Napoleon was the grandfather of our event venue visionary, Cheryl Parker Jones… her father’s father. Though she never met him, she heard fascinating stories about how he would often feed strangers. That same type of spirit gave Cheryl and her husband Gregory a vision for a place that would fill a need for an upscale event and conference center which would combine outstanding service with event planning expertise. So, Napoleon’s Event & Conference Center was born.
Most people know that I worked in the event center field for thirteen years as a Coordinator. But my exposure to this business didn’t start there. Few people knew that my parents worked part time “over the mountain” as we called it, in Mountain Brook on weekends for wealthy doctors. After they worked their full-time jobs at UAB, most Friday nights they wouldn’t return home until 1, 2, or 3 a.m. on Saturday mornings after working in the hospitality areas of the doctors’ homes. My father Wade worked as the bartender, wearing a red jacket. And my mother Rosie, always in a white blouse and black bottom, worked in the kitchen serving food. What I remember the most is that regardless of what time they returned home, they would always wake us all — six daughters and two sons — to taste the food that they were allowed to bring home from the parties. I can remember the smell of mini yeast rolls, the juices that ran from the red under-cooked roast beef, the brownish liver pâté, black caviar, and pink, white and green petit fours.
My parents thought that when we grew up to be successful people out in the workforce we would be readily exposed to the foods that we didn’t eat everyday, and we wouldn’t act like we had never heard of such foods. We couldn’t refuse to try anything. My mother would pick a different food up and tell us what it was before we tried it. We had to at least try it so when we became successful business people out on business luncheons and dinners, we would not embarrass ourselves or the people we worked for. Also, they would sit around the kitchen table talking about the grand homes, cars, and the fine clothes the people had. Our home was happy at these ungodly hours of the morning. My parents were happy to have made some extra money, and we were happy to get the treats. My mother learned how prominent homes were kept and how distinguished country clubs looked and how they received their guests. So, she taught us what top-notch party places looked like and how fancy guests act. We were poor, but we got exposed to the finer things in life through our parents’ eyes.
That started my love of trying to do special events in a grand scale. I love entertaining in my home; my guests, family, or friends are always special. I always like giving my guests a gift at the end or serving an unusual or extravagant dish. My friends and family have come to expect a twist of greatness when I host. Napoleon’s jobs are jobs my parents and Greg’s parents did for extra money when we were children. In our first facility in fine tradition, we employed two doormen (in red jackets), one coat and hat-check girl, a bathroom attendant (dressed in white blouse black bottom), a bartender (in a red jacket), one DJ, and one security guard. We are currently taking our services on the road, and we will bring that elegant and classy touch to your event, wherever you are holding it. We are also looking actively for a new, more permanent location for hosting our own events. If you would prefer, we will also rent our scores of chair covers, sashes, fine linens, vases, chairs and tables so that you can create your own memorable event. I feel that everyone should experience at least one event where they feel that “they have arrived.”