Roussell's Restaurant in LaPlace
- John Malik
I am seeking out any tidbits on the late, great Roussell's Restaurant in La Place. I hope to find old menus, photos, recipes or newspaper clippings that I can use for a feature article in a national magazine. I grew up eating at Roussell's practically every Sunday so I have many fond food memories but nothing else. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Remember it well...they waited until their Art Deco roadside building could have been put into the Smithsonian and teh remodelled it in some wretched faux-Texas style. That neon coffee drip pot sign was a classic.
The only family member I knew is dead but I will check with the folks that ran Airline Motors down the road..maybe they know who's still around.
WOW! I lived in New Orleans in the late 70's. About two years ago when back for a Jazz Fest I took friends to LaPlace telling them all the way about the wonderful meal we were going to have at Roussell's. Alas when we got there no one knew what I was talking about or what happended to it. If you do a story please post source on this board as I would very much like to read it.I remember the crawfish etoufe fondly.
I grew up in LaPlace and still have family there. We ate there practically every Sunday after Church. The crayfish etouffe was definitely my favorite. Years later when I entered Culinary School, the French chefs that I worked for would always mention Roussell's after I said I grew up in LaPlace. I know Craig Claiborne wrote about their food, especially the artichoke oyster soup, in the '60s. What I wouldn't do for an original menu! When I get this piece sold, I'll certainly post a notice.
If you do a story please post source on this board. I lived in New Orleans in late '70's and ate at Roussell's on numerus occasions. I fondly remember the etoufee and beef brisket. Went looking for the place a few years ago when down for Jazz Fest and, alas, nowhere to be found. Couldn't find anyone who had even heard of it. Chalked it up to old age and drove on. What a surprise to see it mentioned.
I found the following while doing an obituary search. You may get some leads from the info.
" 000064 Hachet - Elmire 'Coo' Roussel Hachet, On Thursday, December 9, 2004 At 9:50 P.M. Beloved Wife Of The Late J.O. Hachet, Jr. Mother Of Suzanne Hachet Mccann Of Livermore, Ca And Ken 'Bubba' Hachet Of Laplace. Grandmother Of Andree Hachet Schumacher, Heather Mccann Messier, Jennifer Mccann Trentham, And Warren Hachet. Also Survived By 3 Great Grandchildren. Daughter Of The Late Warren Roussel And Florence Dore Roussel. She Was The Owner Of Roussel's Restaurant In Laplace. Age 81. A Native And Resident Of Laplace. Relatives And Friends Of The Family Are Invited To Attend Services. Visitation At Millet-Guidry Funeral Home, 2806 West Airline Hwy. In Laplace On Sunday, December 12, 2004 From 5:00 P.M. Until 9:00 P.M. And On Monday, December 13, 2004 From 8:00 A.M. Until 10:00 A.M. Followed By Religious
Services In The Funeral Home Chapel At 10:00 A.M. Burial In Garden Of Memories Cemetery In Metairie. Times Picayune 12-11-2004"
If I'm not mistaken the old Roussell's building was recently torn down.
The diners at Roussel's restaurant in LaPlace discussed many topics over bowls of gumbo and chicken dinners through the years, including the war in Europe. The late Elmire "Coo" Hachet, whose parents, Warren and Florence Roussel owned the restaurant, enjoyed telling the story of a day in October 1942 when U.S. Sen. Allen Ellender stopped in on his way to Washington, D.C., from his home in Houma.
The talk turned to war. Americans were concerned about the Allies' shaky foothold on Guadalcanal and the Axis troops in South Africa. They wanted to know when the volatile Joseph Stalin, in the Kremlin, would settle down and retake Stalingrad.
That topic exhausted, talk turned to tabac de perique, or perique tobacco.
"We hit on the idea that it has the power to soothe one's nerves and my father decided to send Stalin, a pipe smoker, a carotte of perique to calm his nerves so he could get on with the job and beat the Germans," Hachet recalled.
A carotte is a tightly wrapped bundle of aged tobacco tied with a fiber rope. The one sent to Stalin probably weighed between one and five pounds.
Hachet said Ellender took the precious bundle with him to the nation's capital and presented it to Maxim Litvinoff, then the Soviet ambassador to the United States. Litvinoff forwarded the perique to the Kremlin and Hachet recalls that her father received a letter saying Stalin had received it.
In the following months U.S. troops secured Guadalcanal, Axis forces were defeated in Tunisia and the Russians regained Stalingrad and continued to repel the Germans.
"My father thought that the tobacco must have done some good because after that all went well with the Russians," Hachet said.
I found this information as I studied my family tree. James Roussel