Hey Julia,
Since St. Joseph’s Day is this month, I was wondering if it was true that New Orleans had the largest Italian immigration in the nation. We certainly have a large Italian influence here.

– Boz Josephson (Marrero)

Well, the short answer to your question Boz is “no.” New Orleans did not have the overall largest Italian immigration, but it did have a large Sicilian immigration. (For those who may have forgotten, Sicily is the out island off the toe of Italy.) The more accurate statement is that Sicilians were the largest immigrant group into New Orleans, although New York had the most Sicilians. New York was first; New Orleans was second. Other Italians from the mainland were dispersed primarily along the east coast, including Boston, Providence and New Jersey, and some who took the long route and settled in San Francisco.

Poydras reminds me to add that among the Sicilians who settled here was a subgroup known as the Aberesh. Their descendants were from Albania and had escaped to Sicily to avoid persecution from the Turks. Aberesh Sicilians are most often identified with last names that end with “O” such as former mayor Vic Schiro. All are part of the Sicilan- American mainstream.

 

Dear Julia,
Was Sean Payton the only Saints head coach to win a Superbowl? – Fred Sarratt (Westwego)

He was the only one to win a Superbowl with the Saints, Fred. Two previous Saints bosses won Superbowls with other teams: Hank Stram with the Kansas City Chiefs (1970) and Mike Ditka (1986) with the Chicago Bears. Both found a new job with the Saints, but neither could repeat the magic. Both were eventually fired. Ditka’s 1999 Saints was one of the worst teams ever, finishing the season with a 3-13 record. As Poydras always says, “if you’re going to move to a new tree, you had better know which way the wind is blowing.”

 

SEND US YOUR QUESTIONS

Poydras is looking for something to do. Send your questions to julia@myneworleans.com and be sure to include your name and information. For the subject line use: Julia and Poydras Question.