Italian POWs were sent to New Orleans in World War II, and love bloomed. This writer has the story.

Aug 30, 2022 2041

Like so many things in New Orleans, the story behind local writer Elisa Speranza’s debut novel, "The Italian Prisoner," (Burgundy Bend Press) begins with a party and food.

While attending an event in 2003, Speranza, then a new transplant to the city, was chatting with local chef Joe Faroldi about their mutual Italian American roots when Faroldi shared the unusual meeting of his father and mother during World War II: He was an Italian prisoner of war in Jackson Barracks in the Lower 9th Ward, and she was a local Sicilian American girl living with her family in the French Quarter.

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