Just as New Orleans has prevailed through trials and triumphs, The Country Club has persevered through the evolution of the community. The history of this beautiful oasis can be seen through the architecture and the food.
The Country Club was built in 1884 to serve as a historic Italianate Raised Center Hall Cottage by Anne McAvoy and her husband George B. Canby. Over the next 55 years, the house changed ownership around a half dozen times.
Between 1947 and 1976 the home fell into disrepair. The Aiena family decided to reopen it up as a boarding house to wayward travelers. In July of 1976, the heirs of the estate sold the property to Robert F. Hudson. Hudson turned the property into a dispatch hub for a New Orleans taxi service.
In 1977, the property was purchased by three men. These men were the original founders of The Country Club: Douglas Williams, Daniel Wilson and Gary Clay. They installed a pool in the backyard that same summer and opened the outdoor bar. By February of 1978, Douglas Williams bought out his two partners.
That same year, the property was sold to Jacqueline McPherson. McPherson purchased the adjacent double shotgun property as a rental property. After merging the backyard of the properties, McPherson continued to run The Country Club for nearly 22 years until she sold it to Blake Miller in March of 2000. Miller continued to own and operate the business as his predecessor had done until selling The Country Club in February of 2003 to its current owner.
In 2005, The Country Club sustained extensive damage due to Hurricane Katrina. The strong winds demolished most of the chimneys, parts of the wooden pool deck were ripped up and blown away, and rain water leaked into the main house and cabana bar. The Country Club underwent extensive restorations to return the property to functionality and to its original 1884 grandeur.
After 40 years under The Country Club name, the Bywater staple has evolved once again. Among the changes is a complete revamp of the food and beverage program spearheaded by Executive Chef Chris Barbato, formerly Chef de Cuisine at Commander’s Palace. To complement the refined menu offerings, the interior designers of locally-owned Ferrand Design celebrated The Country Club’s unique and lively culture. They did so by creating a sophisticated and colorful environment.
Maintaining references of local art, culture, design and bold personalities, the design also lends a subtle, satirical nod to the expected interiors of a “Country Club.” The interior now boasts hand-painted murals by renowned local artist, Cindy Mathis. The Club also has artwork by famed Southern artist, Louis St. Lewis, custom lighting and furnishings, to offer unique, visual interest around every corner. Just outside in The Country Club’s lavish backyard, guests can also enjoy poolside dining with the inclusion of a new outdoor grill.
We enjoy opening our home up to you just as past generations have to their friends and family. We invite you for lavish dinners, cocktail parties, or days by the pool. So, sit back and relax as you soak up the beauty of this historic New Orleans venue. Let our family take care of you, our guests.
A long-time New Orleans resident, Chris’ extensive travels and exposure to world cuisines helped form the foundation of his tastes and culinary style. Having graduated from a small culinary school in Baton Rouge (originally owned by his Great-Aunt Violet), Chris has been an integral part of New Orleans’ culinary landscape and culture since 1992.
For many years, he cooked under Jamie Shannon, Executive Chef of the storied Garden District gem Commander’s Palace, before later becoming Chef de Cuisine under James Beard Award-winning Executive Chef Tory McPhail.
In 2011, Chris was named Executive Chef at Café Adelaide, another Brennan family restaurant. Alongside his wife, Lisa, Chris opened and operated the Uptown café and bakery, Rivista, in 2013, but the lure of fine-dining called him to accept a new opportunity to build and helm the stunningly renovated restaurant dining space at The Country Club.