Legendary Locals of Metairie

West End Family Businesses - 1987

This website contains excerpts along with some of the 172 photographs in Legendary Locals of Metairie (Arcadia Publishing, 2013) by Catherine Campanella.
Use the links here to explore a sample of the book -- or purchase it for an in-depth view.


In 1915 Margaret Bruning and Maurice J. Fitzgerald celebrated their wedding at the Bucktown home of her parents. In 1932 they opened Fitzgerald's Seafoods Restaurant and later moved to a larger 7000 square building at 1928 West End Park (shown on the map of restaurants existing in 1987). Their son, daughter, and their spouses joined the ranks. For a time there were gambling and slot machines as readily available as the fried soft-shell crabs and boiled seafood. In 1960 the wide porches were enclosed and a 30 tone air-conditioner was added – gone were the lake breezes. Hurricane Hilda damaged the restaurant in 1964 but the family repaired it and kept it going strong. Margaret and Maurice celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary there in 1965 at the ages of 67 and 78 years. Margaret passed away in 1966. Maurice died in 1976.


Maurice Jr. took over the kitchen and management and ran it very well but by 1989 the glory days of West End had come to an end. Maurice sold the restaurant in 1989 but it continued in operation until Hurricane Georges (1998) damaged it beyond repair.

In 1981 Maurice Jr converted his parents' home at 324 Hammond Highway into “an exquisite, small French Chateau” he named Le Chateau Phylmar. In 1985 he and his wife Patricia enlarged and renovated it, printed the menu in French, and continued to serve fine food – he was the first Certified Executive Chef in Louisiana. He also taught in the Delgago College Culinary Arts Program. He passed away in 2008 at the age of 85.

Also in the illustration, labeled in the center, is Maggie and Smitty's Crabnett – a very casual on-land location for hot boiled seafood and cold beer. Maggie Hemard opened the little place in 1957 after learning the trade busing tables at Fitzgerald's. Co-owner Lloyd (“Mr. Red”) Hemard said in 1987 while lamenting the demise of business at West End, “It's very depressing out here. It was a great thing we had. We had good business, a family trade, we made a good living. But that's pretty much over. I'm burned out, The good days are gone. I'd sell it tomorrow if it weren't for Maggie but she wants to stay”. (TP)

Other books by Catherine Campanella:

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book is dedicated to the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation's efforts to rebuild and maintain the historic New Canal Lighthouse.

Excerpts from New Orleans City Park  (Images of America).

Contact Catherine Campanella