Quick Bites: Italian Creole

On this week’s episode, we sit down with Loyola University history
professor Justin Nystrom to explore the influence that Sicilian Americans
have had on New Orleans foodways. Surprisingly, that influence didn’tbegin
with the heavy influx of Sicilians who populated the city in great numbers
during the late 1880’s. Those rural Sicilians made their mark on the French
Market and created the sandwich we know as the muffalatta.   Actually, the
first wave of Italian immigrants were urban dwellers who arrived on our
shores in the 1830’s and became wealthy importers and restaurateurs.  Who
knew that Commander’s Palace was actually founded by the son of an
immigrant from Ustica whose father had Americanized his surname from
Camarda to Commander? Or that those same Ustican immigrants were important
members of the Southern Yacht Club – taking their leisure racing sloops on
Lake Pontchartrain?  Not exactly the image you might have in your mind of
our Sicilian immigrants.