Monday, September 19, 2011

Brennan's Restaurant

As with all vacations, even virtual ones have to end. As much as I have enjoyed playing on the internet and dreaming of a getaway, it's time for me to get back to work.

Even though our lovely hotel offers fine dining, I thought for our last night in New Orleans we'd go some place new for dinner--and of course it's also haunted. You can read about it below or click here
to see other haunted restaurants around town.

Brennan’s Restaurant
Located at 417 Royal Street in the heart of the French Quarter, Brennan's Restaurant has been a culinary phenomenon in New Orleans since it opened its doors in 1946. The Brennan's menu is known and highly regarded throughout the world and most visitors do not want to miss an opportunity to have a meal at this famous location while visiting the Crescent City.

The Royal Street location that Brennan's now occupies was maintained as a private residence throughout the 19th century and into the 20th century, until Edward Brennan founded his famous restaurant. Most of the paranormal activity that has been identified at Brennan's is attributed to the families who owned and occupied this former New Orleans town house in the early years of the 19th century. The location passed through several owners and so the identity of the ghostly spectres cannot be verifiably traced, however, their presence is undeniable.

Members of the Brennan family who currently own and operate the restaurant readily admit that there are ghosts at the location. 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 Chel 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."

For a haunting in the most sumptuous surroundings, Brennan's, the famous French Quarter restaurant, offers it's red dining room. Tucked away upstairs and lit by gas chandeliers, the room was the scene of a murder-suicide during the Civil War when the owner of the house killed his wife and son then hanged himself from the elaborate brass chandelier.

"I've seen the ghost there myself," says a waiter at Brennan's for10 years. "The cleaning crew won't go in there at night, but a lot of people request that room for dinner. They hope to see the ghost.

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