THE ICON: Alfred Sunseri
THE LEGACY: Alfred Sunseri is an example of the importance of family, contacts and hustle. He was a cousin of Joe Jurisich — the “J” in “P&J Oyster Co.” — but his importance transcended kinship. When he came to work for Jurisich and his partner, John Popich, he was still in his 20s, but he brought with him his connections from his job with the United Fruit Co. that helped make P&J’s a key supplier of oysters to restaurants locally as well as nationwide. All these decades later, P&J’s is still run by the Sunseris, who have become the first family of New Orleans oysters, while, more importantly, P&J’s has become a vital ingredient in any oyster dressing worth its salt(water).
THE ARTIST: Sean Randall
THE INSPIRATION: “The caviar of molluscan shellfish.” — A loving description of an oyster from Al Sunseri, Alfred Sunseri’s grandson and the president of P&J Oysters, in an oral-history interview with The Historic New Orleans Collection