When Bob Glim went to work for T.J. Moran in 1992, it wasn’t to cook or serve in Moran’s numerous restaurants. Glim was in charge of the warehouse.
“He called me his vice president in charge of stuff and transportation,” Glim said.
The title has never been more appropriate. Moran, who died May 18 at age 84, had a whole lot of stuff. And now, it’s got to go.
An estate sale will be held Thursday through Sunday, Aug. 13-16, at Moran’s warehouse on Highlandia Drive in Baton Rouge. The proceeds will benefit the T.J. Moran Family Foundation, which supports education, children and health organizations.
The sale will include a wide variety of items — from the exotic to the mundane — that Moran acquired mostly through his restaurant interests in Chicago, San Antonio, New Orleans and the Baton Rouge area.
“He was of an era from the Depression that did not throw anything away, and he was a real conservative, reuse, recycle type-person, so he didn’t want to throw it away in case he needed it at another location,” said Daphne Dileo, of Graywood Estate Sales, which is handling this event. “If he took an air conditioner off the back of one of his buildings, he didn’t throw it away. He put it in his building.
“It’s massive,” she said. “It’s the biggest estate sale I’ve ever done.”
Dileo isn’t referring merely to the number of items, though there are thousands, but to their literal size, many requiring forklifts to move around. They include furniture and restaurant equipment, but also esoteric acquisitions that have nothing to do with his business.
Moran bought a house in the Country Club of Louisiana that had belonged to rap musician Master P and redecorated it. So, the sale includes three whirlpool tubs — two of which are small and were used by the musician’s children, Dileo said — large, leaded glass entry doors and about a half-dozen chandeliers, one of which is about 8 feet tall.
The sale will also include hundreds of oil paintings, prints and photographs that adorned his restaurants, ranging from Robert Rucker scenes of Louisiana to sports images appropriate to the location. From his Chicago restaurants, Moran had an autographed drawing of George “Moose” Connor, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and College Football Hall of Fame.
Of course, there is LSU memorabilia, including a football jersey signed by its wearer, running back Dalton Hilliard, and Jerry Stovall, who was Hilliard’s head coach, and numerous photographs.
There is, however, no central theme to what Moran stored at the warehouse, other than most of it having been used in his businesses.
There are boxes of albums from the 1960s and ’70s that provided the background music at Del Lago’s, a restaurant in a building that now houses Ninfa’s, which Moran owned. There are vintage bicycles that decorated the Bombay Bicycle Club restaurant on Acadian Thruway, where T.J. Ribs is now, including a penny-farthing with the large front and small back wheel.
And, there is Moran’s collection of more than 1,000 decorative decanters, a 1973 Cadillac Eldorado and an enormous round stained glass that once was displayed at a Black-Eyed Pea restaurant in Texas.
The warehouse bulges with so much stuff that Glim immediately thought of it when watching “American Pickers,” the History Channel program about antique collectors who look for rarities. The episode referenced a trip to Louisiana, and showed the cast eating at Ruffino’s Italian Restaurant, which Moran owned before being bought out by Ruffin Rodrigue and Peter Sclafani.
“I said, ‘Peter, why the heck didn’t you send them over here?’” Glim said.
If they come this week, they’ll have plenty of company.