A grand plot that never materialized gave the French Quarter one of its landmark bars: the Napoleon House.
New Orleans Mayor Nicholas Girod had a grand plan to rescue Napoleon from exile and bring him to New Orleans to live at 500 Chartres Street in a house he inherited from his brother. But on May 5, 1821, three days before Girod was set to initiate his plan, Napoleon died.
The building was then used as a grocery. In 1914 Joseph Impastato rented the building for use as a grocery and his family’s home. In 1920 he bought the building for $14,000 and opened a tavern in a side room — during prohibition.
In 1935, he had tile laid at the building’s entrance, proclaiming it “The Napoleon House.”
Impastato brought his Victrola downstairs to play opera records, and classical and opera music is still played at the restaurant today.
The Impastatos owned and ran the bar and restaurant until 2015 when Ralph Brennan bought the Napoleon House. The bar is known for its Pimm’s Cup, which Joe Impastato liked to serve because he didn’t his customers to drink too much.