Jorge Enrique Pesante Says Farewell

NEW ORLEANS, LA (March 21, 2012) — The Omni Royal Orleans announces that the longest tenured associate of the Omni Hotels & Resorts brand, Jorge Enrique Pesantes, retired on Monday, March 26, 2012 after 50 consecutive years of service at the iconic New Orleans luxury hotel. A celebration, including a proclamation presentation on behalf of Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s office, is slated for Wednesday, March 28 at 3pm in the Omni Hotel’s Grand Ballroom. 

At the tender age of 19, when Mr. Pesantes began his career, John F. Kennedy was President of the United States, the world was in the throws of the Cuban Missile Crisis and The Beatles released their first single. A native of Ecuador, Mr. Pesantes joined the Omni Royal Orleans on March 25, 1962 as a lifeguard at the 7th floor LaRiviera pool deck. One year later, he was promoted to waiter in what was then the Promenade French Restaurant. The following year, he was promoted to the legendary Rib Room where Ernst Fischer held court as Floor Manager and Pesantes became the Assistant Maitre d’. Pesantes was eventually named as the official “Maitre d’ Hotel.” In later years, he transitioned into his current position as the French Quarter’s most “consummate hospitality professional” doting on the who’s-who of top New Orleans clientele. 

Over the years he has served celebrities, including Merv Griffin, the city’s politicos, business brass, socialites and every mayor of New Orleans during his tenure. One of his favorite memories is serving Actor George Hamilton and his date, Lynda Bird Johnson, daughter of President Lyndon B. Johnson. Pesantes states that the couple was very nice, and he enjoyed serving them as they did not act like they were a movie star and a President’s daughter. 

In addition to receiving years of accolades by his loyal fan base, Pesantes has also been recognized for his outstanding service and commitment to his culinary profession. In 2009, Pesantes was honored as an Industry Legend by the Louisiana Restaurant Association due to his service in the hospitality industry. Also in 2009, Pesantes was honored with a Lifetime Achievement award as one of City Businesses’ Culinary Connoisseurs. 

Pesantes was determined to break this milestone and be a catalyst for others to follow. He now proudly takes his leave and has earned every bit of it. Jorge says he “hates to leave,” but he is very proud of the 50 years he has given. 

"For the past 50 years, Jorge has been a pillar of the Onmi Royal Orleans having displayed remarkable professionalism, unequivocal dedication, and steadfast loyalty,” said Jon Hunter, Omni Royal Orleans Hotel General Manager. “This tremendous milestone is not one to be taken lightly as he will be deeply missed by his fellow team members, as well as his devoted clientele. We wish Jorge the best of luck for a long and happy retirement." 

About the Rib Room at the Omni Royal Orleans 

The Rib Room and the Omni Royal Orleans were originally the creation of a group of prominent New Orleans businessmen. The location previously served as the site of the landmark St. Louis Hotel, where the phrase “free lunch” was inaugurated - a custom established in the hotel’s bar to help provide nourishment to noontime imbibers. To distinguish itself from the existing "Grand Dames" of New Orleans French Quarter restaurants, the Rib Room focused its menu on hearty beef dishes, catering to a predominantly male clientele. Although menu and dining trends have changed over the years, Prime Rib has remained the Rib Room’s "Tour de Force" among loyal patrons representing the city’s business, social and political elite as well as a host of celebrities who have dined at this famous New Orleans eatery including The Rolling Stones, Lenny Kravitz and Nicholas Cage, to name a few. 

The Zagat-rated Rib Room boasts an exceptional wine list, premium cocktails, outstanding service, opulent décor and grand windows for the best people watching in town. The Rib Room is open daily from 6:30am to 10pm. For more information, visit

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