Richard Brennan, New Orleans Restaurateur, Passed Away Over St. Patrick’s Day Holiday Weekend at 83

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Richard J. Brennan, Sr., New Orleans Restaurateur, born in the Irish Channel, passed away the evening of Saturday, March 14, surrounded by his family and loved-ones. His contributions to New Orleans cuisine, Mardi Gras and the overall culture of the city leave a legacy that is deeply woven into the fabric of the place he called “home.”

Richard J. Brennan, Sr., New Orleans Restaurateur, born in the Irish Channel, passed away the evening of Saturday, March 14, surrounded by his family and loved-ones.

Richard Brennan (better known as Dick) was the embodiment of New Orleans. His contributions to New Orleans cuisine, Mardi Gras and the overall culture of the city leave a legacy that is deeply woven into the fabric of the place he called “home.”

Dick Brennan was the second youngest of six children, in what would become the first family of fine dining Creole in New Orleans. His life reads like a storybook, in which good fortune, hard work and ingenuity led to many successes. In high school at St. Aloysius and at college at Tulane University, Dick was a star basketball player. For his successes on the basketball court at Tulane, he was inducted into the Tulane Hall of Fame in 1991. During college he began dating the woman who would become his wife of nearly sixty years, Lynne Trist Brennan. Shortly after graduating from Tulane, Lynne and Dick married. Dick completed two years of Law School before he enlisted in the Army and was stationed in Augusta, Georgia and Williamsburg, Virginia. When he returned to New Orleans, he intended to finish Law school but his brother, Owen, and both parents passed away within a year of one another, he instead went to work at the family’s restaurant, Brennan’s on Royal Street. During this time he and Lynne had two children - a daughter, Lauren, and a son, Dickie Jr.

Dick was instrumental in creating what is today, the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau. He was also the first of his family to be President of the Louisiana Restaurant Association and later served many terms on the National Restaurant Association’s board. Hand in hand with his desire to share his love of New Orleans with visitors, he co-founded the Krewe of Bacchus with his nephew, Pip Brennan.

In 1973 the Brennan’s split their restaurant interests, and Dick along with his siblings John, Adelaide, Ella and Dottie took control of Commander’s Palace. Dick was passionate about New Orleans and America. He recognized the sheer bounty of our region, including ingredients and talent. Instead of European chefs, he hired from the area. He was well known for saying “If you’re going to drink whiskey, drink American, drink bourbon!” It was Dick who thought that two of New Orleans most valued cultural possessions – food and Jazz - would make a fantastic marriage as “Jazz Brunch.”

Friend, Chef, and New Orleans restaurant owner Frank Brigtsen recalled, “I learned to sauté under the watchful eyes of Mr. Dick Brennan, who monitored every single plate that left the kitchen for Sunday Jazz Brunch at Commander’s Palace. Not all of my omelets passed muster. “Can we do a little better than that?” he would gently ask. His generous spirit, innate brilliance, and warm heart touched me throughout the years, whether it was a touch of Pernod at his home on Fat Tuesday morning, his winning smile at a special event, or his gracious charm when dining at Brigtsen’s with his lovely wife Lynne. His mark is felt throughout the city of New Orleans, a testament to a life well lived. I am grateful for his friendship.”

He leaves behind a legacy so profound that his spirit will live on through the beautiful city he called home.

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Dickie Brennan & Company is dedicated to continuing the rich history of New Orleans through locally inspired and nationally recognized cuisine. Dickie Brennan & Company was founded by Owner and Managing Partners Dickie Brennan, Steve Pettus, and Lauren Brennan Brower. The four restaurants, Palace Café, Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse, Bourbon House and Tableau are located in the city's picturesque French Quarter.

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Whitney Guarisco
Dickie Brennan & Co.
+1 (504) 274-1829
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Wesley Noble Janssen
Dickie Brennan & Co.
504-274-1811
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