Going behind the scenes of Venezia and Lemonade Parade

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.

Venezia Restaurant

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.

 Lemonade Parade

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.


Restaurant Row Recovery — Just the beginning!

Hello! My name is Jennifer Frerichs. Among the many attributes that makes New Orleans one of a kind are its restaurants and I will be exploring some of them. Although I am not a native New Orleanian and it was not the food that drew me here, it should have been. To my luck, I signed up for a class, taught by David Beriss, called “Applied Anthropology”. In this class, my fellow students and I were given an assignment called, “Restaurant Row Recovery.”

 The goal of the “Restaurant Row Recovery” project is to analyze and interpret the transformations of the restaurants within a specific community. This assignment has given me the opportunity to study a small sample of the vast assortment of restaurants within New Orleans. More specifically, this project covers restaurants along the streets of Canal and Carrollton. Together, my partner Deyna Cimino and I have been assigned a quest for understanding of two locations, Venezia (134 N. Carrollton Ave), and Lemonade Parade (4709 S.Carrolton Ave).

Venezia Restaurant

“Since 1957, Venezia Restaurant has been serving up piping-hot pizza pies and Italian cuisine at its best. Our staff averages 15 years of experience, and they are waiting and willing to offer you a memorial dining experience”




Picture: (by: Jennifer Frerichs) 

Venezia is well known for its family atmosphere and traditional Italian food. My partner and I were fortunate enough to interview the owner and a bartender recently. The enlightening resposes from the owner will be seen on our next blog. Since I arrived early for the interview that our group had established with the owner, I decided to have a seat at the bar and get to know the employees and customers. Starting with the bartender, I asked for the reasons he worked at Venezia. Apparently he has been working at this restaurant for approximately 5 years and he enjoys working with a company that is like a family, rather than working with a commercial chain. He also seemed eager to help me in my research, considering that he too was a UNO student, which I greatly appreciated. He explained that the effects of Katrina caused a lot of damage and resulted in changing some of the interior decoration of the restaurant. Unfortunately, as he began to descripe the history of Venezia in depth, our interview was cut short with the sudden rush of customers. As he walked away, a couple joined me at the bar and after they got their drinks, I decided it might be a good time to spark up a conversation. I started by asking them why they enjoy this particular restaurant. The man stated that he had been coming to Venezias for many years and him and wife always got the same thing and that was the “artichoke dip.”He also went on to say that he has established a relationship with the people working at the restaurant. I refrained asking much more as to not interfere with their experience. For me, the interviews emphasized both the quality of the food and the family atmosphere within the restaurant. It appears the family appeal of this place is what brings the locals back time and time again due to the comfort of the atmosphere. 

Picture: (http://www.nola.com/sites/venezia/)

Lemonade Parade

“The bright exterior is a pretty good indication of what is going on in the inside. Like a cheerful clown, Lemonade Parade dispenses happiness to all who stop in.”


Picture: (http://Jonathanlevinegallery.com)

Lemonade Parade seems to exhibit a similar quality as Venezia, in its aim for “family atmosphere.”  From the outside, their art feels as compelling as an ice-cream truck and they remain very popular to a variety of different age groups. Unfortunately, my partner and I have not been given an opportunity to interview any of the staff, although we have tried to contact them through email and facebook. Due to these circumstances, we will likely have to depend on the history of the business, client opinions, as well as our own observations.

Before Lemonade Parade was in the picture, this location was held by a restaurant named “Manual’s Hot Tamales”. Manuals was founded in 1932 and its name was generated from the well known fact that they were popular for their tasty tamales. “For generations of New Orleans people, the sight of a Manuel’s vending cart at a street corner up ahead, lit by the dim glow of a railroad lantern and emitting aromatic steam on cold nights, was the embodiment of the peculiar regional version of hot tamales. Simmered in an oily slurry of drippings and tomato sauce, they were a far cry from the traditional Mexican tamales steamed in cornhusks” (http://wwno.org/post/tamales-today). Unfortunately, like many other businesses, Katrina inflicted too much damage for the restaurant to reopen. While Lemonade Parade does not serve the same tamales as Manuels, they still please the crowd with their own version of the snack. On review read, “ I love Lemonade Parade! What’s better than a cool, freshly squeezed beverage on a hot day in the neighborhood!? I love the simplicity of their plain iced lemonade, it usually never lasts the 3 blocks back to my house– it’s that good! They also have a wonderful selection of fun coffee drinks and smoothies named after New Orleans songs and events. Let me just say all in all, darn cute and tasty!” (http://www.yelp.com/biz/lemonade-parade-new-orleans-2).

Picture: (https://foursquare.com/v/lemonadeparade/4c44b4202d3ec9b687402fae)

I believe this study should be guided by questions such as:

  • What is the history of this location, more importantly the restaurants within it?
  • Why are these restaurants so successful?
  • Does the introduction of the Laffite Greenway Project pose a threat to the traditional locally owned businesses in this area?
  • In what ways do these restaurants reflect New Orleans traditions?
  • Based on the knowledge we have obtained about these restaurants, what can be said about their future?