Chartres House's French Quarter History
The history of this property dates back to 1722, when Arnaud Roche and his family lived on this site in the French Quarter until their house burned in the Good Friday fire of 1788. Joseph Reynes built the current structure, known as the Reynes Mansion, in 1796. It remained a residence until 1873, when Victor Valentinien opened a grocery store that later became Victor’s Café, a habitat for Bohemian artists and writers.
Its most notable patron was Tennessee Williams, who would revive himself at the bar and at the small courtyard swimming pool, now covered by the fountain, where Mint Juleps and Gin Fizzes were served on sweltering summer days. One of Victor’s best known personalities was Estrellita, an African woman in her 70s who made a legendary roux, “the best in New Orleans.”
After Victor’s closed in 1962, the building sat vacant until it re-opened as the Stage Door Lounge, a favorite spot for locals. In 2004 it was reborn as Chartres House, a popular cocktail bar and Cajun restaurant that is a favorite with locals and visitors alike. By dining here, you are part of our history!