The Rise of the Spaghetti District

Nov 29, 2019 387

In the winter of 1912, Picayune feature writer Will Branan took his readers on a tour of the Lower French Quarter, a neighborhood that he half-jokingly dubbed “The Spaghetti District of New Orleans.” Georgia-born and educated at Auburn University, Branan’s perspective was one of an outsider, both to the Sicilian-dominated Quarter and to New Orleans itself.

Yet like earlier transplants John Latrobe and Lafcadio Hearn, he was able to perceive and describe something remarkable that natives mostly overlooked. “Sitting in a Decatur Street Italian restaurant,” opened Branan, “and gazing [in] open-mouthed awe at a marvelous prestidigital exhibition [as] a plate of spaghetti disappeared from view in front of a swarthy Neapolitan, I was seized with a frantic desire for some of the stuff myself.” 

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