The Bombay Club is in the French Quarter. It isn’t an easy place to find. It’s more like a secret hidden out in the open along Conti Street. There is a sign on Conti Street, but the entrance to the Bombay Club is through a parking entrance to a hotel. Don’t ask me the hotel. When I go, I’m only interested in the Bombay Club, not in the hotel. The hotel could be anything. Well, it could be anything except La Belle Esplanade. La Belle Esplanade is unlike any other hotel you’ve ever stayed at.
Enough about that, though. We’ll talk about La Belle more at the end of this article.
This story is about Victoria at The Bombay Club. Here’s a link to the Bombay Club’s website if you want to learn more than what I’m going to tell you here.
Conti Street is pronounced Cont-eye, not Cont-ee. Now you know. Mispronounce the street names while you’re in New Orleans. You’ll fit right in.
Frau Schmitt is the better half of La Belle Esplanade. She and I enjoy going to the Bombay Club for holiday meals because that’s really the only time we go out of our way to go to the French Quarter. There are plenty of good restaurants in the French Quarter but the Quarter is so overrun with tourists most of the time we like to go when it’s the slow season or when we have a special event to celebrate. The last time we went to Bombay Club was on Easter. We met Barbara, who owns and operates Great Delta Tours, the last time were at The Bombay Club. Barbara is great. Her husband and I had a very nice chat, too.
WELCOME TO SECRET NEW ORLEANS.
If you go into the men’s room at The Bombay Club, you’ll see this portrait over the urinal. I wouldn’t say it’s a place of honor, but you can’t miss it:
I know who Victoria is. I have asked who she is every time we’ve been to The Bombay Club and I’ve gotten consistent answers. Let me tell you the version I heard last time, on that holy Easter Sunday, 2018.
Don’t ask a woman if she knows what we’re talking about here, even if she’s been to The Bombay Club. Victoria is only known to the male clientele. Here portrait is only visible in the men’s room, where men go. That said, one woman recently went into The Bombay Club’s men’s room. Can you guess who she was?
Here’s what I’ve heard.
Victoria was a Penthouse Pet back in the 70’s. I’m not talking about a Playboy Bunny. I mean the Penthouse version. If you’re of a certain age, you know what I mean. She visited The Bombay Club earlier, in February or March of 2018 for dinner and she asked if her portrait still hung in the restaurant. “But, of course,” she was told.
She asked to see it.
The manager took her into the men’s room where she spent about ten minutes admiring her likeness over the urinal. “Is the best place you can put my portrait?” she asked.
“Times have changed,” the manager said. “We can’t hang it in the dining room any more. At least here, it is seen and admired by half our clientele. We are honored to have your portrait grace our restaurant, Miss Victoria.”
“Well,” Victoria said, “Most of my portraits have ended up in worse places or have been forgotten. Thank you for keeping my memory alive at The Bombay Club. I was so pretty, then.”
“You still are, Madam,” the manager assured her. A silent chorus of men’s room patrons agreed with him and I don’t mean this in any dirty way. Her portrait is an icon of feminine pulchritude. I admit I’d rather look at it somewhere else than hung over a urinal, but beggars can’t be choosers. If it was having in the New Orleans Museum of Art, not even a quarter as many people would spend a moment to admire her profile. The guy who drew it was no da Vinci.
The Bombay Club is a very nice restaurant. They usually have a live trio playing jazz in the bar. That’ll be better than a dead trio playing jazz any day. It’s better than a jukebox, too.
The Bombay Club has an extensive historic cocktail menu.
If you go, I always recommend you order a boudin scotch egg. Don’t ask. Trust me. Order it. That’s what I order every holiday when Frau Schmitt and I go to The Bombay Club.
If you want to learn more New Orleans secrets off the usual tourist radar, I know a nice small artisanal hotel where you can stay. You are on the right website. When you are ready to discover real New Orleans, you know where to find us. Over 17 million people visited New Orleans last year. We only have five suites. Only a lucky few get to stay at La Belle Esplanade. We look forward to meeting you and to sharing our part of this wonderful city with you.
Have a great New Orleans day, wherever you happen to find yourself,
–La Belle Esplanade
Thursday, August 16, 2018: Frau Schmitt and I go everywhere, zipping about New Orleans on our motor scooters exploring what we think our guests will find interesting. There is the guidebook New Orleans, and then there is the real New Orleans. We live in the real New Orleans. Come discover what it means to fall in love with the authentic New Orleans State of Mind.