THE ICON: John Gendusa
THE LEGACY: Breadmaking was in John Gendusa’s DNA. In his native Sicily, bakeries were everywhere, and so the Gendusas continued that tradition when they arrived in New Orleans in the late 1800s. Then, during a 1929 transit strike, restaurateurs Bennie and Clovis Martin — who were determined to supply strikers with free sandwiches — found themselves wasting far too much bread from the tapered loaves they had been using. Gendusa came to the rescue, devising a long, tube-like loaf with flatter ends and — voila! — no waste. What sounds like a minor idea would become significant moment in the city’s culinary history, with that event recognized by many as the birth of the po-boy as we know it today.
THE ARTIST: Connie Kittok, WhereYart.net
THE INSPIRATION: “There were bakeries on every corner in Sicily, so it was just one of those things that always caught your eye, and I guess maybe lit a fuse, and he realized that was something he wanted to do.” — Jason Gendusa, owner of John Gendusa Bakery, talking about his grandfather in 2015