Many cities in America are known for their great food, and many are known for their great music, but there is no city better known for combining the two than the city of New Orleans. Dublin born Chef Matt Murphy, formerly of Commander’s Palace and the Ritz-Carlton, intends to do exactly that with the newly-opened Irish House on St Charles Avenue, all within a stone’s throw of New Orleans’ historic Irish Channel.
“I am Irish,” Chef Matt told WWOZ. “And I love the whole Irish Pub experience, and I wanted to bring that to New Orleans. We have a big local Irish population whether they are Irish or Irish- American…and like any Irish pub, music is part of the social gathering.”
According to the traditional Celtic music lovers in New Orleans the opening of the Irish House is great news for Celtic musicians - both resident to the city and incoming - as provides a new music venue that is conducive to playing authentic Irish music...and the beer’s not bad either…or the food.
“One thing I have always played with is comfort food,” said Chef Matt. “But we have taken it to a different level, and as we roll out our specials they are going to be as good as any restaurant in the city.”
“The Irish House is deadly,’ stated Karen Trundle Lundy, a fiddler from Hollywood, Co.Wicklow who is an enthusiastic part of the local Irish Session scene in New Orleans.
“It’s just a great space for playing in, and Matt actually likes us being there, which is always a help. The session there is great; there is a nice spot for us to play. It’s central. Kids can come because it’s a restaurant, and it’s no smoking…so all the non-smoking people can come too!”
“They all want to come to New Orleans because it is a great musical capital,” Murphy explained. “But, also with them, they want a place where they can play.”
The Irish House will also host Irish sessions each Monday, and they plan to hold their first Ceili this month. They will also be featuring local Irish musicians, such as Beth Patterson.
“We are booking a couple of acts that are coming to the US,” Chef Murphy went on. “We are getting it up and running.”
One of the first international acts booked for the Irish House this month is the renowned Irish singer, songwriter and multi–instrumentalist Gerry O’Bierne, who describes New Orleans as “an essential place for me in the States.”
“I've always breathed a sigh of relief when I get off the plane at MSY,” said O’Beirne. “And I think I always will. I've been touring in the US for many years and have watched the rest of the country succumb to the corporate juggernaut until it all looks pretty much the same, same storefronts and products everywhere and the same plastic food everywhere. The corporations are in New Orleans too, but they have to live with the culture. They might own everything, but they can't sell these people their crappy food, or their crappy music.”
“Normally Irish bars in the states are in a kind of cultural state of siege which does them no favors, but I guess when you're in New Orleans you can be from wherever and still want to open the windows wide to what the city is doing. O'Flaherty's was unique - I had an unreasonable amount of fun in that bar and can remember some of it, but my lips are sealed.”
Gerry O’Beirne will be performing at the Irish House, 1432 Saint Charles Avenue on Friday, October 21, at 8.30pm.
Further information is available at (504) 595-6755 and www.gerryobeirne.com