It was back in 1887 that the town of Cognac purchased the Hotel Otard de la Grange in order to house the Town Hall, and it remains so to this day. Inside the hall, marble slabs display the names of all 33 Mayors since the revolution.
Included in this list are many people from the famous cognac houses, the first being Frederick Martell who reigned as mayor from 1800-02. He was followed by a man who is simply named as ‘Turner’ who sat from 1802-04. As no first name is recorded he was referred to as Louis, but now Samuel, and it is known that he was associated with James Hennessy.
After Mr Turner was Jean-Baptiste-Antoine-Ortard from 1804-24, with a brief interlude in 1815. He was followed by Gabriel Martell in 1830 and then Charles Albert Planat, head of the house Planat and Co, although he resigned from the position after only a year. After his death his son Oscar, a lawyer in Paris, left the bar to head the estate and also sat as mayor in 1878.
Come 1902, George Briand, head of the house G. Briand & Co was mayor, and then in 1912, yet another cognac name – Pascal Combeau took on the role. Paul Firino Martell sat from 1929-32 and again from 1935-45. Then there was another Martell link with Alain Filhol Raimond from 1971-79, followed by Francis Hardy who was mayor until 2001.
The current Mayor of Cognac, Michel Gourinchas, is not linked to the producers of eaux-de-vie, but it is only a matter of time before yet another cognac executive takes up this position.