THE ICON: Al Scramuzza
THE LEGACY: He didn’t invent boiled crawfish, but Al Scramuzza — part showman, part salesman and all homegrown personality — is probably as responsible as anyone for the mid-20th-century popularization of the dish that has become synonymous with New Orleans cuisine. Whether because of Seafood City, the landmark Gentilly seafood shop he operated for decades at 1826 North Broad, or because of the kitschy commercials in the 1970s and ’80s through which Scramuzza turned its address into an earworm, the self-proclaimed “emperor of crawfish” has become New Orleans’ unofficial ambassador for mudbugs. What’s more, it’s clear that Scramuzza, a son of the French Quarter, loves that role at least as much as the city loves him.
THE ARTIST: Gabriel Flores, WhereYart.net
THE INSPIRATION: “I always had plenty confidence. They wrote my commercials at the TV station, I changed the scripts. I told the director, ‘Stand on the side.'” — Al Scramuzza, in a 2001 interview with The Times-Picayune