Saturday, December 5, 2009

Friday Fantasies: Legendary Haunts

Technically, today is Saturday, but this thought came to me, well, yesterday, so I think it counts as a “Friday fantasy.” And even if it doesn’t, so be it. At the moment, I’m too frazzled to think of another blog topic.

For my American Nomad travel blog, I spent the last couple of days working on a two-part article called “Historic Taverns Across America.” It was a lot of fun to remember some of my favorite watering holes, especially the ones that famous writers, musicians, and actors once frequented.

In the first part, I mentioned Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop (pictured above), a cozy, candlelit cavern of a place at the corner of Bourbon and St. Phillip Streets in the New Orleans French Quarter. One of the only original buildings still standing, Lafitte’s is popular among tourists as well as natives (like me!), not to mention celebrities. The dimly lit walls are, in fact, covered with photographs of famous folks visiting Lafitte’s. Of course, the patron that always gives me chills is Tennessee Williams, the playwright who made a habit of stopping by Lafitte’s during his brief stay in New Orleans. Apparently, he was also a patron of another old hangout still in operation: Captain Tony’s Saloon in Key West’s Old Town district, a saloon better known for being favored by the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote, and Jimmy Buffett.

In the second part of my article, I shared three more of my favorite American taverns, not the least of which is Boardner’s, a longtime Hollywood landmark. Although the beloved neighborhood dive has since undergone an art deco-style transformation, its historic atmosphere is still palpable. This was, after all, a favorite hangout for some of my favorite performers, from W.C. Fields to Robert Mitchum – and I can remember when it was dark and moody and filled with, as the saying goes, “the Who’s Who and Who Cares.”

So, do you have a favorite hangout with a storied past?


Stephanie Thornton said...

Well, there's not much in Alaska that is old enough to have a past. But I did visit LaFitte's when I was in New Orleans a few years ago. It was awesome!

Laura Martone said...

I didn't realize you lived in Alaska, Steph! Too cool! Glad you enjoyed your stay in New Orleans - it sure is a fun city, isn't it?

P.S. Did you find the photo of Marie Laveau's?

Steph Damore said...

Storied past, huh?

Well, this summer a film crew investigated the haunts of Old Town Saginaw, specifically Hamilton Street and the local brew pubs and shops. Two of the places, The Stable (a ski shop and former horse stable/mortuary - crazy, I know) and the Schuch Hotel (once a hotel for loggers, now a bar) are featured.

I've been upstairs in the old hotel rooms at the Schuch, and trust me, it's creepy! My husband's friend is also the manager at The Stable and is featured in the following article - after some creepy encounters, he won't stay at work late anymore!

Here's the link if you want to check the story out. Film crew investigates the haunts of Hamilton Street in Old Saginaw City

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I spent half of my childhood in Butte, Montana. A town with quite a reputation here. Ghosts of a tragic mine accident years and years ago, claim to the last legally operating brothel in the West, and of course, the giant pit threatening to contaminate the water table. Gotta love Butte! ;-)

Laura Martone said...

Steph D. - Ooh, thanks for the heads-up. I enjoyed the article - and I might just try to include The Stable, the Schuch, and other haunts in the next edition of MOON MICHIGAN, which I'll be working on this summer.

Shannon - I've never been to Butte before - always wanted to, though - and now I'm even more intrigued! Thanks for the chills...

Angelique said...

You have to promise to take me on one of these when I get out that way! I saw your comment on my blog. Thank you! Dan did pass along that info. I just need to get in contact with that shop. You guys ROCK! You've been so supportive of the series and I am truly humbled!

Laura Martone said...

Oh, for sure, Angel! You know I'll take you all over this blessed city - so hurry up and get your sweet butt down here. :-)

Cool, I'm glad that Dan gave you the info re: B du V. I wasn't sure if he had the website or not. And, of course, we're supportive. We wish the best for you AND the series - you're our buddy, after all.