On this visit our small group was not here for the elegant, old French restaurant which over it's nearly 100 years has served characters from Tennessee Williams and William Faulkner to Sammy Davis Jr., Tony Bennett, and Elizabeth Taylor. Rather we were headed for the new Empire Bar, where the new owners had completed a million dollar remodel, and put its cocktail program in the capable hands of Paul Gustings, who has been granted various titles along the the lines of "the crustiest bartender on earth." Alas, I failed to note the specific cocktails we tried that day, but I do remember that they included a punch and that we enjoyed them all in the shade of the 100-year-old vine in the refurbished patio of the 1874 mansion that eventually grew into Mr. Joseph Broussard's restaurant.
There's nothing wrong with a little Disneylandish corner in an historic setting, especially when they are pouring absinthe. The staff are friendly and the vibe is lively but not loud or overly crowded.