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New Orleans Strong- A Visit with Ralph Brennan

New Orleans is Cooking again!- Bananas Foster at Brennan's
New Orleans is cooking again!- Bananas Foster at Brennan’s

It’s hard to believe that Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast with its eye on New Orleans 10 years ago August 29th. At the time we were planning a major dining and wine event for following February the following year which sadly was cancelled. The aftermath left many of our restaurant friends recovering for months, and people were still living scattered here and there.

Flash forward to 2015: New Orleans is back on its game and its restaurants are better than ever as noted in this New York Times article. Media outlets around the country are focusing their eyes on “The Storm’s 10th Anniversary,” but we never lost sight of New Orleans and neither did its staunchest supporters, its restaurateurs.  One of the first restaurants granted a license to reopen was Ralph Brennan’s Redfish Grill.

There's nothing like a New Orleans crawfish boil!
There’s nothing like a New Orleans crawfish boil!

Ralph Brennan is a third generation member of a family whose name, Brennan, is synonymous with New Orleans cuisine. The flagship French Quarter restaurant, Brennan’s, founded by his grandfather was Ralph’s playground where he worked as a prep cook during high school summer vacations. After earning his MBA and working as a CPA for Price Waterhouse for eight years, Ralph returned to the family business.

Ralph Brennan
Ralph Brennan

Today, The Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group includes the recently renovated (2014) Brennan’s, Red Fish Grill, Ralph’s on the Park, cafe b in Metarie and cafe NOMA within the New Orleans Museum of Art, well as restaurants in Disneyland. he is a co-owner of Commander’s Palace and Brennan’s in Houston. And he’s acquired the venerable 200-year-old Napoleon House in the French Quarter, best known for its Pimm’s Cups and Muffulettas as well as a mighty fine Sazerac.

brennans exterior

Eggs Sardou and Eggs Hussarde
Eggs Sardou and Eggs Hussarde

We had the chance to dine at Brennan’s when we were at Tales of the Cocktail. The restaurant’s elegant beauty and courtyard charm have been given a ladylike “refreshing,” and Chef Slade Rushing now runs the kitchen, given the menu a facelift as well. Don’t fret: Breakfast at Brennan’s classics like Eggs Sardou, Eggs Hussarde and Bananas Foster are still served along with the classic Milk Punch. Ralph is author of Ralph Brennan’s New Orleans Seafood Cookbook.


Ralph Brennan is a tireless advocate for the city and its restaurant industry, Ralph is a past president of the Louisiana Restaurant Association and New Orleans Restaurant Association and he served as board chairman of the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Convention Center.  Ralph also puts his money where his (and ours) mouths follow to support Gulf Coast fisheries: Over the past 10 years Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group has purchased nearly five million pounds of Gulf Fish and six million oysters. That’s alot of clams!


Oysters at RedFish Grill
Oysters at RedFish Grill

Ralph Brennan joined us August 19 on The Connected Table LIVE! to discuss his role in the fabric of New Orleans dining and tourism and the city’s healthy comeback. Here’s the show:





Twitter@NOLAbredNOLAfed (Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group)



By Melanie Young

The Connected Table is a media production company, radio show, podcast and blog specializing in wine, food and travel. Listen to The Connected Table LIVE and The Connected Table SIPS on iHeart and other major podcast platforms. Melanie Young and David Ransom are wine and food specialists, speakers and writers. We are experts in helping brands promote their products, destinations and services through custom content.