To understand the history of the Broussard’s Crest, one must first understand something of the history of Broussard’s itself. It all begins with Joe Broussard, the founder of the restaurant. Joe was a small fiery man, greatly inspired by Napoleon. He chose to base the theme of his restaurant on the famous Emperor so near to his heart. Until his death in 1968, Broussard maintained this theme, incorporating Napoleonic statuary and artwork into the décor of the restaurant, along with many other references to Napoleon which appeared on menus and on lists of specialty drinks.
After Broussard died, the restaurant closed for a short period of time. A prominent Italian family purchased the restaurant in the early 1970’s with the aid of business partner Joe Segreto. During an extensive remodeling prior to re-opening Broussard’s, Segreto placed his “stamp” on many of the design features and thematic elements still present today. Chief among these was the creation of the Broussard’s Crest.
Segreto worked to create a restaurant Coat of Arms that reflected his Italian/Sicilian heritage while remaining true to Joe Broussard’s original vision for a restaurant that paid tribute to the glory of Napoleon’s rule. Segreto recalled that Napoleon, after all, was born to Italian parents on the island of Corsica, which was at that time occupied by Italy. So it was only natural that the crest should incorporate elements of Italian culture along with more obvious references to the reign of France’s most famous emperor.
Segreto chose as the centerpiece of the crest Napoleon’s personal emblem, the BEE. The remaining elements-the Crown, Wreath and Putti-were chosen for their special significance to Segreto, and for their ability to blend various cultures in a way that would properly promote Segreto’s new-look Broussard’s. The component parts of the Broussard’s Crest are:
The Bee – Napoleon’s chosen symbol of industry, hard work and determination, derived from ancient Egyptian lore. Throughout Napoleon’s life, he chose the bee to be embroidered as his personal stamp on chairs, drapes, clothing, etc.
The Crown – Napoleon’s crown was an Emperor’s crown, as opposed to a King’s crown. As a ruler of more than just one country, Napoleon’s crown featured a globe and cross at the top. Such a crown is featured in the Broussard’s Crest.
The Wreath – The laurel wreath, long recognized as the head wear of choice of Roman emperors, symbolized imperial authority. Inspired by this, Napoleon wore a wreath at all state occasions.
The Putti – The putti (otherwise known as angelic young boys) were popular with artists during Napoleon’s rule, the Renaissance period. Any study of Renaissance art will include many, many putti. As they were so popular in both France and Italy during this period, they found a natural home within the Broussard’s Crest.
The Broussard’s Crest debuted in 1974 with the opening of the new Broussard’s. It is proudly displayed today as the distinctive symbol of a restaurant steeped in a rich history of culture and creativity. The restaurant uses the crest on stationary, matches, and throughout the lobby on beautifully hand-painted ceramic tiles.