Each week we invite you “the Reader” to let us know how we are doing and give us comments on what you would like to see. Here are a few comments we received last week. If you would like to send us a comment E-mail Errol Laborde atelaborde@NewOrleansMagazine.com.
My Name is Sal Gambino and I grew up in New Orleans . We lived in a poor Italian neighborhood where my grandfather Salvatore ran a grocery store on the corner of St. Ann and Prier. My grandmother Marie who grew up in the Ursuline Orphanage was good friends with Mrs. Brocato, as was most Italians. Also, every Italian attended mass at St. Mary the Italian Church . My mother and seven of her nine siblings were baptized at St Mary’s.
As a kid back in the thirties, every Saturday evening Mom and Dad would take my brother Joseph and I to the Quarters for Canoli’s. I can remember Mrs. Brocato sitting by the barrels scooping the delectable vanilla and then the heavenly chocolate, and placed them into the shells. I remember those days and although very poor, we lived the good life. Looking back, growing up in New Orleans is still the highlight of my life.
After enjoying high school at St Aloysius I enlisted into the Coast Guard and served on a Destroyer Escort off the Coast of Korea . After my discharge I came home and nothing seemed the same. Because of my training New Orleans Police Department wanted me for Lake Patrol , however they paid only $200.00 per month and Houston , Texas paid $350.00. I decided on Houston and after 34 years of wonderful service I retired from HPD.
My wife Patty and I come to New Orleans two to three times a year to visit family and friends. We love the Parkway Bakery, but we never come in town without eating Canoli’s at Brocato’s. Each visit my wife who loves Canoli’s has to listen to me reminisce of the old times.
At the peak of Katrina we had nineteen relatives here spreading them between the homes of my children, my brother and nephews. Italians, especially family are very close.
We have been back home twice since the storm. Unfortunately Brocato’s was closed on both occasions. However, we will be back to enjoy all of the delicious treats Brocato’s serves. Time hasn’t changed the recipe, and the Canoli still takes me back to those wonderful years as a kid who remembers Saturday evenings, diving into a Canoli.
Thanks for the Memories!
Sal and Patty Gambino
Errol The piece is a delightful departure from the doom/gloom we experience here still almost daily. Articles like this and the Saints elevate our spirits. My ancestors are also from Cefalu as all Brocato¹s but I am not directly related to the ice cream folks although I¹m constantly asked that.
T. Brocato, Metairie
Another fine piece…I can taste the lemon-ice now!
D Miers, Baltimore (formerly NOLA)