Who are the two sisters of the Pavilion of the Two Sisters in City Park? What about the Court of Two Sisters in the French Quarter? Is there any connection or just coincidence?
We’ll begin with the older of the two buildings, the Court of Two Sisters restaurant at 613 Royal St. That French Quarter property’s history as a dining establishment dates to the 1920s, although the building dates to 1832.
According to the Historic New Orleans Collection, the property was built as a residence for banker Jean Baptiste Zenon Cavelier and his family. A distinctive feature of the property since that time has been its large courtyard.
In 1886, the building was purchased by Emile Angaud. His daughter-in-law, Bertha Camors Angaud, and her sister, Emma Camors Musso, opened a shop in the building, selling imported lace, ribbons, gowns and sewing accessories. Called The Shop of the Two Sisters, it was in business until 1906.
The building changed hands several times and became a restaurant with the name The Court of Two Sisters, a nod to the Camors sisters’ aristocratic upbringing.
By the time of the sisters’ deaths months apart in 1944, Jimmy Cooper was well-known as the restaurant’s proprietor and grew its reputation among visitors and locals. Cooper died in 1956.
Caterer and restaurateur Joe Fein Jr. acquired the restaurant in 1963, working with his sons, Joe III and Jerry to renovate and reopen it. The Fein family continues to own and operate the restaurant today.
The Pavilion of the Two Sisters in City Park opened in 1994 as an addition to City Park’s Botanical Garden to be used for hosting events. Major funding for the building came from the Azby Fund.
According to City Park historians Sally and Bill Reeves, the Azby Fund agreed to provide $400,000 for the new pavilion to honor Erminia Wadsworth and Marion Wadsworth Harvey, two sisters who were aunts of Herbert Harvey Jr., the founder of the Azby Fund. Marion Wadsworth Harvey died in 1982. Her sister, Erminia Wadsworth, who was head librarian at Isidore Newman School, died in 2000.
The Azby Fund, which is named for family member Nicholas Azby Destrehan, also donated money for the Conservatory of the Two Sisters, which opened in 2002 in the Botanical Garden.