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Thu September 16, 2010
StoryCorps: John Fontenot
John Fontenot has been working at Galatoire's since 1967 when he was in his early 20s. Throughout the decades he's swapped stories and jokes with customers he's gotten to know so well, he knows what drinks they'll be ordering. He has fond memories of Jackie Gleason giving him advice on telling jokes - it's all in the timing.
Fontenot says he likes to explain the menu to customers instead of simply presenting a menu. In this conversation recorded April 11, Fontenot talks with longtime customer Kathleen White about what it's been like to work in a New Orleans landmark, and how it's changed over the years.
ALSO: In this extended conversation, John Fontenot says that in the 43 years he's worked at Galatoire's, he can remember only a couple of times when service was interrupted. Once was a power outage, another was a leaking roof. But that changed in the summer of 2005, when Hurricane Katrina spared the restaurant but not his home.
StoryCorps New Orleans interviews were recorded by StoryCorps, a national project to record and collect stories of everyday people. This excerpt was selected and produced by WWNO producer Eileen Fleming, with support from the WWNO Productions Fund and from Villere & Co., managing the investments of New Orleans' families for almost 100 years. Listen again at wwno.org or at nola.com.