Louie & the Redhead Lady in the Bay
136 Blaize Avenue
- story by Lisa Monti, photos by Ellis Anderson
On opening day at Louie & the Redhead Lady last Wednesday (Nov. 25), they were serving up equal amounts of warm hospitality and traditional New Orleans dishes with just-right spice.
From our vantage point, it was clear that this wasn’t the first opening for owners Chef Louie and Ginger Finnan.
The Finnans' restaurant of the same name in Mandeville, La., had a loyal following, and when the sign went up on Blaize Avenue that Louie & the Redhead Lady was opening in the Depot District, word spread around town and beyond.
Louie’s roots are in the French Quarter; Ginger’s are in the Irish Channel. She works the front of the house, and he’s in the kitchen. The chef, a former electrician, learned to cook from his grandmother and has cooked for 40 or so years to raves.
When he was featured on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” in 2011, host Guy Fieri called Louie’s grits & grillades “a breakfast that eats like dinner.” [Watch the Food Network video about the Mandeville location at the end of this story!]
As Ginger said: “Food makes a chef. God makes a cook.”
Our opening day lunch was a good introduction to the long menu: rich, dark chicken and Andouille gumbo, loads of fried fish with sweet potato fries, and two hefty crab cakes coated in crunchy bread crumbs drizzled with a rich remoulade.
The generous fried green tomatoes were topped with poached eggs and the crispy Leidenheimer bread couldn’t contain all the fried shrimp that came in the po’boy.
Lunchtime offerings (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) include the storied Eggplant Algiers appetizer: a hearty stack of fried eggplant medallions layered with boiled shrimp, crab meat and crab cake, topped with a light cream sherry sauce, and otherwise known as Louie’s “Stairway to Heaven.” Here, also, are gumbo, salads, pasta, steaks, classic fried seafood, po’boys, and the list goes on.
The chef’s special holiday menu will run through New Year’s.
Watch for the rollout of daily lunch specials for $8 (red beans, baked chicken, spaghetti & meatballs, liver & onions and fried fish), Saturday brunch and extended hours in the near future.
Louie & the Redhead Lady is open Monday through Saturday. For now, bring your own wine.