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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.

< Back to Oral History project: The Brennan Family of New Orleans

ORAL HISTORY

Peggy Blangé Ibos, Mike Vidal, Mary Wahl, and Caitlyn Fritsche


Peggy Blangé Ibos, Mike Vidal, Mary Wahl, and Caitlin Fritsche gathered with family photographs, recipes, and news articles written about Chef Paul Blangé to remember his legacy and talk about his life and career as a chef.

Paul Blangé was born and raised in Holland. As a young man, he worked as a pastry chef aboard a ship. He left the ship for New Orleans and fell in love with a woman named Mary Fatzer. They married and had two daughters, Marie and Paulette. Mary died of tuberculosis when she was only twenty three years old. After her death in 1932, Blangé was deported to Holland with his two American-born children. He stayed there for two years before Peter Jung, owner of the Jung Hotel in New Orleans, wrote a letter petitioning on his behalf to United States immigration service. Paul Blangé received a visa. His family returned to New Orleans.

Blangé started working as a chef at the Vieux Carré soon after his return to New Orleans. He also met a woman named Margaret Martin and fell in love. She was originally from Arkansas and Tennessee, but she moved to New Orleans to work at a munitions factory during World War II. They married and had three children.

In 1946, the Brennan family bought the Vieux Carré. They retained Blangé as the first chef of Brennan’s Vieux Carré Restaurant. During his long tenure at Brennan’s, he created famous dishes like eggs Hussarde, Trout Marguerite, and Trout Blangé. With Ella Brennan, Blangé created bananas Foster. Paul Blangé passed away in 1977, but his legacy lives on. His portrait still hangs in Brennan’s Restaurant.

Date of interview:
2017-01-18

Interviewer:
Sara Roahen

Photographer:
Ava Lowrey

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