NEW ORLEANS -- Tujague’s restaurant is one of the oldest in the city of New Orleans, if not the country.
But sources said Wednesday it could soon close its doors, and there could be a deal in the works to sell the building, a move that could close the restaurant.
The son of the late owner of the restaurant said he couldn't comment on any potential sale Wednesday, but according to those sources, the family that owns a lot of the t-shirt and daiquiri shops in the French Quarter has made an offer to buy the building.
If the restaurant’s walls could talk, they would tell more than a century's worth of stories, including some about long-time New Orleanians like Louis Sahuc.
“My dad would take me to Tujague’s a lot. We'd eat lunch there. So, I mean, it's part of my life,” Sahuc said.
He and other French Quarter activists sounded the alarm Tuesday that they were concerned Tujague’s could soon close its doors.
“It's the second-oldest restaurant in New Orleans going back to 1856, second only to Antoine's. That also makes it one of the oldest restaurants in America,” said WWL Radio Host and food critic Tom Fitzmorris.
Steven Latter ran the restaurant after he bought it in the 1980's. Records show his brother Stanford bought the building. Steven died in February and now sources say Stanford is considering a sale of the building to the Motwani family.
“I hate to see anything to change it,” Sahuc said.
The Motwanis own quite a bit of property on Decatur Street. In fact, they own the property right next door to Tujague’s. Most of those properties house t-shirt shops and daiquiri shops.
In fact, our research showed they own at least eight properties on Decatur Street alone, from Conti to Governor Nicholls.
We called the Motwani business office about the possible purchase, but they said "no comment".
No one from the Latter family would comment either, but Tujague’s Facebook page and Twitter profile lit up this morning about word of a possible sale.
“If somebody was gonna buy the building, close the restaurant, do something positive, that would be a different story. But t-shirt shops and daiquiri shops we don't need,” Sahuc said.
Sources also said there was a long-term lease being negotiated between the Latter brothers, the owners of the restaurant and the building at the time of Steven Latter's death that never got signed because he passed away.
--Archival images courtesy Historic New Orleans Collection.