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?