– 12 ICONS OF NEW ORLEANS –
Selected by JPMorgan Chase
THE ICON: Jane Casbarian
THE LEGACY: You’d be hard pressed to find a foodie who hasn’t raved about the Creole fare and unrivaled atmosphere supplied by Arnaud’s, a time-honored New Orleans culinary staple. But you may not know that the renowned restaurant’s present-day success can be traced back to years of hard work put in by the Casbarian family.
While the restaurant enjoyed ample popularity in its early years, Arnaud’s fell on harder times by the late 1970s. New Orleans native Jane Casbarian and her husband, Archie, saw a valuable opportunity to give back to the city they held so dear, and they seized the chance to purchase the sprawling property before setting to work transforming the restaurant into something New Orleans could be proud of.
It was an immensely challenging project, Casbarian admits, but even then, the couple knew it was a property worth saving. And based on the eatery’s current status, the Casbarians’ work paid off in ways few could have predicted.
Much of the inspiration for the project stemmed from the couple’s love for New Orleans and its distinct, multicultural environment. With inspiration drawn from numerous cultures, Casbarian explains that Creole food is an excellent representation of what helped her love New Orleans so profoundly in the first place. “Our city is a melting pot, and it continues to be,” Casbarian remarks. “I think that’s very, very important.”
Today, Arnaud’s is run by the couple’s children, Katy and Archie Jr., who Casbarian credits with delivering a fresh, modern take that will help the restaurant flourish for years to come. And it’s that very thing that excites her most about New Orleans’ future – the knowledge that today’s younger generation has what it takes to help the city thrive.
THE INSPIRATION: “If you’re born in New Orleans, it never leaves you – even if you don’t live in the city. It’s always a part of you.”