The dinner is held at Antoine's, founded in 1840 and one of the oldest restaurants in New Orleans. We are in the Twelfth Night Room. From the memorabilia on the walls I learn that the twelfth night of Christmas is the first night of Carnival season. In 1871 the Twelfth Night Revelers formalized the tradition of chance picking the Carnival Queen and her Court. The young ladies choose from slices of cake. Those with a silver bead in their slice become members of the court and the one with the gold bead is the queen.
The menu is classic. Shrimp remoulade, oysters and lump crab are just the start to an exceptional meal. Pompano or chateaubriand are the main course accompanied by potatoes au gratin and creamed spinach. The skilled waiters quietly remove the dinner plates while the head waiter sets up the front table with a huge baked Alaska. After dinner there are cigars out on the porch for those who are interested. William and Patrick puff and chat into the evening.