Trail of Crumbs: Tracing the Lore, Labor, and History of Bread-Making in New Orleans

The cultural, social, and economic development of New Orleans -- from a colonial port to an American city -- can be traced through its history of bread baking. Bakers and millers were among the earliest laborers brought to the city by the French in the early eighteenth century. By 1820, there were close to sixty bakers in New Orleans, primarily French. A century later, the city directories listed over 200 bakeries, many under German, Italian, and Anglo-American names. Although rooted in a French and Spanish colonial foundation, the bread-making traditions of New Orleans reflect the influence of the port, immigration, labor, and neighborhood allegiance. The Trail of Crumbs tour highlights six locations in the French Quarter open between 1789 and 1970: Cadet's Bakery, D'Aquin's Bakery, Chretien's/Francingues Bakery, the Bakers' Union Hall, Lombardo's Bakery, and Garic's Bakery.

Local No. 35: The New Orleans Bakers' Union

Bread-baking is a hard, physically demanding job. Before the Civil War, most bakery owners relied on apprenticeships and enslaved laborers to handle the workload. Postbellum bakery workers inherited a system of forced on-premises lodging, 16 to…

A Bakery Shaped by Place: Garic’s Bakery

Often visible in the background of historic images of the French Market, the three-story Italianate building with the “Garic’s Bakery" sign anchored the neighborhood. [1] Garic’s Bakery was once part of a bustling riverfront commercial corridor,…

Sicilian Bakers of New Orleans: F. Lombardo and Sons Bakery

The French may claim New Orleans French bread, but later immigrant bakers' influence on the city's bread-making traditions is undeniable. At the turn of the nineteenth century, a wave of Sicilian immigration to New Orleans left a lasting impact on…
Dedicated to the bakers of New Orleans and to Michael Mizell-Nelson.