NOLA Life Stories: Sal Impastato Bids Farewell To The Napoleon House

Oct 15, 2015

The building on the corner of St. Louis and Chartres Street was built in 1797 and once belonged to Nicholas Girod, a mayor of New Orleans.
Credit Historic New Orleans Collection

When Sal Impastato handed over the keys of the Napoleon House this past spring, it was an emotional moment.

Selling the business to restauranteur Ralph Brennan had been a difficult decision because the building had been in Sal’s family for generations – first as a grocery, then as a bar.

While clearing out things that accumulated over the past century, Sal took a break to reflect on his family's tenure at the corner of St. Louis and Chartres Street.

 The Napoleon House got its name from an apocryphal tale involving New Orleans Mayor Nicholos Girod and French Quarter pirates. 

The legend goes that Girod would finance the pirates to kidnap Napoleon Bonaparte from his exile on Saint Helena in the Atlantic Ocean and bring him to live in New Orleans. 

But when news came that Napoleon died, the plans came to naught.

This interview was conducted by Mark Cave for the Historic New Orleans Collection.