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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. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to annemarie@southernfoodways.org.

< Back to Oral History project: Bartenders of New Orleans


Michael Santucci

Touché Bar

New Orleans native Michael Santucci has been tending bar since 1972. He learned his trade by accident, he says, working at his father’s place in the French Quarter, called Mike’s Bar. Since then, he’s held shifts at more than a few joints and mixed his fair share of cocktails. It’s not the cocktails that keep him in the business, though. Michael is quick to confess that he’s in it to make a living. Today you can find him at the Touché Bar or the Rib Room (both part of the Royal Orleans Hotel), where he has plied his trade since the early 1990s, doting on locals and welcoming tourists. You might even find him nursing a cocktail around the corner at the Napoleon House at the end of a long shift. Wherever he is, Michael is good for a few stories and more than a few laughs. And he will be thrilled to make you one of his signature Mai Tais, if you’re in the mood for something tropical. As Michael says, the ladies like it.

Date of interview:

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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