Royal Street Photo Album: The Napoleon House, New Orleans

The Preternatura Book Club is on hiatus until January (when we’ll start reading the first book in Patricia Briggs’ oh-so-fabulous Mercy Thompson series), so today I’m continuing an ongoing series of photos from places that play an important role in my upcoming urban fantasy Royal Street. (Cue shameless self-promotion music.)

Today, let’s visit the Napoleon House, which is one of my favorite spots in New Orleans. (And if you’re going to be at Authors After Dark 2012 next August, I’m planning to take some readers over to the Napoleon House for a Pimm’s Cup at least once.)

So, in Royal Street, a pivotal scene in the book takes place in the Napoleon House, a French Quarter bar and restaurant at the corner of St. Louis and Chartres streets. Here’s what it looks like during daylight hours (my scene takes place at night):

The Napoleon House was built around 1815 by New Orleans mayor Nicholas Girod as a private residence, and in 1821, Girod offered it to Napoleon Bonaparte when the emperor was exiled. Napoleon never lived there, but that’s how it got its name. The Napoleon House has been in the same family since 1914. I chose the Napoleon House for a key setting because it was old enough to be familiar to the pirate Jean Lafitte, and I knew the interior layout. At the time my scene takes place, the restaurant and bar are still closed following Hurricane Katrina so my wizard DJ has it all to herself…well, almost 🙂

Here’s a shot of the interior of the front part of the bar. It has a decadent, old-world feel (dig the peeling plaster walls), and draws way more locals than most French Quarter establishments. It’s low-key, and they play only classical music. They also serve what I think is the best muffaletta in town (a sandwich on Italian bread, with provolone and meats and olive salad). Since the restaurant was closed during my scene, DJ doesn’t get to eat one.

Their signature drink is the Pimm’s Cup–Pimm’s liqueur, lemonade, 7-Up, and cucumber. C’est si bon!

In Royal Street, DJ slips in the Napoleon House at night and hides out in the courtyard for a while, trying to see what’s going on in one of the upstairs banquet rooms. Here’s the courtyard.

I’ve never been in the banquet room, so I had to do some imaginary embellishing and furniture rearranging with it (with apologies to the Napoleon house), but here’s a photo of it from the Napoleon House website.

People richer than me rent it out for events. I’d love to have my launch party here!

If you’ve been to NOLA, have you been to the Napoleon House?

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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and suspense. As Suzanne Johnson, she is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate's Alley, Belle Chasse, Frenchmen Street (March 2018). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance; ILLUMINATION); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the Wilds of the Bayou series (Wild Man's Curse; Black Diamond).

20 thoughts on “Royal Street Photo Album: The Napoleon House, New Orleans

  1. I love Pimm’s Cup! My husband discovered them during a trip to England and he introduced them to several of us at college. That was 31+ years ago and we still enjoy an occasionaly Pimm’s Cup. Have one for me, on your next visit 🙂

  2. @Susan…aren’t they just wonderful? Especially in hot weather. There was a shortage of Pimm’s in the U.S. around the time of Prince William’s wedding–the UK was hanging onto it all!

  3. LOL, Brinda–I know. Makes me hungry. And that’s a QUARTER of that sandwich. They’re made on these huge round dinnerplate-sized italian loaves and you can buy a quarter, half or whole sandwich. I don’t know anyone who’s been able to eat more than a half.

  4. I too have been to New Orleans but didn’t spot this quaint place. I will definitely go next time! Love the idea of the classical music, the muffaletta and the Pimm’s.

  5. I love seeing pictures of New Orleans; please keep it up! I’ve been to NOLA 3 times, but alas, it was during Mardis Gras each time, so my memories of the area are spotty at best. I don’t think I’ve been to Napoleon House. *grin*

  6. @Suzanne–you definitely need to look it up next time you’re in NOLA. It just reeks of COOLNESS. 🙂

    @Rosalie…Since the Napoleon House is only two blocks off Bourbon Street, I wouldn’t want to get anywhere near it during Mardi Gras! You wouldn’t forget it if you’d been there (even in an altered state–LOL). With the classical music, it’s a very different vibe from most of the Quarter.

  7. I’ve eaten there only once, but it does hold this old world charm, doesn’t it.

    One of my favorite places to eat is K-Paul’s. Don’t need salt or pepper on the table. It’s perfect!

    And for those of you not going to Authors After Dark, you are welcome to come to the Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal conference (FF&P) in March 2012. Yep. I’ll be there. Wish Suzanne would be too, but she’s got a new book to pimp. Darn. Great post! I so can’t wait until April 10th for your book!

  8. I hate to admit this, Dawn, but I haven’t been to K-Pauls in all the years I lived in NOLA (shame on me). If I have the money to splurge I always head straight to Commander’s Palace!

  9. @Teri Anne…Yes, that muffaletta haunted me all day. It didn’t make my protein shake go down any better for lunch!

    @Julia. Man, I wish I could go to FF&P in March but I’ll be there in April for book launch. Darn day job!

    @Randall…I hope you get to go to New Orleans sometimes. It is a magical place–there’s nothing else like it.

  10. Suzanne,

    We are heading to Commander’s in a couple of weeks for our office Christmas party. Last time we went there we were thrown out due to too many Grand Marnier’s. lol Love Commanders too.

    You will have to go to K-Paul’s when you come back down. They have this awesome molasses bread, Omg!

  11. Oooh, weee! As a fellow writing, setting the book in New Orleans, love reading this feature on the pictures and how you’re adapting to fit your needs. Yes, I’m doing a week bit of that myself, too. I hit some challenges with timing and setting recently, but seemed to come out all right. Look forward to reading Royal Street!

  12. Thanks, Louisa–Yes, sometimes we have to take those real settings and shuffle things around a little. I’ve been having fun in my current manuscript with the old abandoned Six Flags just outside New Orleans!

  13. Oooh, I know the place well! “Visited” there in my current book out, Chains of Silver! Have you seen the videos on YouTube? I have a friend who blogs on amusement parks and he was quite the source for me. They actually have pulled out some of the rollercoasters and put them elsewhere. One came out here to California at our Six Flags. Wouldn’t ride that!