A Slice of Mid-City: Part V- Venezia


In every neighborhood there are those culinary establishments that despite hell or high-water come to represent the past, present, and future of a neighborhood for residents.  Venezia is one of those places.  It is undeniably a neighborhood institution, offering diners from all over the world but most importantly New Orleans, the opportunity to sit in a place where thousands of New Orleanians have sat before, to enjoy heaping portions of traditional creole Italian fare.

Venezia Collage.jpg

 

For roughly 30 years, Venezia was owned and operated by Anthony Carollo since 1957.  Anthony Carollo was the son of the infamous New Orleans’ mob boss Sylvestro “Silver Dollar Sam” Carollo.  This remains an important part of Venezia’s history as customers frequently discuss the place as a former mob hang out as they enjoy their heaping plates of spaghetti and “red gravy”. In 1987 the property was sold to the current owner Anthony Bologna, who was responsible for the post-Katrina renovations and reopening.

Venezia is more than just a neighborhood pizza restaurant although they do bake a delicious Sicilian style pie.  It is a neighborhood anchor that since the late 1950s has attracted other food oriented businesses to the area, beginning with its neighbor Brocato’s.  When interview Mid City residents about what they perceived to be the draw of Mid City to New Orleans eaters, Venezia is nearly always at the top of the list.  It is a restaurant that cooks up nostalgia for New Orleans residents everyday. On the spectrum of creolization-Americanization, Venezia is the opposite of Domino’s.  Diners at Venezia spend hours supping and drinking delicious house wine.  The idea is to savor the food and savor the history of New Orleans with every bite.  I find the fact that Venezia is still bustling nearly every night of the week an excellent sign that despite their new neighbors (Pei-Wei, Five Guys, Felipe’s, Panera) New Orleanians are still willing to enjoy the slower more traditional things in life.

 

posted by Arianna King

A Slice of Mid-City: Part IV- What do you know about Banks Street?

In addition to the plethora of pizza offerings on and around Canal and Carrollton, Banks Street is booming with both tasty handcrafted pizza and amazing brunch offerings.  Both Mid-City Pizza and Crescent Pie & Sausage Company , similar to their neighbors Katie’s, Wit’s Inn, and Theo’s offer tasty, New Orleans-style pies in addition to a comfortable place for patrons to come and hang out.

Mid City Pizza.jpgJust one year ago, Mid-City said goodbye to longtime pizza spot Lazaro’s and hello to Mid-City Pizza, which bakes up my favorite pizza in the neighborhood.  Located at 4413 Banks St, Mid-City pizza is also accessible through Banks Street Bar, a great neighborhood dive and music venue.  From a small window in the back of the bar, patrons can order pizza by the pie or slice, to compliment the cold beer on tap.  Again, the expansion of hangout space is huge in New Orleans eating and drinking culture and is a crucial part of any neighborhood pizza spot.  In addition to the relaxed vibe, Mid-City Pizza also presents some innovative pies including on Monday the Red Beans & Rice Pizza.

crescent pie logo

Just across the street from Mid-City Pizza is another New Orleans pizza place sister to nearby pizza-neighbor, Pizzicare on Tulane Ave. just a few miles down the road.  This place, while specializing in homemade sausages and tasty sandwiches, offers diners delicious New Orleans inspired pizza options too.  With choices like the Duck & Brie pizza and the always classic Marguerita, Crescent Pie & Sausage seeks to create gourmet pizza from fresh local ingredients, fusing New Orleans culinary artisanship with modern pizza flare.  All of their sausages and many of their cured meat toppings are made in house.

Both of the places fuse New Orleans style ingredients with classic pizza recipes while also offering comfortable, no-rush benches and tables to relax and enjoy good food with good friends.  These elements, seen especially through the lens of pizza in Mid-City are crucial parts of life in Mid-City and in New Orleans in general.

 

posted by Arianna King

A Slice of Mid-City: Part III- Your Neighborhood Pizza Joints

Further down the spectrum from creolization-to-Americanization lay Mid-City’s finest neighborhood pizza joints: Wit’s Inn, Katie’s, and Theo’s as well as Mid-City Pizza and Crescent Pie & Sausage Company, which will be discussed in the next post about Banks Street’s recent redevelopment.  Each of these locally-owned Pizza restaurants have on their menus items that are unmistakably New Orleans.

Wit’s Inn, located at 141 N. Carrollton Ave, is a neighborhood bar and pizza kitchen. According to research done in 2012 by UNO undergrads, Wit’s Inn is owned by Dennis Schuerman and has occupied its current space since 1995. Prior to this the building had housed a pool hall in the 1970s and as early as 1937 is listed on Sanborn Maps as a restaurant although further details could not be discovered.

witts inn.jpg

So what makes Wit’s Inn’s pizza representative of Mid-City and New Orleans?  The first thing, is the space.  During the course of this research project, I spent many hours observing individuals at Wit’s Inn.  It is a place where neighborhood folk come to hang out for hours on end.  Wit’s Inn’s pizza topping options also representative of New Orleans. With tasty options like the Muffuletta, the BBQ Shrimp, and the Creole Italian Pizzas it is hard to imagine toppings that are even MORE New Orleans.

Katies collage.jpg

Katie’s approached pizza in a similar way, offering diners options like: The Iberville with “grilled eqqplant, fresh spinach, red onion, fresh basil, feta, and our garlic butter cream reduction”, The Atchafalaya featuring “roasted garlic, sautéed shrimp, oysters, and crawfish, crabcake, tri-colored bell peppers, tabasco, and marinara”, and The Boudreaux with “cochon de lait, roasted garlic, fresh spinach, red onions, scallions, and garlic butter cream reduction” (http://www.katiesinmidcity.com, 2014).

Theo's collage.jpg

And Theo’s also presents pizza in the same way offering neighbors from Mid-City a place to sit, hang out, and gobble-down some of their favorite New Orleans-esque toppings.  When asked: “What makes Theo’s a New Orleans restaurant?”, one waitress commented that it was the people that come there. She told me that she enjoyed her job there because she was familiar with most of the people who frequented the restaurant. “It’s my friends and my neighbors and all the other folks who work in Mid-City that I see all the time coming in here.” (Fieldnotes, 3/26/14).  This is an important sentiment that the young waitress expressed.  Perhaps part of what keeps the Mid-City’s restaurant row embedded in New Orleans culture and ideology are the vast number of locals that frequent these places, as opposed to a neighborhood like the French Quarter.  It is undeniably observable that the national Pizza chains in Mid-City fail to maintain a space for patrons to come and hang out, grab a drink, and eat some pizza with friends while ALL of the locally-based Pizza joints do.

 

posted by Arianna King

A Slice of Mid-City: Part II- Chains

In my investigation of Pizza in the Mid-City neighborhood, I found that despite a healthy smattering of local neighborhood pizza places, it also is categorized by a generous offering of national Pizza restaurants as well, which are interestingly all located in very close proximity to one another. According to national market research, national chains take only 35% of the pizza market share in the United States with the majority of business going to smaller local pizzerias, which also abound in Mid-City.

Pizza Hut, Papa John’s Pizza, and Domino’s Pizza are conveniently all clustered around the intersection of N. Carrollton and Bienville Ave and have all joined Mid-City’s Restaurant Row rather recently.  Domino’s was the first to open its doors in 2007, followed by Papa John’s in 2012 and most recently Pizza Hut in 2013 with the opening of the new Mid-City Mall. Domino’s, Pizza Hut, and Papa John’s have very similar business models, which keeps them in close competition for their share of the Mid-City pizza market.

three chains map

 


Domino’s Pizza is the leader amongst pizza chains with regards to online and mobile ordering and delivery.  This is reflected in the built environment of the Domino’s located in Mid-City.  With several reserved parking spots and very few tables inside the actual restaurant, it is clear that Domino’s is catering to the Mid-City take-out crowd.  Its location right on N. Carrollton Ave, puts it perfect position for commuters looking for food on their way home.

dominoscollage

Because of its diverse menu options (pizzas, sandwiches, pastas, chicken, and flavored breads), Domino’s as a corporation, has seen consistent growth over the last decade, despite its inability to respond to consumer demand for more healthy choices.  Domino’s main focus for growth according to a 2013 SWOT analysis is expanding into emerging markets in India and China.  This is a sentiment shared by most fast-food restaurants not already engaged in those markets.

Domino’s employees and management at the Mid-City location continuously declined interviews and thus a deeper look into this particular location was impossible.


Papa John’s moved to its Mid-City location in 2012 following the shuffling of several business that shared space within the strip mall.  Prior to Katrina, the space currently occupied by Papa John’s was first Sounds Warehouse Music and Movies, which was bought out by Blockbuster just months before the neighborhood’s devastation.

PJspizzacollage.jpg

Similar to the Domino’s located just across the street, Papa John’s Pizza has easy access to reserved parking.  It too has limited dining facilities inside the building and thus also caters to the take-out eaters of the neighborhood and surrounding area. Unlike Domino’s, however, Papa John’s offers only the most basic pizza options and are known mostly for their garlic butter dipping sauce which accompanies every pie.  With 4,200 locations, Papa John’s is the smallest of the national pizza chain restaurants present in Mid-City.  Similar to Domino’s, however, Papa John’s employees and management were also unenthusiastic about answering questions and sharing their thoughts on the role and relevance of their restaurant in the Mid-City food cluster.


Pizza Hut is the largest global chain represented in the Mid-City neighborhood of New Orleans. The fast-food pizza chain boasts more than 20,000 franchises all around the world and although in their 2013 SWOT analysis, they recognized consumer satisfaction with their pizza is in decline, they chain continues to seek out new ways to stay competitive.  Part of this strategy includes WingStreet, a major marketing strategy of the Mid-City location, especially during Saints Football Season!  WingStreet is a menu of chicken wings available at most Pizza Hut locations.

pizza hut collage.jpg

A similar challenge faced by competitors Papa John’s and Domino’s Pizza Hut has struggled to adjust to the increase in public awareness around the adverse effects of eating high fat/high calorie diets, like pizza.  As a business model Pizza Hut can not compete with the fresher and sometimes more local ingredients that other neighborhood pizza chains such as Theo’s and Crescent Pie & Sausage Company offer their customers.


Mid City Pizza Chains.jpgThe reality that these three chains have come to Mid-City in the post-Katrina context is not surprising. This kind of business development is a trend that can be seen all around the city, from the stirrings of a Chipotle opening on Magazine Street to the commodification of New Orleans culture seen throughout the French Quarter.  Due to the physical and economic devastation that hurricane Katrina brought upon the City of New Orleans, locally-based business faced competition from national corporations that were left unscathed.

These businesses represent one extreme of the creolization-to-Americanization food culture spectrum. The food is predictable, available quickly, affordable, and familiar to people all across the world.  These pizza chains represent a tension that can be seen throughout the city of New Orleans because of their proximal competition with local chains.  Pizza Hut, Papa John’s, and Domino’s represent the highly-Americanized end of the spectrum and as a result appeal to a limited audience.

 

posted by Arianna King

A Slice of Mid-City: Part I- A Snapshot

In addition to my discussions of how the wide range of pizza available in Mid-City reflects some of the growing cultural and ideological tensions in New Orleans, I offer up here a quick look into the demographic changes the neighborhood has undergone since Hurricane Katrina.

Mid-City is a rapidly changing neighborhood and while the last ten years have seen a lot of change, demographics are slow to change.  The charts below may offer readers a more in-depth look into some of the neighborhood demographic information.  All data was taken from The Data Center.

Mid-City experienced substantial population loss due to hurricane Katrina, with some parts of the neighborhood experience peak flood depths of up to 8 feet.  Although the distribution of ages and races represented in the neighborhood remained relatively consistent before the storm and after, the neighborhood has yet to recoup it’s pre-Katrina population numbers. This may soon change, according to Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans, Mid-City is one of the fastest-rebuilding neighborhoods since the storm.

Age 2000Age 2010

Race 2000 Race 2010

We can see from these Pizza-pie charts that the Hispanic population is the fastest growing in Mid-City.  This can be seen in the large number of hispanic owned and operated food businesses on Carrolton.  Since August of 2013, Mid-City has seen an influx of national chain restaurants on S. Carrolton.  In addition to these chain business the neighborhood boast an attractive location for locally owned businesses as well. This rapid growth of food oriented businesses to the neighborhood stands as proof to the testament that Mid-City plays a major role in supporting New Orleans’ food culture!

 

posted by Arianna King

A Slice of Mid-City In Five Parts: Intro

Pizza collage

The origins of the delicious modern staple are somewhat in dispute.  While some historians point to the existence of brick pizza ovens in pre-Vesuvius Pompeii as early as 79 A.D., others argue for its origins as a peasant food in Naples in the late eighteenth century as baked flatbread with tomato toppings. Regardless of when pizza may have been born, it began it’s trek to the North American continent through the hearts and hands of Italian immigrants.  These Italians settled all over the country including right here in New Orleans.

Since Pizza debuted in New Orleans in the French Market, courtesy of Sicilian immigrants in the 19th century, it has undergone a diverse array of transformation that are reflective of the transitions New Orleans herself has undergone. As Dr. Beriss mentions in his introduction to our Spring 2014 research, many of these changes reflect a tension between creolization and Americanization of New Orleans food and culture.

Mid-City is a neighborhood rich in pizza and is perhaps one of the most pizza-saturated neighborhoods in town.  As of April 2014, there are total of 9 Pizza-serving establishments that currently sling pies to the neighborhood’s pizza-gobbling residents. These establishments run the gamut from traditional Italian-style pie to unique New Orleans inspired pizza, boasting familiar creole flavors in a whole new context.

In the posts that follow, I aim to give readers an in-depth look at Pizza in Mid-City and how it reflects the unique blend of people who are coming together to build and experience New Orleans’ unique culture. I will discuss some of the tensions between locally owned Pizza restaurants and national chains as well as where the various establishments fall on the creolization-to-Americanization spectrum.  

 

posted by Arianna King

War—It’s Good for Pizza

War.  What is it good for?

A question posed by one of the most popular protest songs of all time. “War” by Edwin Starr does indeed have an answer to the worth of war—it’s good for absolutely nothing.  C’mon, sing along with me.

War…Huh…Yeah!  Whaaaat is it good for? Absolutely Nothing.  Good God, y’all!
Say it again y’all!

The value of war has a vastly different definition here in restaurant row.  War is actually good for the pizza business.

Pizza Wars has concluded its final week highlighting the various pizza establishments in New Orleans.  Pizza Wars is a competition between participating restaurants promoting “A NOLA Pizza Experience.”  You receive a pizza passport that can be stamped at each restaurant and upon completion you fill out a survey and vote for all your favorites—including: Best Thin Crust; Best Specialty Pizza; Best Beer Selection; Best Deep Dish; Best Atmosphere; and (click here for) your OVERALL favorite pizza joint.

The contest winner receives a grand prize of a pair of Jazz Fest Brass Passes while 20 others can win gift certificates and pizza parties.  The odds of winning appear pretty good.  The lack of publicity and advertising for this promotion seems to favor either pizza connoisseurs or industry insiders that can compare talents or vie for bragging rights.  Obtaining 10 stamps can be adventurous and fun yet time consuming and expensive—hey it’s war anything goes…

Yikes–OK, almost anything.

What I find fascinating about Pizza Wars is that this is both friendly and competitive.  It’s about discovering a different experience, taste, and style of pizza.  It showcases diversity and various strengths.  It shines a spotlight on a particular cuisine in a city known for culinary creativity.

There are 10 participating restaurants, a couple of which are local chains with multiple locations.  However, there are 14 categories to vote for your favorites.

Photo Credit Ian McNulty

Basically, there’s plenty of space for everyone to be a winner.  It suggests that there’s confidence in the industry and that there are options for any desired style of local pizza.  This is a similar phenomenon here in our restaurant row where clustering is a means to success.

I’m curious to see the same war in an economic downturn.  Would we see this same competitive camaraderie?  I suppose you could argue that we are in such a recession—yet are we experiencing the same economic climate as the rest of the nation?  Are we still rebuilding from Katrina or still utilizing federal funds insulating our economy?  Certainly this area is still extremely attractive for continued investments as can be seen by the continued growth of the Lafitte Greenway.  In a down economic environment, I could envision the industry galvanized to such an extent that there would be an increase of “warring” cooperation.

Photo credit Ian McNulty

If you didn’t get an opportunity to tour your local warring pizza establishments don’t worry.   Once a war stops another one is about to begin.  In fact, check out this month’s Pizza Magazine where one of Theo’s owners, James “Jammer” Orintas discusses the benefits of cross promotion and the prospects of future Pizza warfare.  A second Pizza War is in the works for this summer (or 2013 according to The facebook) and will benefit a local children’s band.  Now, that’s something to we can come together and fight over.  So get your passports ready because war is around the corner.  Now that’s a great answer.

Photo Credit Eileen K. at Yelp.com

War.  What is it good for?  THAT is absolutely something.

Although, I like mine without mushrooms.

Peace.

By M. Hendrickson

Piecing Together the Canal/Carrollton Community

Contributed by: Deyna Cimino

It’s been about a month since my first blog entry. Jenny and I are still working on Lemonade Parade and Venezia’s. We’ve since achieved an interview with the owner of Venezia’s, Mr. Anthony ‘Tony’ Bologna. Mr. Bologna described Venezia’s as a family-owned-and-operated establishment. He was full of pride while explaining that his son and daughter helped re-decorate the restaurant after Katrina destroyed the Canal/Carrollton area. The restaurant has white linen and pictures of Venice on the walls but doesn’t forget its loyalty to New Orleans. Pictures of Saints, LSU, and Katrina memorabilia make the dining and bar area seem like you’re eating at a friend’s parent’s house. The restaurant is busy and the close seating helps spark up conversations between patrons. Jenny and I remarked on our fellow diner’s caper pizza but weren’t disappointed when our veal entrees came out. The food is way more than you can finish and during the interview, Mr. Bologna explained that he kept his prices down for the people and its working because the people definitely come. We watched as the early birds enjoyed their dinner and then were amazed with the swarm of people who came around 7pm for dinner. The building filled with laughter and clinking plates. Mr. Bologna explained that they were originally among the few pizza places in the area, but he didn’t see Dominos or the pending MidCity Market as a threat because it wasn’t the same type of food nor was it the same type of atmosphere or service. He explained that all the restaurants in the area actually helped each other. “The more people the better” he said and continued that even if someone ate next door, they’d say “we have to try that Italian place next time, so they still come.” Jenny and I sat at the bar and enjoyed drinks, more food than we could eat, and then coffee so we didn’t slip into an Italian food coma on the way home. Our bartender/waiter, Chris, was more than accommodating. He’s worked at Venezia’s going on five years and also attends UNO. This showed aspects of the UNO and Canal/Carrollton community merging. Metairie is also a factor in Venezia’s, where their other location is found. Mr. Bologna explained that the street cars increased business because tourists were able to venture to different parts of the city, including MidCity, and he appreciated this. But, he still made sure to treat his loyal local customers with reverence. After Katrina, this reverence became even stronger. He explained that he was touched to find out that people who were displaced, temporarily and, or permanently, still kept Venezia’s on their list of New Orleans must haves upon returning or visiting home. Mr. Bologna explained that his contribution to Venezia’s was built on the idea of family and that his mission was to perpetuate that feeling through his service and food. Compared to the bustling inside of Venezia’s the outside is relatively unassuming. The sign is neon lighting—part of its method of marketing may be, as an authentic Italian restaurant located in New Orleans, the very lack of seemingly deliberate marketing. It’s plain, rustic, white-walled exterior lets the food speak for itself.

https://i2.wp.com/menuorleans.com/files/menu_images/Venezia1.jpg

Photo borrowed from menuorleans.com

photo borrowed from virtualtourist.com

Lemonade Parade’s logo is reminiscent of the 1950s era dancing fruit commercials and reminds me of the Prytania Theater’s “Let’s all go to the movies” clip. Mike and Lori Bennencourtt also own The Peanut Gallery which hosts exhibitions and other community events. Some of the same people involved with the gallery seem to be involved with Lemonade Parade—extending the Canal/Carrollton community reach. The exterior brick is light blue and their sign is canary yellow with dancing fruit. They’ve compensated for their visibility problem by placing huge yellow banners in front that does attract attention. They have tables outside for seating and this seems to be the way to enjoy Lemonade Parade. This atmosphere works nicely as the community is the backdrop of the restaurant and patrons are literally surrounded by the area as they enjoy their food or beverages. This also yields more community involvement as those passing can engage with patrons, see the items they have to offer, and momentarily become a part of the restaurant’s atmosphere. It seems like Lemonade Parade’s patrons are mostly from the MidCity area.

Photos borrowed from: http://www.yelp.com

Getting Lost in History Can Be Fascinating

Submitted by: Haley Ashe

Hello all! Hope you all have enjoyed reading these adventures in field work as much as I have. Each research opportunity, restaurant visit, casual conversation, new blog post, etc allows all of us to learn something more about this unique city some of us are fortunate enough to call home. New Orleans is a jewel and myself and my fellow bloggers have been investigating this particular facet located at Canal Street and Carrollton Ave.

Image

Many of us have provided links and helpful photos pertaining to the development of the Lafitte Corridor. Not at an attempt of being redundant but more so out of importance, here are some more links and photos.

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http://www.bestofneworleans.com/blogofneworleans/archives/2011/12/14/sec-of-interior-gives-greenlight-to-lafitte-corridor-greenway

http://www.bestofneworleans.com/gambit/plans-for-the-lafitte-corridor-greenway-are-still-on-the-rocky-road-to-recovery/Content?oid=1620787

http://www.bestofneworleans.com/blogofneworleans/archives/2012/03/20/winn-dixie-breaks-ground-in-mid-city

http://www.urbanconservancy.org/projects/carondelet-basin-greenway

This development is very important to the area and has the potential to drastically change this historical neighborhood.  Interested in becoming a friend of the corridor? You can do it here: http://folc-nola.org/

This particular neighborhood has always been a microscopic example of the racial diversity of The Big Easy. Post Katrina census figures have changed slightly as far as residential make-up, but over all the figures are within similar ranges when you consider the fact that not all citizens have returned nor have all of the homes been rebuilt. Here is a comparison of the 2000 and 2010 census data. http://www.gnocdc.org/NeighborhoodData/4/MidCity/index.html

Mid-City gained its moniker from when it was literally the middle of the city in the late 19th century. Pre-contact natives had long settled the area along the natural levees of the river, avoiding the routine flooding of the lower lying areas we now inhabit today. Mid-City was fully developed by 1920 and had multiple public amenities such as public transportation (http://www.gonola.com/2011/03/16/nola-history-streetcars-the-early-years.html) , pools, parks, theaters, churches, schools, restaurants and more. In September 1926 what had begun to be known as Jesuit high school opened its doors on Banks St. and South Carrollton. (http://www.jesuitnola.org/about/about–6406.htm) Around this time as well across from what is now The Shamrock on N. Carrollton and Tulane was a stadium for our minor –> major league baseball team The Pelicans. http://nolalocal.com/new-orleans-pelicans/

Our old, beautifully decaying city has had many transformations and Mid-City has transformed right along with it. The area of Mid-City has seen many historical structures lost due to neglect and nature. Multiple city blocks along Canal Street have been leveled in the name of progression and corporate interests. Even when citizens have attempted to get involved (http://www.preservationdirectory.com/preservationblogs/ArticleDetail.aspx?id=806&catid=1) it is sometimes not enough. There are grants available through the government for citizens to preserve our city though. (http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2011/08/historic_mid-city_properties_e.html) There are also ways for concerned citizens to get involved in what is happening to their area. (http://www.npnnola.com/issues/view/8/master-planning-for-neighborhoods-in-new-orleans) What often happens is that “we” see what is going on in our city but feel we don’t have the time to devote to city meetings, or that a local government agent would not reply to a strongly worded correspondence. Because of this lack of incentive, many wonderful aspects of our city will be forever lost. I am actually alarmed at how few people are aware of the Greenway project. Claire and I have not spoken with the owners of Juan’s or Wit’s Inn yet, but I have spoken with some other Mid-City business owners, employees, residents and area visitors. Most of the individuals I have spoken with have perhaps noticed there are buildings being torn down. Aside from seeing construction, most are not aware of the future intentions of the area, which in turn has not made them aware of the future impact this project may have. While we all hope it will be positive, the past has shown that large-scale development such as this causes rent to rise and an influx of more affluent residents to move in. This is good for the businesses in the area, this is NOT good for the predominantly working-class, low-income and student aged residents calling this area home. (http://www.prcno.org/neighborhoods/brochures/MidCity.pdf) My hopes for the future is that businesses and residents alike will work together to preserve what makes  this area of the city special in it’s own right.

Our research of Juan’s Flying Burrito http://www.juansflyingburrito.com/

   1908 4724 S. Carrollton Ave Juans bldg

Has turned up some interesting information. Sanborn maps printed in 1898 did not contain any data for the area. I then realized that was because at that time it was only “Carrollton Ave.” and had not extended to Canal Street from Claiborne Ave. yet. However, in only 10 short years Carrollton had then developed into South and North Carrollton and was connecting to City Park. On the 1908 map what is now Juan’s was in existance. It wasn’t until the 1937 maps were we able to discern that Jaun’s had been for many years a Steam Cleaners. On the south side of the building was a movie and performance theater and on the north side of the building was a service station. An anticipated meeting with the owner and more Sanborn maps may shed light on the 60 years after it was a Cleaners.

Our research on Wit’s Inn (http://witsinn.com/) has also unearthed some interesting information as well.

   New+Orleans+1937 141 N Carrollton Wit’s Inn

Wit’s Inn is home to a former pool hall in the 1970s. According to Sanborn maps printed in 1908, the location already existed, although it wasn’t until 1937 that were we able to find a map actually labeling the location as a restaurant. Claire hopes to get to speak with the owner so we can see what his sentiments are on the Greenway project and perhaps give us some insight on the neighborhood and how the businesses and residents interact.

I hope you all have enjoyed reading this as much as I have had writing it! Until we meet again.

Testing the Waters on the RestRow Blog

This seriously makes me feel as though I have been thrust upon a stage and told to sing a song I have never learned. This is my first blog for anything, ever, so please do not judge too harshly ladies and gentlemen of the classroom.

Hello all, I am Haley and I have teamed up with Claire to focus our part of the Restaurant Row project on Juan’s Flying Burrito, http://www.juansflyingburrito.com/ and Wit’s Inn, http://witsinn.com/. Juan’s is located @ 4724 S. Carrollton Ave. and Wit’s can be found @ 141 N. Carrollton Ave. on each side of Canal St.

In doing research for this first post, I have found lots of interesting information on the immediate Canal and Carrollton area. However, specific information on my buildings has been proving to be more difficult and time consuming. I had hoped to have all kinds of neat and interesting facts to share with you all. Claire and I have already gotten to do our first visit to Juan’s. It was quite fun and we got to speak with some of the staff, take photos, enjoy some of their wonderful quesadillas (I had the Luau, sub chicken for shrimp – to.die.for.!), and enjoy some of their in house margaritas. Juan’s has placed in the top 3 for multiple categories in Gambit Weekly’s Best of Lists for multiple years, Wit’s has even found its way into the press as well.

Pre-Katrina I was a resident of the area. I lived in a duplex at the corner of S. Bernadotte and Cleveland streets. Thinking back on it now, I wish I had been aware of what was to come. Although I did patron several of our assigned locales, I wish I had spent more time at the locations that did not return once the city began to revive its self.  I did find a good pre-Katrina website,  http://www.gnocdc.org/orleans/4/45/snapshot.html. Perhaps some of you have already seen it. I also found a city tour guide from around 1935! http://www.archive.org/stream/neworleanscity00writmiss/neworleanscity00writmiss_djvu.txt Some of the descriptions of city night life may be giggle inducing. I included it because it does mention a few Mid-City establishments plus it is an interesting read. Good luck to all and I look forward to seeing what all of our research produces! Till next time guys.