Martin 'Papa Fess' Sawyer Sr.
1921 - 2018
Estelle J. Wilson Mortuary, Inc.
2715 Danneel Street
New Orleans, LA
Martin "Papa Fess" Sawyer, Sr., was born May 4, 1921, "entered into eternal rest" on Tuesday December 25, 2018 at the age of 97, surrounded by his loving family. Martin accepted Christ as his personal savior at an early age. Martin read many books (aka PROFESSOR FESS), as he was self-educated over the years. He later started out bartending at the 500 Club in 1942. He also bartended at the Stormy Casino Royal, Club Kelsto, Brennan's and lastly, at the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel's Rib Room Bar for over 34 years until 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hit. Martin retired in 2006, he spent over 63 years working in various businesses in and around the French Quarter as a Professional Bartender. Papa again known as "Fess" (aka PROFESSOR) for his knowledge of many things, was also well known and loved by many. He was famous for his specialty drink "THE MARSAW" which was featured in the book "TREME" and at the "SOUTHERN FOODWAY ALLIANCE" after Hurricane Katrina, in recognition for his bartending skills and drink recipes. Martin was preceded in death by his wife Cecelia M. Harris Sawyer, Parents Dennis and Laura Sawyer, Grandparents Peter and Victoria Cunningham, two brothers, Victor Sawyer I and Bertrand Sawyer and one sister Catherine Sawyer. Martin leaves to cherish his memories, children Alphonse J. Harris Sr., Eugene (Shirlyn) Harris Sr., Laura A. Sawyer (Romon Otis), and Martin (Yvette) Sawyer Jr., 12 grandchildren and a host of great grandchildren, nieces and nephews other relatives and friends. Relatives and friends of the family also Employees of the Omni Royal Orleans Rib Room are invited to attend the Funeral Services on Friday January 4, 2019 for 10:00 a.m. Visitation from 9:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. at Estelle J. Wilson Funeral Home, Inc. 2715 Danneel Street New Orleans, La. 70113. Interment: Mt. Olivet Cemetery and Mausoleum 4000 Norman Mayer Ave. New Orleans, La. 70122. Arrangements Entrusted To Estelle J. Wilson Funeral Home, Inc., 2715 Danneel St. N.O.LA. 70113. Information: (504) 895-4903. To sign online guest book please visit
Published by The New Orleans Advocate from Jan. 1 to Jan. 4, 2019.
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9:00a.m. - 10:00a.m.
Estelle J. Wilson Mortuary, Inc.
2715 Danneel Street, New Orleans, LA
Funeral service
Estelle J. Wilson Mortuary, Inc.
2715 Danneel Street, New Orleans, LA
Funeral services provided by:
Estelle J. Wilson Mortuary, Inc.
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10 Entries
Celebrating a life well lived. We will cherish the memories forever.
Debra Johnson
January 11, 2019
May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived.
January 11, 2019
My Condolence to the Family. The Best Bartender The Rib Room ever had. RIP Mr Martin.
Keith Moran
January 9, 2019
I met Mr Martin in 1986 when I went to work at the Royal Orleans hotel. I worked in different areas of the hotel. I was a actually the first woman to ever wait tables in the Rib Room. Then 2 weeks later Leona Falgout followed me. Mr Martin was such a character! Funny, charming, a true gentleman, happy and took pride in creating his cocktails. He always had a smile on his face and loved life! The best brandy milk punch I've ever had. Enjoyed my time spent working with him. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time. RIP Mr Martin
Gina Wolfe
January 5, 2019
Mr. Martin was an amazing man. I learned so much from him at the Royal Orleans Hotel where I worked with him for 21 years. He taught me a lot about food & bevarage but more about people and how to handle the public. What an inspiration he was and still is for me. My condolences to his family. My life is richer because he was in it.
Tanya Manslank
January 5, 2019
Papa, me, Ameerah and Martin miss you so much. Our lives will never be the same, Christmas will never be the same. I am so glad God bless me to have you in my life for 20 years. Rest easy Papa Fess.....Love your daughter in law Yvette...
Yvette Sawyer
January 5, 2019
Uncle Fess Always fix a feat dish up if you were hungry, and visit him at home. Bar -Bi- cue Specialist also homemade sauce.
Eddie Smith
January 4, 2019
Remembering Uncle Martin as a kind and humble man.
Lisa Sawyer
January 4, 2019
Grief can be so hard, but our special memories help us cope. Remembering you and your loved one today and always.
Joan Coleman & Family
January 3, 2019
Offering our deepest sympathies at this time.
The Staff of Estelle J. Wilson Mortuary
January 1, 2019
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