JoAnn Clevenger had never even heard of Mardi Gras until she moved to New Orleans in the late 1950’s. She dropped out of Tulane to care for her mother and then moved to the French Quarter shortly thereafter. At that point in her life the jazz clubs, restaurants and literary circles she hung around weren’t like anything she’d seen.
Clevenger lived downtown for years until her children needed to attend school. She opened a bar called The Abbey and later, a restaurant called Upperline. She remains an advocate for small businesses and the French Quarter.