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Antoine’s Restaurant Has an Upstairs?

antoines upstairs new orleansWell, I’ll be… Will wonders never cease. Here I am Mr. New Orleans blog writer professing to be so up and hip on what’s going on in this city. I must say that recently I was a little aghast at my lack of knowledge about something that should’ve been so obvious.

After have a a fine repast in the 1840 room with some good friends of mine from Spring Hill College, my alma mater, our friend Gretch said, “Let’s go upstairs.” “Upstairs?” I said. “Antoine’s has an upstairs?”

Well, I can plainly see that they have an upstairs, I mean I can see that there is an enclosed balcony up there inside the restaurant as I stood in what used to be an alleyway but is now covered with a roof with a skylight. I can see that there are what look to be some offices up there. But an upstairs upstairs like in a place people, and I mean the common people, namely the customers can venture?

So we walked toward the front of the restaruant where sat several customers, a few men, some of them not wearing dress jackets (a bone of contention for many a New Orleanian, but that’s another story) and through a little door, into a little hallway that linked the new Hermes Bar and up a long flight of stairs that looked like they had just been repainted and refinished.

At the top I heard music and jabbering and I peaked through a door which revealed a large room that was decorated in some kind of Oriental style. Apparently, there was some kind of reception going on. I was flabbergasted. Not only had I never seen this room before. I had never even heard about it. Never in all my years on this earth had I ever heard anyone mention anything about upstairs at Antoine’s.

Not only is there this Asian-like room but there are four other small dining rooms for private parties. And I discovered that the Twelfth Nitght Revelers have their dining room up there and you can see all kinds of memoribilia adorning the walls of the place. The balcony there looks out on the street.

All of our party was up there marveling at all we saw. The place looks great after some refurbishing since Katrina which I understand did some damage. Standing there in those hallowed halls I wondered how many people over the generations had been up here, eaten here, laughed here, reveled here.

That’s the thing about New Orleans. The past is so close it frolics with the present.

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