Hello, my name is Jennifer. Together my partner Deyna and I were placed on an assignment to understand the neighborhood of Canal Street and Carrollton Avenue. The center of our focus was Venezia and Lemonade Parade. My previous blog covered the history of these restaurants and some online reviews posted by customers. The aspiration of this blog is to go more into depth with my groups interviews and observations.
The results uncovered in the last blog focused on the interview with the bartender working at Venezias. Shortly after this interview, Deyna arrived. We sat down and ordered our drinks and some food. The owner noticed us both sitting at the bar and walked over to begin his interview.He introduced himself as Anthony Bolonga. As he began to describe the pride he has for his restaurant, we realized our list of questions was not needed. We then slipped our notes away and listened intently. Bolonga started by saying “family is important” and since this place had so much family importance, when Katrina hit he decided that the restaurant was too significant to end with a tragedy.
Bologna stated that his passion for the restaurant business was influenced by his father, a restaurant owner himself. Ever since his father showed him the restaurant life, he knew that one day he wanted to do the same thing. So when the opportunity of being the future owner of Venezia presented itself, he rushed in to pull it off the market. According to the owner, running a business such as this one is “about working with the market.” He continued by asking, “What good quality product can I buy at a price customers are willing to pay?” He also said that he does not feel threatened about outside restaurants or businesses, because they help one another out. For instance if someone decides to go to Medinas for dinner one night, they might look down the road and see Venezias and think about stopping there next time.At this point, the manager asked us if we needed any additional information and after we assured him that we had enough and that we were grateful for his time, he left us to enjoy our meal.
After a few failed attempts to set up an interview with the owners of Lemonade Parade, we decided to understand Lemonade Parade through what we could observe and read about online. The building is small and fairly easy to miss if it was not for their bright yellow sign featuring “happy fruit.” From the outside there are a few tables and chairs for outside dining. The inside was a bit small but this did not seem to concern the large group of high school boys that followed shortly behind me. After ordering a drink, I quickly moved aside to allow the group to place an order. After the last boy ordered, I ran up to talk with the employees, but was unsuccessful. For some reason they closed the windows and went to the back where they were out of sight. Not sure what to do from there, I thought perhaps it was best to not bother them with an interview, especially considering that they were unresponsive to emails and facebook requests.
As I walked outside I noticed that the group of boys was still lingering outside on the patio chairs. This seemed like a good time to catch some interviews. Following a brief introduction and description of the assignment, the boys happily agreed to answer some questions. The first question was, “are you from here and familiar with the Carrollton neighborhood?” A few boys shook their head yes, while the others remained nervous in the back. The next question asked was, what brought them to Carrollton and more specifically to Lemonade Parade. One boy, responded that they were students from a nearby school. They agreed that Lemonade Parade is a good place for students to meet up because of its close proximity to the school grounds and affordable drinks. Another boy commented that since the restaurants are so close to one another, they do not have to have a car to dine out and find variation in food options. They felt that Lemonade Parade was not exactly representative of New Orleans, but their cold drinks helped with the summer heat. They also stated that they felt the restaurants along Carrollton helped each other by drawing in more people and helped the neighborhood by giving more options for people to choose. After listening to their responses, it was apparent that they were ready to be on their way, so I decided to end the interview with those brief responses.