Speaking of Mardi Gras, New Orleans can mix it with just about anything. Food and Mardi Gras? You certainly have it here in the Cresent City at Arnauds!
Not quite one of the city’s Centenarian restaurants (but will be added to the list in just a few short years), Arnaud’s was opened in 1918 by Arnaud Cazenave, a French wine salesman whose goal was to provide great Creole food to NOLA residents and guests. For 60 years, the Cazenaves did their best to hold true to the tradition of great French Creole cuisine in the heart of the French Quarter.
1978 brought both a change of ownership and a change in atmosphere. The Casbarians purchased the eatery with goals of restoring the now-tired property and tightening up the flavors and recipes that made Arnauds a great place to eat. In doing so, the Casbarians brought new life back to a landmark that was in danger of losing itself to modern tastes and times. Arnaud’s is now a wonderful upscale restaurant that provides both a la carte’ and Table d’Hote (similar to prix fixe) menu options for both dinner and lunch/brunch.
So what does this wonderful eatery have to do with Mardi Gras?
We’re glad you asked! It just so happens that Arnaud’s second floor is home to the Germaine Cazenave Wells Mardi Gras Museum! As successor to Arnaud’s restaurant, Arnaud’s daughter Germaine was the epitome of the ideal New Orelans resident. Boisterous, headstrong, dramatic… pretty much a diva in modern-day terms. And she was the ideal personality to spread word of Arnaud’s everywhere she went, helping to make the restaurant a great success during her time at the helm.
Besides being a very successful restaurant manager, Germaine loved to attend Mardi Gras balls. And wouldn’t you know that she reigned as queen over twenty two of them! Her queen’s costumes are the backbone of the Mardi Gras Museum, along with costumes of her mother and her father (Arnaud). Displayed with each are photos of the outfit being worn. Carnival masks, favors, krewe memorabilia, and many other beloved Mardi Gras items also reside in the museum.
Open during restaurant hours each day (6pm and later each night, and during brunch on Sunday from 10am to 2:30pm), the museum is free for viewing by the public.
Please note that if you come to dine, Arnaud’s does adhere to a dress code that reflects its upscale atmosphere, including business-casual attire or better, depending on your dining preference. Dining reservations are recommended.
Located at 813 Bienville Street, Arnaud’s is a great place to visit during your bed and breakfast getaway here at Avenue Inn! Just a streetcar ride from outside our front door to Canal Street, and then a short walk to the colorful burgundy facade with green ironwork that lets everyone know they’ve arrived at one of the best Creole eateries in town. Oh, and do keep an eye out for Arnaud himself who is thought to appear in a corner of the dining room during the busy hours, checking on (and approving of) the state of his beloved eatery!