June is Pride month and no other city’s gay scene is bouncing back quicker than New Orleans’. The bars are open for business 24/7, music is playing, and people are hugging once again. As life gets back to a semblance of normalcy (whatever that is these days), the LGBT+ scene is jumping into the deep end of the pool. Our favorite bartenders are back doing what they do best, keeping the locals and visitors happy and well lubricated.
And doing an excellent job of that is my bartender for the month of June, Colleen Logan from GrandPre’s. Colleen moved to NOLA from Dallas eight years ago. She had come down for Halloween and that was it–she became, as I affectionately call them, a transplanted local. Seriously, after five years of dealing with our hot summers, potholes and crazy tourists, I think you have earned your local’s badge of honor.
Colleen has been working at GrandPre’s for two years now and she loves it. In fact, this is her first bartending job in the city and she has done exceptionally well. She has a sparkling personality and a professional demeanor. Speed is another one of her skills, moving effortlessly behind the bar and keeping a crowded venue with lots of thirsty patrons satisfied.
Her memory is another of her winning features. “I try hard to know and address everyone by their name,” she says. “To quote the ever popular Love & Rockets song No New Tale to Tell, “People like to hear their names”. I have always, my whole life, been a good listener and find this skill to be pertinent to this job. I also work very hard at remembering what and how they like their drinks served.”
Colleen is a very descriptive storyteller which makes her popular amongst the locals. She explains, “I never saw myself as a bartender. I learned everything I know from Aaron Yeager and with his encouragement, I gave this a go. And Ken GrandPre was kind enough to offer me the opportunity to do so. I have found that this bar and clientele fit me like a glove. I knew almost everyone who comes here regularly before I started working here. Now I get to see everyone often. I love helping to create a safe and hopefully, fun environment for others.“
This she definitely does. These days it is important to be able to go to a bar, relax, unwind and be yourself. She jokes that she loves serving people a bad decision which is a Jameson shot. This is also what she drinks when she is out as well as Skrewball Whiskey either neat, or with Coke and a splash of cranberry juice. That drink is not for the faint of heart; it is bottled at 70 proof, or roughly 35% ABV, meaning it’s a slightly easier-drinking shot than your normal hit of Bourbon.
I have been asking all the bartenders I interview since we started this column again, about their COVID experience. “It’s been rough with the back-and-forth rules and regulations. The opening, partial opening and closing of the bar, and enforcing the mask rule, etc. has been trying to say the least. I’m grateful we are where we are now and hope to keep moving forward towards being a mask-free world again. Hopefully, respect, in a general sense, has been learned throughout this process.”
Her answer, like many, is very touching and sincere. I am telling everyone now that places are back open, go out and support your local LGBT+ bars, tip the staff and enjoy a cocktail. Colleen will be waiting to take care of you at GrandPre’s located at 834 N. Rampart Street.