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Trem's Cooking:


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Title: Trem's Cooking:

Tremé's Cooking  The Culinary Legacy of a
Historic New Orleans Neighborhood 
  • History of Faubourg Tremé
  •     The French and the Spanish
  •     Jumballaya Recipe
  • The Africans and the Native Americans
  • Congo Square   
  •     Creole Calas Recipe
  • Early Residents of Tremé
  •     Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs
  • The Catholic Church in Tremé
  •     Sisters of the Holy Family
  •     Marie Laveau's Tomb
  • Italian Immigration
  •     St. Joseph's Day 
  •     St. Joseph's Day Cream Puff Recipe
  • Storyville
  • Jazz Funerals and Second Line Parades
  • Restaurants in Tremé
  • Markets in Tremé Dorothy Johnson Tremé's Recipes

History of Faubourg Tremé
 Marker on Esplanade Street August 2009
History of Faubourg Tremé
  •         Faubourg Tremé was developed on the
    natural levee at the trunk of Bayou St.
    John/Esplanade Ridge. It became New Orleans
    largest faubourg or neighborhood.         By
    1798, Claude Tremé, Faubourg Tremés namesake,
    began selling lots along his newly laid-out
    streets. Most of the plots were 60-by-180 feet
    and were purchased by French and Spanish colonial
    settlers, other European immigrants and gens de
    couleur libre (free people of color). Faubourg
    Tremé was one of the first diverse communities in
    the United States and remained that way for more
    than a century. It was the home of the historical
    Congo Square, Storyville red-light district,
    Jazz, the Iberville Housing Development, Second
    Line Clubs, Super Sunday Parades and Interstate
    10.         The historical legacy of Tremé
    embodies the rich history of its former diverse
    residents, elaborate festivals, markets, heritage
    sites, religious events and music traditions.

  •  The historic district of Tremé today is bounded
    by Lafitte Avenue, Canal Street, Rampart Street
    and Claiborne Avenue. Traditionally, the borders
    extended to Esplanade Avenue.

Claude Tremé
  •           In 1783 Frenchman Claude Tremé arrived
    in New Orleans from France with the promise of
    the New World. As New Orleans' population and
    city expanded outside the old city limits, the
    Vieux Carré (French Quarter), he envisioned a
    community and financial opportunity for himself
    and his family. Tremé, a hat maker and real
    estate developer, subdivided the former Morand
    plantation into plots of land to be sold to a
    diverse population including many free people of
    color, recently manumitted enslaved Africans,
    Caucasians, Haitians, Cubans and other recently
    immigrated people of color from the Caribbean.
    Faubourg Tremé became an epicenter of culture,
    racial tension, class struggles, political
    strife, triumphs, tradition, rich cuisine, music
    as well as a strong sense of community.

The French and the Spanish
  •         The French and Indian Wars,
    175463  ended disastrously for the French and
    even worse for the citizens hunkered down in the
    malarial swamp of La Nouvelle Orleans.  In a
    desperate attempt to keep the entire Louisiana
    territory from falling into the hands of the
    Protestant British, King Louis XV secretly ceded
    it to his Bourbon cousin, King Charles III of
    Spain. On 3 November 1762, France and Spain
    agreed to the Treaty of Fontainebleau by which
    the Louisiana colony was transferred from France
    to Spain. France was thereby sacrificing about
    seven thousand of its Louisiana subjects, but to
    King Louis XV, Frances interests took precedence
    over these faraway people. In truth, as long as
    France could retain their lucrative sugar island
    production on Ile St. Dominique (Haiti), they
    were not upset about unloading the financial
    sinkhole of Louisiana.

The Louisiana Territory, hand drawn map (left).
 Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville statue in
the French Quarter, known as the father of New
Orleans (right). 
The French and the Spanish
  •         It was not until April 1764 that King
    Louis XV got around to telling his former
    subjects in La Nouvelle Orleans that they were
    now subjects of Spain.  Needless to say, the
    citizens were rankled at their abandonment by
    France. Most importantly they feared that the
    Spanish could terminate their freedoms and
    sources of income.  Prominent citizens conducted
    mass meetings demanding that France continue
    their control of Louisiana. The Spanish continued
    to rule.
  • Bernardo de Gálvez y Madrid, Viscount of
    Galveston and Count of Gálvez, statue in front of
    the World Trade Center, New Orleans, LA. Governor
    of Louisiana and Cuba in the 18th century and
    military leader during the American Revolution
    and their fight for independence

The French and the Spanish
  •         However, it was during the governance of
    Esteban Rodriguez Miró that the neighborhood of
    Tremé would become a haven to many French and
    Spanish and gens de couleur libre (free people of
    color). In 1782, Miró, formerly the second in
    command to Governor Galvez, took over as the
    Spanish governor of Louisiana, serving during a
    pivotal period in the history of the city and the
    early development of the Tremé. 
  •         Creoles of Spanish descent served as
    influential inhabitants of Tremé in the mid-18th
    century and their descendents would become active
    parishioners of St. Augustine Parish in the 19th

Portrait of Esteban Miró
The Great Fire
  •         Tragedy struck the city on Good Friday,
    March 21, 1788 when fire rapidly spread through
    the French Quarter, destroying 856 buildings out
    of the 1,100 original French structures in the
    area. The citys two horse drawn fire wagons were
    also consumed by the flames. Many of the newly
    homeless fled the city for the safety of
    the countryside. New Orleans suffered more than 
  • 2,595,000 damage from the great 
  • fire. Governor Miró quickly set up 
  • tents and provided food and other
  •  supplies for the traumatized 
  • populace. Another consequence 
  • was the demand for land, which 
  • possibly created an opportunity 
  • for Claude Tremé and his 
  • subdivided plots for sale outside 
  • of the Vieux Carré.

Map of the destruction of the fire. 
Spanish Influences
  •         The Spanish ruled Louisiana for 34 years
    (1769-1803) and New Orleans was historically
    linked in cuisine, culture and economically to
    the flourishing Spanish settlements in Texas to
    the west Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and
    Puerto Rico to the southeast and Central and
    South America. However, the culture of Louisiana
    never ceased to be French, with many resisting
    all efforts to convert themselves into Spaniards.
  •        Although the French period officially
    ended in 1762, French administration continued
    until 1769. The Spanish Colonial period was from
    1762-1800 (1769-1803).  Effective control by the
    Spanish began in 1769 and officially ended in
    1800 when Spain ceded it back to France. However,
    the French only re-assumed control about thirty
    days before the Louisiana Purchase, leaving the
    Spanish as administrators until 1803.

  • A Spanish Creole Dish
  • Wash one pound of rice and soak it an hour. Cut
    up a cold roast chicken, or the remnants of a
    turkey and a slice of ham, and fry them in a
    tablespoonful of lard. Stir in the rice, and add
    slowly while stirring in, a pint of hot water.
    Cover your pot, and set where it can cook slowly,
    until the rice is nearly dry. One or two
    spoonfuls of cooked tomatoes give it a very good
    taste. Jumballaya is very nice made with oysters,
    shrimps or sausages.
  • -      An early 20th century recipe in Cooking In
    Old Creole Days, C. Eustis, 1903

        On December 20, 1803, France sold
Louisiana to the Americans. On April 20, 1812,
Louisiana entered the Union as the eighteenth
state of the United States of America.
The Louisiana Purchase
The ceremony of the transfer of Louisiana to the
This painting depicts the claiming of the
Louisiana territory by French explorers. 
The Africans and Native Louisianians
The Africans and Native Louisianians
  •         The institution of slavery was one of the
    principal forces that shaped New Orleans,
    Louisiana, the United States, and the New World. 
    It was the enforced labor of Africans and their
    descendants whose sweat hacked through razor
    sharp palmetto to clear the land, planted and
    harvested the crops, made the bricks, cut the
    wood and milled it, built the masters palatial
    homes and houses of worship, cooked the masters
    meals and reared his children, and in some
    instances, bore his children. However, in New
    Orleans the focus of the community was the
    Catholic Church built upon the backs of slave
    labor. Interestingly, in New Orleans enslaved
    Africans from the Morand Plantation were the
    first to manufacture and lay the bricks to build
    Faubourg Tremé that rose from the Cypress Swamp.

Depictions of slaves working Using a sugar mill
(left) and planting cotton (right).
The Africans and Native Americans
  •         Most of the cooking was done by  enslaved
    Africans and Native Americans. Because the early
    French colonists to Louisiana had a shortage of
    familiar food supplies from their own country,
    dependence on local foodways and food prepared by
    slaves was crucial to their survival. 
  • Faced with a shortage of flour, colonists made
    roux by cooking either sliced okra or powdered
    sassafras in a slowly heated oil. They added
    seafood, poultry, meat, or any combination of
    these ingredients. Gumbo, the finished product
    comes from the Angolan word for, Okra, which is
    Guin gombo. The Choctaw word for sassafras powder
    was kombo ashish.
  •  --Barbara Trevigne, What is a Creole?
  • 2006

Photos Raw Okra (left) and gumbo (above).
Culinary Traditions
  •         Native Louisianians continued to market
    sassafras or filé powder into the twentieth
    century. Both early enslaved Native American
    cooks and enslaved African cooks culinary
    traditions became the nucleus of New Orleans
  • The evidence of these two culinary and
    cultural influences are still apparent in modern
    day Tremé. They can be seen in the food and
    cultural festivities of one particular Tremé
    tradition, the Black Mardis Gras Indians. Their
    parades and festivities always include
    celebratory food. The herb filé or sassafras, a
    gift from the Choctaw Indians, is used in filé
    gumbo, and okra, the epitome of African food, is
    used in okra gumbo. Furthermore, the West African
    staple of rice and beans became a Monday ritual
    in New Orleans as seen in the preparation of Red
    Beans and Rice. Also, calas, the fried rice
    fritters that were sold by merchants on street
    corners for most of the 19th century in Tremé,
    the Vieux Carre (French Quarter) and other parts
    of New Orleans by enslaved African women or free
    women of color came directly from West Africa.
    The fusion of Native American, European and
    African culinary traditions spilled into the
    birth of the Faubourg Tremé and through cultural
    memory it continues to invite other cultures to
    contribute to New Orleans cuisine.  

        Benjamin Kendig Sales April 1856 reads in
one sales ad (sold at Banks Arcade 33 Camp St.),
The slave man JOE, aged 26 years, a first rate
meat and pastry cook, capable of taking charge of
the cooking department of a first class hotel,
boarding-house or restaurant he is fully
guaranteed in every respect. The slave can be
seen at anytime by calling at the auctioneers
office, 33 Camp Street.(Photo taken by Zella
Llerena, July 2009 at the main New Orleans Public
Library) In other entries, slaves who were
skilled culinary artisans went for a higher price
than field slaves and many were enslaved African
men who were sold for sums as large as 1,500 in
1855. Many of these highly skilled enslaved
Africans in culinary artistry lived in Tremé.
Congo Square
  •         Located in Tremé, historic Congo Square
    sits on Rampart Street in a corner of the Louis
    Armstrong Park Complex. The area was renamed many
    times, from Place Congo to Circus Square, then
    Beaureguard Square in the 18th and 19th centuries
    before it was finally changed to Louis Armstrong
    Park in the mid 20th century. Beginning in the
    earliest days of the city, it was one of several
    locations where enslaved Africans as well as some
    free people gathered for the purposes of dancing,
    merriment and recreation.  Beginning in 1817 as
    an effort to control such activities, the mayor
    restricted all such assemblies of enslaved people
    to this one location on Sunday afternoons.

Photo of Congo Square plaque.
Congo Square Vendors
  •         The marketing that took place during
    those gatherings was well established,
    economically profitable, and historically
    significant as sellers and buyers were largely
    enslaved people. Marchandes, marketers, the
    majority of whom were women, both enslaved and
    free, carried on cultural practices as well as
    food-ways from African traditions. 
  •         Their food items included candies made
    with molasses, peanuts and pecans that came to be
    known as pralines ginger cakes called estomac de
    mullatres (mulattos belly) also known as stage
    planks and calas, a small, sweet rice pastry of
    African origin. 
  •         The beverages included lemonade, coffee,
    and the most popular one, la bierre du pays or
    ginger beer made with fermented apples, ginger
    root and pines. Another name for this beverage
    was Creole beer and reportedly, women of African
    descent held the recipe in secret.

Congo Square
  •         These marchandes did not limit such
    marketing practices and food ways to Congo Square
    nor to Sunday afternoons. Market women and men of
    African descent conducted petty marketing in New
    Orleans every day of the week during the
    antebellum period into the early1900s. Among the
    many who sold food were The Praline Madame,
    The Taffy Candy Man, The Vegetable Man and
    The Cala Man.

Praline Seller
Congo Square
  •         The popularity of the calas vendor is no
    doubt linked to the pastrys African origin and
    its role in New Orleans culture. Among African
    descendants, calas along with café noir or café
    au lait for adults and weak coffee called
    choo-loo-loo was served with plenty of cream or
    warm milk for children and became an integral
    part of First Communion breakfast, wedding
    breakfast, the first breakfast during Lent, and
    Sunday breakfasts. During the 1940s, male
    marchand Richard Gabriel, who lived on Burgundy
    Street, still made a living selling hot calas and
    hot coffee from his push-cart. His Sunday morning
    route included the Creole houses of Tremé as well
    as the more modern ones near the neighborhood
    known as Pilots landing. On Sunday mornings,
    Gabriel, pushing his cart along the route, could
    be heard with his vendor call

Calas Vendor Call
  • We sell it to the rich, we sell it to the
    poor, We give it to the sweet brown-skin,
    peeping out the door.
  • Tout chaud, Madam, tout chaud!
  • Git em while theyre hot! Hot cala! One cup of
    coffee, fifteen cents cala,
  • Make you smile the livelong day.
  • Cala, tout chaud, Madam, tout chaud! Getem
    while theyre hot! Hot cala!

Calas Vendor
  •         Other popular calas vendors included
    Tante (Aunt) Caroline, Tante Clementine, and
    Tante Toinette, the latter of whom peddled her
    calas every morning beginning at five o'clock.
    Her best business reportedly came on Sundays at
    the corner of Ursuline and Chartres from
    parishioners of St. Marys Church and housewives
    coming from the French Market. Among the oldest
    calas vendors was Madame Edouard, who also
    operated her business on the corner of Chartres
    and Ursuline Street. A common chant of the calas
    vendors was Belle calas! Tout chaud, Madame,
    two cents! Fine calas!  All hot, Madame, two
    cents! New Orleanians who provided interviews in
    1940 during the Works Progress Administration
    Project gave the following arrangement for a
    typical calas vendors chant.

Calas Recipe
  • In 1940, during Federal Writers Project
    interviews, Remy Morand, who lived on St. Philip
    Street in Tremé, provided the following recipe
    for calas.
  • Creole Calas 4 cups flour 
  • 1 cup rice ½ cup sugar 
  • ½ yeast cake DIRECTIONS Cook rice to soft
    creamy mush, add sugar and stir well.
  • Dilute yeast in lukewarm water, add to rice and
  • then stir in flour.
  • Let batter set to rise over night. Fry in deep
    fat oil (lard may be used). Sprinkle with
    confectioners sugar. Serve hot with cocoa or

Madame Barbara Trevigne re-enacting a
19th century Praline Vendor
History of Coffee in Tremé
  •         Coffee vendor Rose Nicaud also transacted
    some of her best business on Sundays at her stand
    near St. Louis Cathedral. She began her
    enterprise in the 1840s while enslaved, and by
    the 1850s, her daily profits from the sale of
    coffee by the cup ranged from 50 to 60.  During
    that time, her thriving business required
    eighteen gallons of pure milk per day.  Nicaud is
    recognized by many as the first coffee vendor in
    New Orleans, and reportedly secured a coffee
    stand in the French Quarter that offered seating.
    In her honor, Café Rose Nicaud, located on
    Frenchmen Street, bears her name.

        As indicated, Sunday was not the only
good business day for African descendants who
marketed at Congo Square.  Some of them sold at
other locations in the city on Sunday mornings
and came to Congo Square in the afternoons. Such
entrepreneurship and business success explains
why some enslaved marchandes, including Rose
Nicaud, were able to earn and save enough money
to eventually purchase their freedom. 
Modern Day Tremé
  •         In modern day Tremé, food and beverage
    street vendors can be seen at Second Line
    Parades, St. Joseph night, Super Sundays, Mardi
    Gras and outside of many bars on the weekends.
    Conceptually, food is an integral part of Tremé
    culture as well as the people who cook and sell
    the food. In Tremé, at the Backstreet Cultural
    Museum, an altar bearing a photo of a deceased
    beverage vendor with his beverage cooler was
    donated to honor his life and service to the
    community.  And on any given day, the Okra man
    can be heard on a loud speaker from his pickup
    truck throughout Tremé and the Faubourgs calling
    to his patrons, I got fresh okra, I got
    strawberries! To this day, pralines and many of
    the foods that were eaten hundreds of years ago
    are still sold throughout many of the Faubourgs,
    including Tremé. The entrepreneur spirit and
    honoring of those who cook and mix drinks both
    dead and alive still reigns in Tremé. 

The Okra Man's Truck. 
Okra Man on Esplanade Street (left), "Walking
Liquor Store"  at a Secondline Parade in Tremé
(center), and Tyrone Peters, deceased walking
liquor store vendor in the Backstreet Cultural
Museum (right).
Early Residents of Tremé  
  •         The traditions and spirit of Faubourg
    Tremé played a crucial role in shaping New
    Orleans culture. Many of the early residents of
    Tremé were free people of color, Catholic,
    property owners and entrepreneurs. Their culture
    and traditions were rooted in African, French,
    Native American and Caribbean customs. The
    amalgamation of these cultures would forever
    leave an indelible mark on the culinary legacy of

Photo (left) of Louis Charles Roudandez(1823-1890)
physician to the Sisters of the Holy Family,
activist and owner of the Tremé black paper
LUnion and later La Tribune de la Nouvelle
Orléans,  the first black bilingual newspaper in
the United States.  Photo (right) taken in July
2009 at the Sisters of the Holy Family convent of
a direct descendant of Roudanez , Mark Roudane
and Sister Eva Regina of the order.
Early Residents
  •         According to author Brenda Marie Osbey,
    Faubourg Tremé had a strong sense of community
    during its early inception, especially for free
    black residents, many of whom were former slaves
    who saw the need to create a mutual aid society
    to not only help free people of color but many of
    their relatives who were still enslaved. In 1783,
    the Perseverance Benevolent and Mutual Aid
    Association was founded to assist the collective
    needs of people of African descent for the
    greater good of the community. The society
    offered a variety of services including loans,
    legal advice, carnival organization and medical
    care. In many instances, food was the tie that
    bound the community through celebrations and
    defeats. (It is rumored that at many of the
    'coloured' balls in Tremé 12 different types of
    gumbo were served.) 

Photo of Perseverance Hall No. 4 on St. Claude
Ave. Built in 1819 and was originally a Masonic
lodge but was used for jazz concerts for both
blacks and whites, Monday night banquets, dances
and other social gatherings.
Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs
  •         In every event, food was an integral part
    of the meetings and festivities. Some of the past
    and present organizations have built halls that
    were used to feed members of clubs and the
    community organizations such as La Société des
    Artistes (The Society of Artists, 1834) Société
    dEcónomie (The Economy Society, 1834) Les Jeunis
    Amis (The Young Friends, 1867)  and the Zulu
    Social Aid Pleasure Club (1916). 
  •         At any Second line parade today, members
    of a particular social aid and pleasure club can
    be seen giving homage to watering holes that are
    owned by sponsors or by various club members.
    Both food and beverages are served to the members
    and sold to the second line goers. A participant
    can find gumbo, fried chicken, and many other

Early Residents...
  • The vendor of fowls pokes in his head at every
    open window with cries of Chick-en, Madamma,
    Chick-en! and the seller of Lem-ons-fine
    Lem-ons! follows in his footsteps. The peddlers
    of Ap-pulls! of Straw-bare-eries! and
    Black-Brees!-all own sonorous voices…Then there
    is the Cantelope Man, whose cry is being imitated
    by all the children                              
  • Cantel-lope-ah!                                
             Fresh and fine                          
               Jus from the vine,                    
                Only a dime!" 
  • -with the old cries added to the list the
    calas and plaisir and other Creole calls.
    (pg. 1-2, Voices of Dawn)
  •         In 1885, journalist and food
    lover Lafcadio Hearn published La Cuisine Creole
    which gave a vivid glimpse of 19th century Creole
    cuisine and a idea of what it was like to walk
    down the streets in Old New Orleans.

  • In the same cookbook, Hearn offers a recipe for
    turtle soup or cowan gumbo, a true identification
    of New Orleans Creole cuisine and a staple in
  • Turtle Soup for a Large Company, No. 1
  • Cut the head off the turtle the day before you
    dress it, and drain the blood thoroughly from the
    body. Then cut it up in the following manner
    Divide the back, belly, head and fins from the
    intestines and lean parts. Be careful not to cut
    the gall bag. Scald in boiling water to remove
    the skin and shell. Cut up in neat pieces and
    throw into cold water. Boil the back and belly in
    a little water long enough to extract the bones
    easily. If for a large company a leg of veal will
    also be required, and a slice of ham, which must
    be stewed with the lean parts till well browned
    then add boiling water, and the liquor and bones
    of the boiled turtle. Season with sliced lemon,
    whole pepper, a bunch of parsley, two leeks
    sliced, and salt to taste. Let this all boil
    slowly for four hours, then strain. Add the
    pieces of back, belly, head and fins (take the
    bones from the fins), pour in half a pint of
    Madeira wine and a quarter pound of good sweet
    butter, with a tablespoonful of flour worked in
    it also a lemon sliced thin. Let it boil gently
    for two hours, then serve.
  • In cutting up the turtle great care should be
    taken of the fat, which should be separated, cut
    up neatly, and stewed till tender in a little of
    the liquor, and put into the tureen when ready to
    serve. Garnish with eggs, if any if not, use
    hard boiled eggs of fowls.                      

The Catholic Church in Tremé St. Augustine Church
 St. Augustine Church (August 2009) at 1210
Governor Nicholls Street
The Catholic Church in Tremé
        Faubourg Tremé's population increased
profoundly as the Vieux Carré became overcrowded
and as the Haitian Revolution of 1791 brought
many immigrants fleeing the bloody revolt. And
although Tremé was predominately
African-American, it was one of the most diverse
neighborhoods for its time in the United States.
Still one religion bound New Orleanians
Catholicism. In the late 1830s, when free people
of color got permission from Bishop Antoine Blanc
to build a church, the Ursulines donated the
corner property at Bayou Road (now Governor
Nicholls St.) and St. Claude, which they had
bought for 10,000 on the condition that the
church be named after their foundress, St. Angela
Merici. However, circumstances dictated that the
church be named St. Augustine. The church was
built by slaves and immigrants and became one of
the first churches in the United States where
free people of color, whites and enslaved
Africans could worship under the same roof. The
church is located at St. Claude Avenue at
Governor Nicholls Street and 1 block north of
Rampart Street.  
The Catholic Church in Tremé
  •         St. Augustine from its inception fed many
    from the Tremé and from other Faubourgs. On
    special religious holidays such as Easter, St.
    Josephs Day and during Lent, women from the
    community would cook while the men would take
    charge of putting up the chairs and seats. There
    were also pot lucks, picnics and Friday Fish
    Fries during Father Jerome Le Doux's 16 years at
    St. Augustine Church (1990-2006). 
  •         After Hurricane Katrina, St. Augustine
    opened a food bank for victims of Katrina. 
    People from all over the city came to the
    churchs food bank. Shortly after, the Catholic
    Archdiocese decided to close St. Augustine Church
    due to property loss and a decline in
    parishioners, despite the fact that the church
    was a tremendous asset to the community. St.
    Augustine parishioners were outraged. Many
    barricaded themselves in the rectory, and
    eventually a documentary called Shake the Devil
    Off (2007) was filmed to get national attention
    on the closing of St. Augustine Church.  St.
    Augustine Church remained open even though Father
    LeDoux was transferred to a Catholic church in
    Fort Worth, Texas.  St. Augustine remains a
    pillar in the Tremé community.  

The Sisters of the Holy Family
  •         Henriette DeLille, a free person of color
    was born in New Orleans in 1812. She, along with
    her close Cuban-born friend, Juliette Gaudin,
    vowed to dedicate their lives to care for the
    poor and the enslaved, to provide education for
    their children, and to tend to the elderly and
    the sick in the Tremé. In 1842 DeLille founded an
    order of nuns called the Sisters of the
    Presentation. Women of African descent had not
    previously created an order of nuns, and the
    order was not immediately recognized by the
  •         DeLille purchased a home with her own
    money on Governor Nicholls Street between
    Rampart  Street and St. Claude Avenue, putting
    them one block from St. Augustine Church.  

Photo of Henriette DeLille, foundress of the
Sisters of the Holy Family order in Tremé
(1813-1862) c. 1850 
Sisters of the Holy Family
  •         Immediately members from the Tremé
    community  began bringing food, shoes and coal
    during the winter to the Sisters. The order began
    feeding  many who were in need and to this day
    continue to serve food to those in need with
    paper bag lunches, dinners and holiday feasts.
    According to Sister Goodo of the current order,
    food that was fed to those in need would probably
    have been hominy grits and fatback. The sisters
    had to beg for food to feed the needy during the
    early years of their inception. A Lifetime Cable
    movie was made in honor of DeLille called The
    Courage of Love (2001), which starred Vanessa
    Williams. In recent news, Henriette DeLille was
    nominated for canonization by the Sisters of the
    Holy Family and the Catholic Archdiocese of New
    Orleans as a saint. 

Photo of the Sisters of the Holy Family and the
elderly, date unknown.  
Photo taken at the Tremés Cookin' event at St.
Augustines 2007
Marie Laveau's Tomb in St. Louis Cemetery
  •         The tomb of Marie Laveau at St. Louis
    Cemetery Number 1 in Tremé at 420 Basin Street is
    always overflowing with offerings. Infamous Marie
    Laveau was known as a Voodoo practitioner in New
    Orleans. Many visitors to Laveaus tomb offer
    food, alcoholic beverages and other items that
    would please her, hoping to get their wishes

Photos of the Marie Laveau's tomb
  The Italian Immigration
  •         History states that during the Middle
    Ages there was a severe drought and subsequent
    famine in Sicily. The people of the region prayed
    to Saint Giuseppe (Joseph), Patron Saint of
    Sicily, imploring him to deliver them from peril.
    They promised that if he answered their prayers,
    they would prepare a large feast to honor him.
    According to legend, first the rains came, then
    fava beans. Before fava beans were only used to
    feed farm animals. However, fava beans grew in
    abundance and helped sustain the starving people
    of Sicily. Giving food to the needy is a St.
    Joseph's Day custom. 
  • Sicilian immigrants to Tremé, the first picture
    was taken c. 1936 and the second picture of the
    little girl c. 1921 on Governor Nicholls St. 

St. Josephs Day  
  •         The celebration of the La Festa di San
    Giuseppe was transplanted to New Orleans and St.
    Augustine Church by immigrants from Sicily.
    Between 1850 and 1870, the U.S. Census Bureau
    estimates that there were more Italians in New
    Orleans than in any other U.S. city. By 1910, the
    population of the city's French Quarter, adjacent
    to Tremé, was 80 percent Italian.  By the late
    twentieth century, there were 200,000 Americans
    of Italian descent living in greater New Orleans.
    Many were born and raised in Tremé along with
    Irish, Germans and Greeks. Many became grocers,
    restaurateurs, bar owners, candy makers, bakers
    and butchers. Tremé continued to be a diverse
    community up until the 1960s when an urban
    renewal project tore down a large portion of the
    area, including small businesses and homes owned
    by many Tremé residents.
  • The Treme Market Branch, 800 N. Claiborne, corner
    St. Ann. This building, just across the street
    from the other Treme Branch, was built in 1924 as
    a branch of Hibernia Bank. For many years it
    housed the Pizzo Leather Company. Today, it
    stands boarded up and vacant.

St. Joseph's Day Altar
  •         In Tremé and other faubourgs were
    Italians resided in New Orleans during the early
    20th century, a fresh green branch was hung over
    the doorway of each home, indicating that the
    public was invited to view the altar, to
    celebrate La Festa di San Giuseppe, and to share
    the food.  Each item on the altar, from the
    candles to the cookies, is blessed by a Catholic
    priest in a special ceremony the afternoon before
    an altar is 'broken.' 
  •         Although there are perishable foods on
    the altars, a large portion of the breads,
    cookies and cakes are wrapped so that they may be
    given to charities after the altar is broken. The
    altar is broken after a ceremony reenacting the
    Holy Familys asking for shelter called Tupa Tupa
    (Italian  for Knock Knock). Children dressed in
    costume knock at three doors asking for food and
    shelter. At the first two they are refused. At
    the third door, the host of the altar greets them
    and welcomes them to refresh themselves. 

        The food served to visitors on St.
Josephs Day is a fulfillment of the promise made
long ago by Sicilians to St. Joseph for delivery
from famine. Small bags are given as keepsakes to
all visitors. Each bag may contain a blessed
medal, holy card, fava beans, cookies or bread.  
St. Joseph's Day Altar
  •         Perhaps the universal symbol to be found
    on all altars is the lucky Fava Bean. Legend has
    it that the person who carries a 'lucky bean'
    will never be without coins. The fava bean is a
    token of the St. Joseph's Altar, and a reminder
    to pray to St. Joseph for the needs of others. 
  •         Cuccadati are the traditional decorative
    loaves of bread that are formed in a variety of
    symbolic shapes like a staff or crown of thorns. 

        Le Vastedde is a Sicilian tradition that
consists of latticework covered with branches of
myrtle, bay leaves, oranges, lemons and the small
decorative breads. 
Fava Beans and Le Vastedde (above and to the far
right). Cuccadati (center)
St. Joseph's Day Altar
  •         The specially prepared decorative breads
    on the St. Josephs altar take many forms,
    including the shellfish eaten during the Lenten
    season, symbolic carpentry imagery specific to
    Joseph , the peacock representing the glory of
    man, and breads with a decorative interlace
    filled with figs alluding to the fig orchards of
    Sicily. They also reflect Christian symbols such
    as the Crown of Thorns, palm fronds that refer to
    both martyrdom and a symbol of eternal love, a
    dove representing the Holy Spirit, and a lamb or
    fish showing Jesus as the Lamb of God and the
    Fisher of Men. In addition, a heart pierced by a
    dagger also refers to the grief of Mater Dolorosa
    and may bear the names of recently departed loved
    ones in the family of the maker of the bread.

On the Altar...
        Citrus fruits, especially lemons are
common both in the orchards of Sicily and in New
Orleans.  Some swear it is good luck for a woman
who wishes to have a baby to "steal" a lemon from
the altar, leaving hidden coins behind for the
        Mudica (bread crumbs) represent sawdust
and are served as a  garnish over the Pasta
Milanese on St. Joseph's Feast Day
  •         Wine bottles on the altar represent the
    miracle of Cana and the twelve whole fish
    represent the twelve apostles and the miracle of
    the loaves and the fishes. 

        Pupaculova is a baked bread with a dyed
Easter egg encased in the crust, which represents
the "coming of Easter". 
        Pignolatti, are fried pastry balls
constructed in the shape of a pine cone
representing "the pine cones Jesus played with as
a child."
SFINGE DI SAN GIUSEPPE  (St. Joseph's Cream Puffs)
Place water, butter, granulated sugar, lemon
rind, and salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a
boil, and as soon as the butter has melted,
remove from heat. Add the flour all at once,
stirring constantly.  Return the pan to the heat,
and stir constantly until the mixture forms a
ball and comes away from the sides of the
pan. Cook just until you hear a slight crackling,
frying sound. Remove the pan from the heat, and
cool slightly. Add the eggs, one at a time. Be
sure that each egg is thoroughly blended into the
mixture before you add the next. Stir until
smooth and thoroughly blended. Add the
vanilla. Cover the dough and let it stand for 15
to 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400º F. Drop
the dough by heaping tablespoonsful on a buttered
cookie sheet or onto parchment-lined sheet
(better!), leaving 2 inches between the
sfinge.Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden
brown Remove from oven and cool.
  • Ingredients
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • Grated rind of 1 lemon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup sifted flour
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 TBSP vanilla

SFINGE DI SAN GIUSEPPE (St. Joseph's Cream Puffs)
  • Filling Mix the ricotta, confectioners' sugar,
    vanilla, cinnamon, chocolate, and
    pistachios. Just before serving (so they don't
    get soggy!), cut off the tops of the sfinge and
    fill. Place top back on after filling. Arrange on
    platter, sprinkle with powdered sugar, and
    garnish platter with lemon 
  • Filling 2 cups ricotta cheese 1/2 cups
    confectioners' sugar 1/2 tsp. vanilla 1/4 tsp.
    ground cinnamon 1/3 cup grated dark chocolate 2
    TBSP finely chopped pistachios  
  • Garnish Powdered sugar Lemon rind  

Basin Street, Storyville New Orleans, Note Tom
Andersons restaurant on the corner.
  • Just one to two generations removed from slavery,
    New Orleans and especially Tremé could boast
    themselves as being the creators of Americas
    only indigenous art form Jazz. They could also
    claim to house one of the most notorious
    neighborhood within a neighborhood--Storyville,
    which was right in the middle of Tremé. 

  •         While St. Augustine Church served as the
    spiritual heart of the Tremé, sinners in the
    early 20th century were just a few blocks away
    from a walk on the wild side. Officially
    chartered on January 1, 1898, The District became
    the only legally operated red-light district in
    the Victorian era in the United States. 
  •         The District encompassed sixteen square
    blocks from Iberville to Basin Street, St. Louis
    to Robertson Street. The site was chosen because
    it was adjacent to the Burnham train depot on
    Basin St., one of New Orleans main railway
    stations so that it was easily accessible to
    visitors. Many of the houses or cribs that were
    rented out were owned by descendants of free
    people of color or Creoles, Irish, German and
    others. Storyville real estate boomed. 
  •         An average Creole cottage would run for
    42 a night, or 294 per week in comparison to
    other Faubourgs that rented at only 15 a month.
    Storyville was commonly referred to as the red
    light district because a red lantern would be
    placed outside the door to let customers knew
    they were open for business.

  •         According to a redrawn map of Storyville,
    New Orleans in 1900-1915 made in 1944 by Paul
    Edward Miller and Richard M. Jones, there were
    over 60 saloons, cabarets, dance halls, honky
    tonks, restaurants and food stands. There were
    oyster, praline and fruit stands. There were many
    grocery stores such as, Colans on Rampart,
    Panquals on Franklin and Johns on Marais and
  •         In addition, a mid-sized Chinatown in
    what was called Elks Square on Rampart and
    Tulane served Chinese food and had a fruit stand.
    Many of the dance halls and saloons in Storyville
    also served food. The map noted Nicks Italian
    Restaurant and Saloon on Rampart, a Greek
    restaurant on Rampart plus wine store, Geddries
    Allen Restaurant on Howard and two of the most
    famous saloons with restaurants, Tom Anderson's
    and Mahogany Hall.

  •         Tom Andersons saloon on 209 N. Basin
    Street was owned by himself, a politician of the
    fourth ward known as the 'Mayor of Storyville.'
    In 1892, Anderson opened up his restaurant at 12
    N. Rampart. Anderson's Famous Cafe and Chop House
    fed many politicians and policemen. The
    restaurant's motto was "The Best of Everything."
  •         Lulu White, a woman of color from the
    West Indies known as the Queen of Storyville
    built the Mahogany Hall for 40,000 on 235 N.
    Basin Street. It was later renamed by musician
    Spencer Williams as the Mahogany Hall
    Stomp. Mahogany Hall was one of the larger if
    not the largest saloons in Storyville. Built with
    mostly marble and mahogany, four stories high,
    five parlors and one of the most expensive
    saloons for entertainment, gambling and dining,
    Lulu Whites saloon rivaled many of her
    competition such as Willie V. Piazza (Famous
    "Jelly Roll" Morton used to play his piano at
    Willies), and Emma Johnson, a Cajun known for
    being a madame with a bad reputation. 

"Basin Street Up the Line".Early 20th century
postcard view of the high-rent section of the
"Storyville" Red light district. 
  •         According to a photo in Al Roses
    book, Storyville in New Orleans (1974), Mathew
    Antoine Desiré Dekemel, known as Buglin Sam the
    Waffle Man played jazz on an army bugle from his
    food vendor cart where he would sell hot waffles
    and Chero-Cola for 5. 
  • "The Waffle Man was a familiar figure in the
    red-light District…A mule-drawn wagon kept a coal
    fire aboard, along with a huge cast iron waffle
    maker. The tender, a man named Dekemel, would
    make the waffle on the spot, dust it with
    powdered sugar, and hand it over to the
    purchaser. The presence of the waffle man in the
    neighborhood was loudly announced by blasts from
    an army bugle." Al Rose, Storyville New Orleans,
    1974 pg.58 

Scanned photograph of a waffle vendor and his
wagon in New Orleans during the 1940's,
Storyville's Demise
  •         Just blocks away laborers, tradesmen and
    seaman would buy alcohol, food, and indulge
    themselves in other pleasures in some of the
    cribs nearby. However during Jim Crow, black
    men were barred from many white establishments.
    Nonetheless, black saloons, cabarets and brothels
    in Storyville oftentimes served both black and
    white clients since many of the owners were
    people of color or passing for white. Although
    racist and restrictive laws against Blacks in New
    Orleans were harsh, Storyville and its patrons
    crossed racial lines many times. For twenty
    years, the experimental Storyville district would
    become a cross-cultural cauldron where men and
    women of all socio-economic classes and races
    could soak up the sounds of ragtime and Jazz,
    gamble, get a good meal, and enjoy other vices.
  •         In 1917 The District was officially
    closed down by the U.S. Department of the Navy.
    Within twenty years, the once bustling red light
    district had become a decaying slum.  The Housing
    Authority of New Orleans (HANO) was chartered in
    1938 to rid the city of the slum.  By 1939 it had
    demolished most of Storyville to make way for
    seventy-five brick row-house style buildings with
    858 low-income apartments. The Iberville Project
    was conceived as a panacea for the depressed
    economy and served as the prototype for HANOs
    subsequent low-income housing developments in
    other parts of New Orleans. It was also an
    attempt to wipe out all memories of the red light
    district therefore even the once grand mansions
    along Basin Street were demolished.  Basin Street
    was renamed "North Saratoga" (although the
    historic name was returned some 20 years later).  

The community's frustration with Storyville can
be seen in publications such as this. Front page
of "The Mascot" newspaper, New Orleans, for 11
June 1892. 
The Tradition of the Jazz Funerals and Secondline
Parades in Tremé
  • Secondline Parade in Tremé Summer 2009

Jazz Funerals and Second Lines
  •         Brass bands from all over the city filled
    the post-Civil War (1861-1865) streets of New
    Orleans with Jazz. In Tremé, they played after
    church services (many Secondline parades to this
    day commence directly after St. Augustine Church
    services on Sunday), at dances, picnics, street
    fairs, political rallies, prizefights and
  •         The tradition of the jazz funeral evolved
    out of the Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs in the
    late 19th century, which functioned as burial
    societies to ensure that each member was provided
    with a dignified Catholic burial and a grave in
    one of their society tombs.

During and After every Second Line Parade food
becomes an integral part of the festivities.
Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs
  • "The property owning…Catholic gens de couleur
    after Reconstruction found themselves considered
    equivalent to the freed slaves in New Orleans.
    Louisiana legislative code 111 of 1890 designated
    a person of any African ancestry as Negro.  This
    finalized a total change among the inhabitants of
    Faubourg Tremé. The war that resulted in freedom
    for slaves brought oppression to the former gens
    de couleur libres. They lost their white clients
    in all fields of business. Small businesses in
    the corner store-houses were barely able to
    operate, their customers being poverty stricken
    Negroes and Creoles of color who had lost their
    means of support. Real estate brokers lost their
    property. Housing patterns were altered. Many
    gens de couleur lost their homes and began to
    rent, often from white Creoles."
  • -New Orleans Architecture Vol. VI Faubourg Tremé
    and the Bayou Road, Roulhac Toledano and Mary
    Louise Christovich

Second Line Parades
 Super Sunday May 31, 2009
Jazz Funerals
  •         The Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs
    proliferated in the mid 19th century during
    Reconstruction to provide social structure in the
    days when yellow fever could wipe out an entire
    family in a weekend and unscrupulous white
    landowners were bent on swindling property from
    the black populace. It is estimated that more
    than four-fifths of all people of African descent
    belonged to one or more benevolent societies by
    the early 20th century.
  •         Even today as friends gather to mourn and
    to offer solace to one another, music sets the
    tone. After a long  emotional wake the night
    before, the body is transferred to the church in
    a solemn walking procession. The brass bands play
    a mournful medley of gospel, Bye and Bye and
    Just a Closer Walk with Thee. As the service
    draws to a close, hundreds of people gather on
    outside along Governor Nicholls Street and St.
    Claude Avenue. Pickup trucks often line the
    streets with barbecue pits grilling hot sausages
    and frying fish. Mostly men pull ice coolers with
    what they call walking liquor stores, filled with
    ice, beer, water, soft drinks, juice and hard
    liquor. Both women and men can be seen walking
    around with flat baskets and selling homemade

Photo of alcoholic beverages celebrating the
Sudan Social Pleasure Club Est. 1984 and Grand
Marshall, Benny Jones 2007. 
Jazz Funerals
  •         Once the burial is complete the band
    returns to Tremé to resume the parade. After the
    body is cut loose (placed in the crypt), the
    mood of the parade makes the transition from
    mournful to joyful that the recently departed has
    taken his place with the Lord. Officials from the
    Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs often pick up the
    syncopation of the music as they follow the
    life-well-spent procession from the home of the
    deceased to a series of local bars and hangouts,
    where drinking continues.

Circa 1980s, Photos of Secondline Kings and
Queens and their engraved beverage cups. 
Restaurants  in Tremé  Past and Present
Chez Helene
  •         Chez Helene once stood on North Robertson
    Street. The late Chef Austin Leslie known as the
    father of fried chicken in New Orleans bought
    the restaurant from his aunt in 1975. The
    charismatic chef who donned a boat captains hat
    and wore a necklace with a large diamond crab
    medallion cooked some of the best cornbread,
    fried chicken and Oysters Rockefeller in New
    Orleans. People from all over came for Leslies
    infectious smile and mouth watering food. In the
    late 1980s a television sitcom Franks Place was
    based on Chez Helene and Chef Austin Leslie.
    Unfortunately, Chez Helene closed in 1989, and
    during Katrina, Leslie spent two days trapped in
    the attic of his home. Although Leslie was
    rescued and flown to two different states for
    treatment, he died of a high fever. A Second line
    parade after Katrina in 2005 in his honor
    commenced at Pampys restaurant, the former Chez
    Helene, and then proceeded to the Backstreet
    Cultural Museum. 

Chef Leslie Austin
Dooky Chase's
  •         Dooky Chase's is located at 2301 Orleans
    Avenue and has been in operation since 1941.
    Known for its traditional Creole cuisine prepared
    by famous chef Leah Chase. Mrs. Chase worked
    alongside her in-laws, the former owners, until
    she eventually became owner and chef. Eventually,
    the restaurant became a haven for Civil Rights
    activists, African-American artists whom she
    supported by hanging their art works, and her
    loving family. Chase is famous for her gumbo
    zherbes, shrimp Clemenceau, fried chicken and
    for maintaining Creole traditions and cuisine.
    Many famous people have eaten at Dooky Chases
    over the years even Ray Charles in his song
    Early Morning Blues sang of a meal he had at
    Dooky Chases. Leah Chase is now 86 years old and
    continues, along with her grandchildren and
    children, to run a successful restaurant even
    after Katrina nearly destroyed it. 

Photo taken (May 2009) of framed photo taken in
February 2007 inside of Dooky Chases restaurant
of soon to be President Obama dining at Dooky
Willie Mae's Scotch House
  •         Willie Maes Scotch House located at 2401
    St. Ann Street serves some of the best fried
    chicken in the nation. Willie Mae Seaton moved to
    New Orleans from Crystal Springs, Mississippi
    with her husband. Trained in southern cooking by
    her mother, Willie Mae opened her restaurant in
    the late 1950s. It was originally a Scotch House
    until patrons started asking for some of the good
    smelling food she would cook for her family that
    they would smell from the streets. Willie Maes
    Scotch House to this day serves various kinds of
    pork chops, butter beans, red beans and rice,
    other dishes and her infamous fried chicken.

  • Between the 1930s and 1960s these restaurants
    were the epitome of the Tremé culinary legacy
  •         Hanks served sandwiches and liquor.
  •         Lavata's was famous for their Oyster
  •         Mules, Italian owned, was where people
    went for sandwiches and draft beer. According to
    historian Barbara Trevigne, this is where all the
    men went on Friday's, including Fats Domino when
    he was in town. Mules is located one block off
    Claiborne and two blocks from St. Bernard Avenue.
  • Trevigne also said that many Tremé
    residents would have what was called sweet
    shops in their homes where they sold Hucklebucks
    (now called frozen cups) all throughout Tremé.
    The treats were simply juice frozen in paper
    cups, but they were refreshing and delicious on a
    hot day!

Markets in Tremé
Market Photo taken in 1955.
  • These were some of the public markets according
    to the city directory from 1933-1947.
  •         Lebreton Market  Bayou Road at North
  •         Maestri C. N. Market 725 N. Broad
  •         Rocheblave Market 2509 Iberville and also
    203 Rocheblave
  •         Tremé Market Orleans Av between N Villere
    and Marais 
  •         Circle Food Store, 1938 Saint Bernard
    Ave. and Claiborne was also a historic grocery
    landmark and seen on TV during Katrina. Although
    Circle Food Store is not in the Tremé it served
    many Tremé residents

Circle Market in September, 2005.
Tremé Market
The Treme Market. Located on the neutral ground
of Orleans Avenue between Marais and North
Robertson Streets, the market building extended
over Villere Street, as shown in the photograph.
Built in the 1830s, the Treme Market survived
until 1932 when it was demolished so that Orleans
could be beautified in order to serve as an
approach to the new Municipal Auditorium. Stall
keepers moved into a new Treme Market in the 1500
block of Orleans.
Oral History Dorothy Johnson
Download Bethany Bultman's interview of Dorothy
Johnson here. She discusses the changes in the
Tremé neighborhood throughout her years and
shares some of her memories of the food and
culture of the area.
Classic Recipes from  Tremé 
Picture of Antonia Marigny taken in 2007 at the
Tremes Cookin event at St. Augustine's Catholic
Church while Father LeDoux was still under
pastorship at St. Augustine
Bell Pepper Casserole 
  • "My family and I lived in the Tremé area where
    there was always great cooking, wonderful music
    and fun parties.  This recipe came about as a
    result of bell pepper cost and shortage at the
    Treme Market and Circle Food Store.  Bell peppers
    became very costly, so as a result, I
    compromised.  I began to cut the bell peppers
    into strips placing the bell peppers strips in
    the bottom of the pan and covering with the
    stuffing mix.  This recipe is my signature dish
    at every family gathering."

Method  Place ground meat in a medium size
bowl beat eggs and pour into bowl with ground
meat Add season all Add (chopped) ham or smoke
sausage or both Fry seasoning with butter in
skillet (add to bowl) Add raw shrimp to
bowl Place raw strips of bell peppers in bottom
of pan (cover bottom) Place mixed a from bowl
over the peppers. Add a few pieces in between
stuffing mix. Sprinkle bread crumbs over stiffing
mix along with butter strips over top of bread
crumbs. Place prepared pan into oven at 350
degrees for about one hour and a half.     From
Dorothy Johnson
Ingredients 2lbs. of Ground Meat 1lb. of diced
Season Ham 1 lb of Shrimp cut in halves 3 cups
Bread Crumbs (gradually add water until bread
loosens) 2 Eggs 1 Stick of Butter 3 Bell Peppers
(place in bottom of pan, to cover the entire
bottom 2 quart aluminum pan) 1 chopped onion
(medium) ½ chopped bell pepper (place in sections
of stuffing) 1 tsp of season all A dash of salt
Smoked Sausage could be added if desired. 
Holy Thursday Lamb
This recipe came about from the reading of the
Holy Thursday Mass (Book of Exodus). In the
reading they served lamb, salad, bitter herbs and
unleavened bread. Each Holy Thursday we at St.
Augustine Catholic Church have a Seder Supper
after the Holy Thursday Mass. I would cook the
lamb, the parishioners did the salad and Father
LeDoux made the unleavened bread.  The
parishioners all gather in the church hall,
prayed before the meal and enjoyed a wonderful
lamb dinner and fellowship together.  
  • Ingredients
  • 3 lb lamb (New Zealand lamb)
  • 4 gloves of garlic
  • Garlic power (to taste)
  • Creole seasoning (to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • 1 Large oven bag
  • Method
  • Wash lamb
  • Stuff lamb with garlic
  • Sprinkle garlic power and creole seasoning on
  • Place flour in oven bag and shake
  • Place lamb in bag and close
  • Cook for one hour and half
  • After the lamb is cooked and cool, slice 
  •     From Dorothy Johnson

Nanas Sunday Tomato Sauce
  • Every Sunday at 2 P.M. when my great
    grandmothers Big Nana, Francesca Paola Bambino
    Lecce., was alive, we ate in the dining room at
    her house across from St. Augustine on Governor
    Nicholls. Shed come to New Orleans in 1910 with
    my great grandfather from Palermo when she was
  • Our Sunday feast moved to my Nanas dining room
    at 6720 Canal Blvd. after Big Nana died. My Nana,
    Elisabetta lecce, had been 18 when her family
    immigrated. Wherever the meal was there was
    always vermicelli and tomato sauce with cheese.
    We ate this before the main course every Sunday.
    At Easter we probably had ham and lamb. At
    Christmas there was fish. Often there was roast
    chicken or pork roast or eel or veal or sausages.
    We went crabbing a lot, so there was often crab
    stew or something. There was always more than
    enough food, so people were always welcome.
    Sometimes my Dads family would come. They
    thoroughly enjoyed it, because it was so
    different for them. My Dad and his brother grew
    up around Cloutierville, LA, very French, but
    also very much old Louisiana, and Sicilian food
    seemed very exotic to them.

Ingredients  ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil 1
anchovy, mashed 3 large onions, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced 1 stalk celery, minced
2 carrots, grated 1 small can tomato paste 5
lbs. tomatoes, put through a food mill, or 3
large cans crushed Italian tomatoes 1 cup red
wine 2 bay leaves, whole 2 tbs. dried oregano
Juice and zest of half a lemon Salt and pepper
to taste
Heat oil in a large pot with a heavy bottom.
Slowly sauté anchovy until it dissolves, add and
sauté onions, garlic, celery and carrots until
very soft. Add tomato paste and continue cooking
until caramelized. Add the tomatoes, wine, and
bay leaves. Stir. Cover and simmer for at least
an hour. Continue simmering uncovered to all to
thicken. Add oregano, zest, and lemon jice. Cook
15 more minutes and serve over spaghetti. Grate
parmigianoreggiano over the whole platter.   
 From Elizabeth Williams
July 4th Sicilian American Devilish Eggs
  • My Nana, Elisabetta Lecce, grew up with a
    wonderful palette of flavors, all her own. After
    moving to New Orleans from Sicily as a child, she
    began to adapt what she thought of as American
    foods to her taste. One of the adaptations is her
    deviled egg recipe. She wanted to be assimilated.
    She wanted to be American. But American food
    still had to taste good and especially not be
    bland. So we ate what she called "Devilish Eggs"
    (deviled was a weird concept for her) at picnics,
    as a canape, or whenever deviled e