Don’t Mess With A Woman Scorned

 

As I sat having a succulent lunch of creamy salt-tanged corn-battered fried oysters (accompanied by my niece Virginia, her handsome husband Steve and – let’s not forget our most important guest- a bean-laden Bloody Mary), feeling especially fortunate at having the daily opportunity to enjoy New Orleans cuisine and share it with others, I pondered the history of the place we had found a cool breeze in- the Cafe Pontalba on Jackson Square. 
     

Yes- the food is great, the cocktails better, and the architecture of the building amazing, but what of  the place’s history? How did it come to be?
     

The year was 1798, and a shy three year old girl named Micaela Almonaster, had just become the recipient of a vast New Orleans fortune and the hawks began to circle.
     

By the age of fifteen she was married off to the son of a French aristocrat (first nibble) and left her beloved New Orleans to live in France and bear effeminate Celestin de Pontalba four children (second, third, and fourth bites- yummy), however, her father-n-law, the Baron de Pontalba, was not happy with his daughter-n-law’s reluctance to hand-over her entire estate to his family (remember to chew), so he shot her in the chest at point blank range, with a dueling pistol, leaving her alive (gulp) but with one crushed hand, less two fingers, and a mutilated left breast (waiter- another round!). 
     

She retaliated by obtaining a legal separation from the whole crew (last oyster consumed), moving back to New Orleans (should we order desert?), and creating a real estate empire which included the fabulous Pontalba Apartment buildings and the restaurant we sat in (yes- let’s order desert)!
     

Her father-n-law committed suicide, her husband took a lover named Phillipe, her children went on to more arranged (and disappointing unions)…. and little Micaela lived to be seventy-nine, and became the toast of the town.
     

You can’t make this stuff up.

Bar Keep- another round!
 
PINIMAGE
Oyster platter served with golden french fries

 

PINIMAGE
Cafe Pontalba
546 Saint Peters

 

PINIMAGE
Baroness Micaela Almonaster de Pontalba
 

     
     




  • Cary Vaughn - Whoa. This lady knows how to hit ’em where it hurts (living successfully!).ReplyCancel

  • Angie Mobley - My goodness! What a story! Can’t say I shed a tear over the father-in-law’s fate…ReplyCancel

  • Estelle Sobel Erasmus - Wow. And you know how to tell a story!ReplyCancel

  • Roxanne Jones - Yowza–what a story! Living well is, indeed, the best revenge!ReplyCancel

  • Roz Warren, Writer - Wait. There were beans in your Bloody Mary??ReplyCancel

  • Cathy Chester - I always knew it was a colorful place but now ever more so. P.S. Guess we’ll have to come visit another time now that we know the real history!ReplyCancel

  • Carol Cassara - NOLA has the best stories, the best history — every place you go is just steeped in mystery or craziness or…. well, I love it for its quirks. That’s what makes NOLA NOLA, right?ReplyCancel

  • Ellen Dolgen - I hope the food was as juicy as that story! WOW………….that is quite the history lesson!ReplyCancel

  • Mary La Fornara Gutierrez - Wow, what a story! I have always want to visit, but I have to say the stuff that goes on there scares me a bit!ReplyCancel

  • Carolyne Kauser-Abbott - Thansk for sharing that story there is a good book on her life: Intimate Enemies: The Two Worlds of the Baroness de PontalbaReplyCancel

  • Helene Cohen Bludman - Wow, what a story! You’re right, you could never make something like that up. One of these days I must visit NOLA!ReplyCancel

  • Carolann Iadarola - I’ve never been there, but I’d surely love to go! I’ll have to tell the hubby that needs to be our next trip. That’s so story! Sounds like a great place to dine!ReplyCancel

  • Mari Collier - I’ll lift my glass to this post. What a story! If I were more scholarly, I would write a biography. Oh, if you could spare some of those fried oysters, it would be lovely! I’m sharing this one!ReplyCancel

  • Eve Gaal - Great story but I can’t even imagine anyone asking whether they should order dessert in Nawlin’s. I mean come on- did you get overheated? What did you finally order? Bread pudding with whiskey sauce? Brandied Pecan pie? Cream filled eclairs? The thought of the decadence makes me want to pull out a pistola too, unless you tell us!ReplyCancel

  • Janie Emaus - Well, that was quite a story!ReplyCancel

  • Lois Alter Mark - Your stories are the best! It must be something in the water in NOLA!ReplyCancel

  • Tammy - Just when you think you’ve got it rough, something like this comes along and you realize your life is like a crème puff! How in the world does someone survive a point blank shot to the chest?! Especially back in those days. Geesh! The woman is my hero! If there isn’t a book with NOLA tales, YOU should write one!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - He must have shot her from an angle and just took the breast off. I don’t know? She must have brought her hand up to shield the shot and that’s how she lost the fingers. Whatever way it went down I’m glad she won!!! WOW!ReplyCancel

  • Abby - That’s quite a story! And a women with balls, we like that! Not to mention the yummy food:)ReplyCancel

  • Diane Tolley - I LOVE histories! I have that exact picture as a puzzle. Wondered what it was. Now I know! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Chloe Jeffreys - Proving once and for all that it’s hard to keep a good woman down.ReplyCancel

  • Roshni AaMom - Scrumptious story!! 😀ReplyCancel

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