Richard J. "Dick" Brennan Sr., 83, who helped turn Commander's Palace restaurant into a world-famous destination for Creole cuisine and cofounded one of New Orleans' best-loved Mardi Gras organizations, has died.

A publicist for Dickie Brennan & Co., the restaurant group run by his son, said the elder Brennan died Saturday.

Richard Brennan was the brother of Owen Brennan, founder of Brennan's Restaurant in the French Quarter.

After Owen's death in the 1950s, Richard and his family continued operating Brennan's while expanding to other restaurants in other cities.

A family split in the 1970s led to Richard's joining his siblings John, Adelaide, Ella, and Dottie as they developed Commander's Palace in New Orleans' Garden District, not far from where Mr. Brennan was born in the Irish Channel neighborhood in 1930.

Among the chefs who gained fame there were Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse.

According to a biography provided by Dickie Brennan & Co., Mr. Brennan married shortly after graduating from Tulane University. He completed two years of law school and enlisted in the Army.

At Commander's, he is credited with starting the tradition of the Sunday jazz brunch.

Fellow restaurant owner Frank Brigsten, in a statement released Sunday, recalled him as a manager who paid close attention to detail.

"I learned to saute under the watchful eyes of Mr. Dick Brennan, who monitored every single plate that left the kitchen for Sunday Jazz Brunch at Commander's Palace," Brigsten said. "Not all of my omelets passed muster. 'Can we do a little better than that?' he would gently ask."

- AP