Ella in her own words

“You have to know your locals. No one should feel like a stranger in their own hometown.”

“It was all of us; we were a family. That’s one of the things I love about the restaurant business — we were able to work with each other for so long.”

“We have a saying in our family: ‘When you die, see you in the saloon in the sky.’ And that’s where I’ll be.”

Others on Ella

“She’s not a chef, and that’s the thing that blows your mind, because she has the greatest palate of anyone I’ve ever met.” — Emeril Lagasse, former executive chef at Commander’s Palace

“When she wanted something to get done, she would say, ‘Put an elephant lean on it.’ If an elephant leans on something long enough, it will move. She applied steady pressure until it happened.” — Xavier Teixido, former manager at Commander’s Palace, now owner of Harry’s Hospitality Group

“I can still hear her telling us, ‘We’re going to run up this hill every day. I don’t mind if you run ahead of me or run beside me, but I’m going to get tired of pulling you up behind me.’ ” — Restaurateur Dickie Brennan, nephew of Ella Brennan

“She told us that opportunity walks in your door every day. It could be a new customer; it could be a new staff member. She always was looking at every day fresh, because something good can happen every day.” — Restaurateur Ralph Brennan, nephew of Ella Brennan

“She taught me how to make friends in your restaurant. How it starts one on one, by connecting with the people you work with. There’s a huge reward to that in this industry.” — Danny Trace, former executive sous chef at Commander’s Palace, now chef at Brennan’s of Houston