When the news broke yesterday that Florence Bingham, better known as Ms. Mae, the former owner of the eponymous 24 hour dive on Magazine Street, had died, the Twitters were full of mourning. Ms. Mae had been the primary owner of The Club Ms. Mae's until 2010, when she sold her stake to the owner of the building. Prior to that time, she could be seen making the rounds in the bar with regularity, saying hello and never turning down a request to take a photograph with her. She was 83.
There were rumblings throughout social media that people would be heading to Ms Mae's to have a cheap drink in her honor. (The bar was well-known for its absurdly cheap drinks, costing $1 for a single, $2 for a double; the prices doubled when Ms Mae sold her stake.) Eater arrived at around 10 to toss back some rum-and-cokes, at which point the bar was busier than usual for a Monday night, but not yet packed. The heavy metal was blaring over the jukebox, people were playing pool and air hockey and generally everything seemed to be business as usual, save for the small shrine set up on the bar (pictured above). The bar quickly began to fill up, however, and reports suggest that the crowds descended on the bar later.
Following the death of Pat O's owner Sonny Oeschner last week, this has been a sad stretch for iconic New Orleans bar owners. Condolences to the families of both.