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A Mystery at The Whitehall

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What do a Midwest estate sale, a pair of hurricane glasses, The Whitehall, and a discotheque oyster bar have in common?  More than you’d think.

In an article posted on NOLA.com, Mike Scott – writer for the New Orleans Times-Picayune – helps a reader trace the origin of a pair of hurricane glasses found recently in a Kansas estate sale to an in-house “discotheque oyster bar” located in The Whitehall in the 1970s.

Based on the branding on the glasses, the reader initially believed the glasses to have an origin in the Crescent City. As Scott writes, “The clues there were both obvious and aplenty, and all seemed to point to a New Orleans provenance: fleurs-de-lis, cast-iron imagery and a French Quarter reference – not mention the very fact that they were hurricane glasses, which are all but synonymous with the local Pat O’Brien’s Bar.”

The Whitehall Hurricane Glasses

The Whitehall hurricane glasses. (Photo: NOLA.com/Times-Picayune)

But as luck would have it, a little detective work eventually revealed that the glasses did originate in a city off of Interstate 10, just not as far east as originally suspected. As shown in the below ad from 1975 – originally run in Texas Monthly magazine – the logo of the “posh” Whitehall in Houston matched that of the logo on the glass, and the hotel just so happened to have a self-proclaimed “discotheque oyster bar” named French Quarter. Mystery solved.

Or so we think. There is the off-chance that the glasses came from another The Whitehall of that era, this one in Chicago, which once shared ownership and branding with the Houston hotel. But let’s face it, that theory’s far-fetched, if for no other reason than nowhere in the U.S. specializes in hurricanes – whether atmospheric or alcoholic – quite like Houston, New Orleans, and the greater Gulf Coast.

Click here to read the original story on NOLA.com.

1975 ad for The Whitehall in Houston

A 1975 ad for The Whitehall in Houston, as originally seen in Texas Monthly magazine.
The ad mentions the French Quarter oyster bar believed to be the origin of a pair of
hurricane glasses found at a Kansas estate sale.