Over the course of two stints, legendary curmudgeon and bartender Paul Gustings logged almost two decades working at New Orleans’ iconic Tujague’s Restaurant. The barman’s work behind the sticks became synonymous with the establishment itself. However, on Monday (9.17), Tujague’s terminated Gustings’ employment.
When asked for details, Gustings replied in his typically curt fashion. “I got fired,” he told Neat Pour.
Pushed for more details, the bar manager said that management requested a meeting wiht him this morning and he subsequently liaised with owners Mark and Candace Latter in a French Quarter coffee shop.
“Over coffee, they told that I had way too many complaints from too many people and I was costing them revenue that they could not afford to miss,” he explained. “This is the second time I’ve been fired from the same place for the same reason.”
Gustings, who is a single father raising an autistic child, said that the termination was effective immediately and he was offered no severance.
Neat Pour reached out to Tujague’s via email and telephone for comment, but at press time, no response was provided.
Gustings still offered kind words for the establishment that he worked for from 1996 until 2012 and then again from 2017 until present. “I love working at Tujagues—great place, great fit, but I don’t know—,“ he reflected.
The future remains a mystery for Gustings although he is actively pursuing work already. Questioned about what type of position he is looking for next, he answered, “I’d like get a job in a bar.”
(In fairness, he then added that a dream job would be working in the cocktail and spirits museum that the Sazerac Co. is constructing in downtown NOLA.)
Wherever Gustings does land, crowds (and minimal garnishes) are sure to follow.