Tucked away on the corner of Rue St. Louis & Rue Chartres deep in the heart of the French Quarter in New Orleans lies a bar with a peculiar history.
Originally built in 1797 as the home of New Orleans mayor, Nicholas Giroud, the building got its name from a bizarre plot in the 1820s to spring Napoleon Bonaparte from his exile on the Island of Helena. The plan was to bring the deposed Emperor out of imprisonment and bring him to the New World, and the first floor of the building was set aside to be his home.
In 1821 the plot was hatched, with one of the conspirators being the infamous Louisiana pirate, Jean Lafitte. Legend has it that the boat sent to fetch Napoleon was a week out at sea when the news arrived that Bonaparte had died…depriving the Vieux Carre the opportunity to have the Little Corsican walk its famous cobbled streets.
Run by the Impastato family since 1914, today the Napoleon House is a bar and restaurant full of 18th century charm. Portraits of Napoleon decorate the wall, and the only music played is classical, giving the bar a faded grandeur that can only be found in that most magical of cities, New Orleans.