Introducing French Quarter Cocktails

Hand Grenade
Photograph by Denny Culbert.

For the past several months, oral historian Rien Fertel and photographer Denny Culbert moved through the crowded alleys of the French Quarter in New Orleans to collect stories behind the cocktails. This oral history project documents the lives and drinks of the French Quarter’s past and present.

Shelley Waguespack of Pat O’Brien’s shares stories of how her father, George Oeschner III, grew up working at Pat O’s alongside his father, and how he created a vibrant outdoor social space and made the Hurricane a national phenomenon. Trey Monaghan recollects stories of his grandfather, Jim Monaghan, Jr., the man who started Molly’s on the Market and chose it as his final destination.

Listen to Earl Bernhardt and Pam Fortner explain the origins of their famous invention, the Hand Grenade. Marvin Allen, head bartender of the Carousel Bar tells how he helped revive the Vieux Carre, a drink invented by Walter Bergeron in 1939. And Chris Hannah of Arnaud’s French 75 Bar remembers time with his mentor Bobby Oakes and explains the Sazerac.

We’ll post segments from these interviews throughout the week. You can head here right now to explore the full project.

While you explore these new stories, peruse our archive for the Bartenders of New Orleans, and our Gravy episode featuring Rien’s historical exploration of Bourbon Street.