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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

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Trey Monaghan

Molly's at the Market

Jim Monaghan Sr., a colorful character in a city teeming with them, founded Molly’s at the Market in 1974. Jim owned upwards of thirty downtown New Orleans bars at one time or another, but Molly’s was his baby. This was the bar where the Irish parade he started begins and ends; the space where he installed “the window,” one of the world’s premier people-watching perches; the place he filled with his life and memorabilia; and the space that now serves as his final resting place.

Patrons from all walks of life drink day after day and night after night at Molly’s, but the bar is especially popular with police officers, politicians, and reporters. On Thursday evenings — the famously raucous media nights — these last two groups move behind the bar. Your next shot or draft beer might be served by a Pulitzer Prize winner. The bar is run by Jim’s son Jim Jr. and his children, Tierney and Trey. After Hurricane Katrina, Trey left a budding career in standup comedy to return home and help operate the family business. Like his grandfather, he’s since become the family’s chief publican, in the old British sense of the word, an individual who manages a tavern.

Date of interview:

Rien Fertel

Denny Culbert

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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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