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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region.

ORAL HISTORY

Chris Hannah


Arnaud's French 75 Bar

Chris Hannah moved to New Orleans in 2004 in pursuit of a hospitality and tourism degree, and dreams of owning his own bed & breakfast. He had tended bar in other cities and had found greater enjoyment in serving customers than crafting cocktails. Then he was hired at Arnaud’s French 75 Bar. Bobby Oakes, once the head bartender here, taught him how to make a Sazerac, a Ramos Gin Fizz, and, of course, the French 75: a sumptuous but simple cocktail made with cognac, lemon, sugar, and a float of champagne. It was the preferred quaff of Count Arnaud Cazenave, who was not a count but rather a wine merchant and a flairishly odd New Orleans character. Count Arnaud became owner and longtime maître d’ of one of the city’s premier high-end, Creole-style dining rooms. Chris can craft just about any cocktail, traditional or contemporary, with an attention to aesthetic detail and taste. But it is his dedication to service that remains so crucial, that serves his customers and the city so well.

Date of interview:
2015-04-13

Interviewer:
Rien Fertel

Photographer:
Denny Culbert

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