What are some of the oldest bakeries in New Orleans?
One of the earliest recorded references to a baker in New Orleans was a 1722 map that showed a baker named Bellegarde (his real name was Francois Lemesle) at the corner of St. Ann and Chartres streets. By the early 1900s, the city had more than 100 bakeries. A few decades later, there was a decline in baking across the nation due to mechanization, which changed the craft of baking, and suburbanization, which led to the development of supermarkets that sold bread alongside other groceries.
Some of the city's oldest bakeries that are still in operation include Leidenheimer Baking Company, John Gendusa Bakery, Alois J. Binder Bakery and Angelo Brocato Ice Cream and Confectionery.
George Leidenheimer, a German immigrant, established his bakery in 1896. First located on Dryades Street, it moved to its current location on Simon Bolivar Avenue in Central City in 1904. The Alois J. Binder Bakery has been in the Marigny since the 1970s, but the family business has been in existence since 1914. Angelo Brocato, an Italian immigrant, opened his ice cream and pastries shop in 1905. There are records of John Gendusa Bakery that trace back to 1922. The first location was on Touro Street, but in 1996 it moved to Mirabeau Avenue.
Gendusa was the first to bake the French bread now traditionally used for New Orleans' famous po-boys when former streetcar workers Bennie and Clovis Martin, then restaurateurs, asked him to bake loaves for sandwiches to feed striking streetcar workers.
Gambino's Bakery, in operation for 60 years, once had locations in New Orleans, but currently is in Gretna, Kenner, Metairie and other parts of south Louisiana.