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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.


Greg Cowman

The Napolean House

Greg Cowman fell into bartending while he was living in New York City. In 1989, his uncle, chef Tom Cowman, talked him into heading to New Orleans, and for the next sixteen years Greg plied his trade in the French Quarter. He’s kept a few shifts at the Napoleon House for the past fourteen years, but Greg also spends his time doing web design and getting some acting gigs in local commercials. But it’s tending bar at the Napoleon House that he’s dedicated to continuing. The social interaction, the feel of the place, the people he meets—all things Greg isn’t willing to give up any time soon. And the drinks? He’s not into the trendy French Quarter cocktails, but he’s happy to make you something civilized like a Sazerac. As he puts it, “bartending is ten percent knowing how to make drinks and ninety percent just knowing how to chat with people.” Chatting at Greg’s bar will make you want to stay for a few more rounds.

Date of interview:
2005-04-01 00:00

Amy Evans


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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


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