The Skeleton Key


The Richelieu Bar- Skeleton Key

In the weeks following Casbarian’s acquisition of Arnaud’s and the beginning of restoration, many locals were fascinated by the changes occurring to one of their favorite establishments. Casbarian knew that months of work were ahead, but he also wanted to accommodate the curiosity of his friends and patrons.

He came up with an ingenious idea: the Richelieu Bar was just about the only structure that did not require substantial work and it happened to have a street entrance. He had fancy skeleton keys produced, numbered, and mailed out to New Orleans bon vivants, along with an invitation to come take a look. He rehired Mr. Henry, the restaurant’s long-time, former bartender and from then on the Richelieu was packed daily with new Orleanians, supervising the construction process from their perches at the bar. Mr. Henry retired in 1980.

from Arnaud’s Restaurant Cookbook by Kit Wohl (Pelican Publishing)

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