Friday, August 30, 2013

Celebrating a Long history at The Roosevelt

            We parade at the drop of a hat in New Orleans. We raise our glasses and take to the streets with umbrellas at the slightest suggestions — and bring go-cups, of course because we’re lucky to have been born in a town where alcohol is allowed to travel in public. So it makes sense to celebrate a former governor, his favorite drink and the women who stormed the bar that made it famous.
            Today and Sept. 27 a favorite landmark among residents celebrates two historic events that may seem weird to others, but makes perfect sense to New Orleanians. 
            The Roosevelt New Orleans, a glamorous hotel that dates backs decades and was once the stomping ground of famed Louisiana Gov. Huey P. Long, honors “The Kingfish’s” birthday today with a performance by Spud McConnell in the hotel’s famous Blue Room, which Long used to frequent. McConnell, a local acting celeb, will perform a one-man depiction of the life and times of Long.
            Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and general admission is $65; call (504) 335-3138.
            Before the show, be sure and visit the Sazerac Bar, completely restored to its former glory and sporting several outstanding Paul Ninas murals from the 1930s. Long used to enjoy the bar’s famous Slow Gin Fizz, invented by Henry Ramoz in 1888 at his New Orleans bar. The drink is work intensive so only a few bars and bartenders in town perfected the task, but the Roosevelt Hotel was one of them.
            The Ramos Gin Fizz was a personal favorite of Long. Once, when he traveled to New York City and stayed at the New Yorker hotel that claimed the drink for its own, he promptly called The Roosevelt and had them send up the best bartender to instruct those poor Yankees on how to make the renowned New Orleans drink.
            Now, even though Long believed in the common man and insisted that “Every Man a King,” that sometimes failed to include women in New Orleans. For years, only men were allowed inside the Sazerac Bar. In 1949, a group of women changed that rule with a “Stormin’ of the Sazerac.” On Sept. 27, at 1 p.m., you can join the women of New Orleans recreating this event, which also includes a Ladies Blue Room Luncheon, fashion show and contest, swing music and much more. The price is $35, non-inclusive of tax and gratuity, and can be made by calling (504) 648-5486. Costumes necessary.

            So whether you’re sipping a Ramos Gin Fizz tonight or the bar’s trademark drink the sazerac in your pin box hat and gloves next month, be sure and take a good look at those murals. The large curvy one on the end sports several famous people, including Long himself. Can you find them?

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