Cover image for
Miss Ella of Commander's Palace
Brennan, Ella,

Personal Author:
First edition.
Physical Description:
239 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Scrambled eggs -- Your restaurant stinks -- Some girls went to finishing school -- A vision on Royal Street -- There's just no stopping Mardi Gras -- Divisions -- Big sister -- Creol-ize it -- Are you sure -- Lighting a fire -- Tow Passions -- Passions -- Lucky.
Personal Subject:
Added Author:
Pub Date:
Gibbs Smith, [2016]



Home Location
Material Type
Shelf Number
Central - Houston Public Library Adult Biography Book B B838
Henington-Alief - Houston Public Library Adult Biography Book B B838
Looscan - Houston Public Library Adult Biography Book B B838

On Order



Meet Ella Brennan: mother, mentor, blunt-talking fireball and matriarch of a New Orleans restaurant empire.

In this candid autobiography, she shares her life. From childhood in the Great Depression to opening esteemed eateries, it's quite a story to tell. When she and her family launched Commander's Palace, it became the city's most popular restaurant, where famous chefs such as Paul Prudhomme, Emeril Lagasse, and James Beard Award winner Troy McPhail got their start.

Miss Ella of Commander's Palace describes the drama, the disasters, and the abundance of love, sweat, and grit it takes to become the matriarch of New Orleans' finest restaurant empire.

Author Notes

Ella Brennan was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on November 27, 1925. She graduated from high school in 1943 and went to business school for four months before leaving due to boredom. She got a job doing clerical work at the Old Absinthe House, her brother's saloon on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter. When he bought a restaurant called Vieux Carré, she went to work there. She worked with the chefs to reinvent the menu and traveled to New York City to explore finer fare at the restaurants there. After her brother died of a heart attack in 1955, Brennan proceeded to lead the relocated restaurant, renamed Brennan's, until she was ousted in 1973.

In 1969, she and her older sister bought Commander's Palace. Brennan took over the restaurant's management in 1974. Commander's Palace won an award for outstanding service from the Beard Foundation in 1993. Brennan won the Beard Foundation's lifetime achievement award in 2009. Her autobiography, Miss Ella of Commander's Palace written with her daughter Ti Adelaide Martin, was published in 2016. Brennan died on May 31, 2018 at the age of 92.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. 8
Forewordp. 10
Introductionp. 13
1 Scrambled Eggs, Sautéed Bananas And One Unshakeable Family (1925-1943)p. 19
2 "Your Restaurant Stinks!" (1944-1954)p. 31
3 "Some Girls Went to Finishing School I Went to Café Lafitte."p. 49
4 A Vision on Royal Street (1955-1969)p. 55
5 There's Just No Stopping Mardi Gras Memoriesp. 77
6 Divisions (1970-1973)p. 89
7 Big Sister, Larger Than Lifep. 97
8 Creole-Ize It: Pioneering Modern American Cuisine (1974-1983)p. 115
9 Are You Sure You Want to Run A Restaurant?p. 141
10 Lighting A Fire: Emeril Lagrsse, Jamie Shannon and the Commander's Palace Classroom (1983-2001)p. 173
11 Two Passions, Many Lovesp. 199
12 Passages (1985-2005 ... And Beyond)p. 213
13 "Lucky, Lucky Me"p. 229
Afterword Saloon in the Skyp. 238

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