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Monthly Meeting - East Jefferson Italian American Society

Event Type: Adults
Age Group(s): Adults
Date: 9/5/2018
Start Time: 6:30 PM
End Time: 8:30 PM
 Justin Nystrom, Associate Professor of History at Loyola University, will discuss his new book, Creole Italian, How Sicilian Immigrants Shaped the Culture of America’s Most Interesting Food Town, at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 5, at the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon, Metairie.

Dr. Nystrom’s presentation occurs as part of the regularly scheduled meeting of the East Jefferson Italian American Society. This event is free of charge and is open to the public. There is no registration.

In Creole Italian, Dr. Nystrom explores the influence Sicilian immigrants have had on New Orleans foodways. His culinary journey follows these immigrants from their first impressions on Louisiana food culture in the mid-1830s and along their path until the 1970s. Each chapter touches on events that involved Sicilian immigrants and the relevancy of their lives and impact on New Orleans.

Sicilian immigrants cut sugarcane, sold groceries, ran truck farms, operated bars and restaurants, and manufactured pasta. Citing these cultural confluences, Dr. Nystrom posits that the significance of Sicilian influence on New Orleans foodways traditionally has been undervalued and instead should be included, along with African, French, and Spanish cuisine, in the broad definition of “creole.”

Creole Italian chronicles how the business of food, broadly conceived, dictated the reasoning, means, and outcomes for a large portion of the nearly 40,000 Sicilian immigrants who entered America through the port of New Orleans in the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries and how their actions and those of their descendants helped shape the food town we know today.

Justin A. Nystrom is an Associate Professor in the History Department at Loyola University New Orleans. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1994 from Kennesaw State University where he majored in history and studio art. While still in college, he began a decade-long career in commercial real estate in Atlanta for a division of the Equitable Life Assurance Company as an architectural services coordinator.

Dr. Nystrom returned to graduate school in 1998 at the University of Georgia where he received a master’s degree in history in 2000 and a doctoral degree in 2004. He has held teaching positions in the history departments of Georgia Southern University, Virginia Tech, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and as a member of the History and Southern Studies Departments at the University of Mississippi.

Dr. Nystrom is the author of New Orleans after the Civil War: Race, Politics, and a New Birth of Freedom (Johns Hopkins, 2010). He has published extensively about the history of New Orleans and the South on topics ranging from the Civil War and Reconstruction, racial identity, labor history, foodways, and cultural history. Nystrom also produces documentary films, including a feature length film titled “This Haus of Memories” (2012). He is in the early stages of new scholarship exploring the spread of modernity and technology through the lens of market distribution of perishable food products in the nineteenth century.

Monthly meeting of the East Jefferson Italian American Society. The society is devoted to the preservation and celebration of Italian cultural heritage in Eastern Jefferson Parish.

For more information regarding this presentation, contact Chris Smith, Manager of Adult Programming for the library, at 504-889-8143 or wcsmith@jefferson.lib.la.us.

Library: East Bank Regional Library    Map
Location: Napoleon Room
Contact: Chris Smith
Contact Number: 504-889-8143
Presenter: Chris Smith