. Some have encountered simply a feeling of his presence, an anger and foreboding, just outside the main door to the Red Room.
Another active spectre is said to the be ghost of the late Chef Paul Blange who created many of Brennan's signature dishes and helped build the reputation of the esteemed eatery. European Chef Paul Blange, who worked for decades at the famous eatery and was so devoted to the restaurant that when he died the restaurant’s menu, a knife and fork were placed across his chest of his dead body as he lay in the coffin. "No one ever thought Chef Blange would leave Brennan’s, and apparently, he never did," says Jimmy Brennan, an owner of the establishment. The Chef is said to lurk in the kitchen, his natural location in life, and many of the chef staff have reported the feeling of being watched, and even of something touching them while they are preparing meals. Late at night, when the guests have gone and staff are locking up, Chef Paul will bang doors and pots in the empty kitchen. And this is where the ghost is most often sighted.
Another former employee is said to haunt and be sighted in the wine cellar that he made famous. Herman Funk, a wine master whom Brennan's employed to build their fabulous cache of famous and renowned wines and spirits, is said to be still attached to his job even in the afterlife. Most employees don't like going to the wine racks alone, although they brave their way through it. For every clink of a bottle the employee makes, it is said, there is a mimicking "clink" of another bottle just out of reach. This, they say, is Herman Funk making his suggestion for a wine selection. Employees who have been there awhile admit that they will usually go with Funk's selection, in addition to what the guest might request, bringing patrons a choice "just to keep Herman happy."
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