Back in 2009,1 had a roommate who worked the graveyard shift at the Voodoo, and I would often pop in for a drink to keep him company. Back then, the clientele at the Voodoo were either filled with cocaine or despair or both. In 2015, the folks who ran Flanagan’s, one of my favorite French Quarter neighborhood bars, lost their lease and were looking for new digs. They took over the Voodoo and brought with them their ability to run a 24-hour joint that still manages to keep things friendly and easygoing, even at four in the morning. Bartender Houla told me that when they re-opened under this new ownership, a few of the former Voodoo patrons came looking to engage their “regular activities,” but once they learned that they couldn’t do blow on the bar or get a blowjob in the back, they left the bar to Flanagan’s fans and anyone looking for a friendly, late-night spot.
Compared to many 24-hour joints, the Voodoo has a stellar whiskey selection, including many high-end scotches. I bought Lee a pour of Ardbeg, not cheap, but a nice treat at the end of a night. Houla and I got to talking about Flanagan’s, and I told him about its entry in my other blog, The French Quarter Drinking Companion. One memorable night at Flanagan’s, I overheard a conversation between two guys behind the bar in which one lamented the difficulty of replicating his mother’s banana bread recipe. The juxtaposition of two beefy, inked-up guys commiserating about failed banana bread was too charming for me to leave out of the blog. Houla’s eyes widened when I told him this story. “That was me!” he exclaimed. We spent the rest of the night reminiscing about good times at Flanagan’s, as well as discussing plans for the good times to come at the Voodoo. It was a typical New Orleans night, when you run into the friend you just met.