Ever nostalgic and admirers of all things historic and lasting, at Fosdick this one hits especially close to home.
Antoine’s is the single most important establishment in New Orleans, and possibly beyond. The French Quarter landmark began as a boardinghouse opened in 1840 by Antoine Alciatore, an immigrant from Marseilles.
Yes, that’s right…1840. Antoine’s has been in operation for 180 years.
Antoine’s is stitched into the fabric of the city – its significance demonstrated by the fact that the restaurants founding is featured for the year 1840 on this PBS American Experience Timeline.
Since then Antoine’s and the city of New Orleans itself has been no stranger to crises. Here’s a short list:
- 1853 yellow fever epidemic that killed nearly 9,000 New Orleans residents The city is captured by Union naval fleet led by Rear Admiral David G. Farragut, and subsequently occupied by Union forces for the remainder of the war
- A second bout with yellow fever in 1905 that claims 400
- A 1927 storm that brings 15 inches of rain in just 18 hours causing disastrous flooding and forcing the city to dynamite the Poydras levee in an attempt to direct the flood waters away from the city
- Massive civil unrest in 1960 when six-year-old Ruby Bridges enters the William Frantz Public Elementary School, the first black student to enroll in the formerly all-white school
- Hurricane Betsy in 1965, brings winds of 125 miles per hour, causing widespread flooding, and killing dozens of residents
- 2005, Hurricane Katrina makes landfall in Louisiana, breaching levees and causing massive flooding that forces New Orleans residents to crowd the superdome. The fall out from Katrina ultimately leads to a complete evacuation of the city. 1600 people are killed and the city itself is decimated. To this day, 15 years after the hurricane’s landfall, restoring New Orleans is still a work in progress. Although 90 percent of New Orleans’s pre-storm population is back and much of the city has been rebuilt, neighborhoods such as the Lower Ninth Ward have not had the same amount of post-Katrina growth.
Now, Antoine’s is faced with another test in the coronavirus pandemic. The restaurant is struggling a bit right now (the entire industry is). Still, they persist.