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Earning a living in the United States: My grandfather, the Sicilian tailor

Updated: Feb 9


My father's father was born in Batchelor, Louisiana, on August 28, 1909, but his father did not like living in New Roads (not sure why yet!) so they returned to #Sicily when he was a baby. Papa, our name for him, grew up in #Alia, Sicily apprenticing with a local #tailor. He returned to the United States (he was still a citizen even though he left as a child and spoke very little English) at 17 making his way through Ellis Island. The story goes that the other Sicilians on the boat thought he was connected (maybe with the mafia) because they waved him right through!

His training in the Old Country paid off and he soon found work in New Orleans.

As a recent immigrant he lived and worked with the Menszer family at their Menszer Department Store in Old #Gretna (700 First street) on the West Bank of New Orleans. Later, he worked for Southern Tailoring (located where Restaurant August is today), run by the Caro (Sicilians) family, he had a small tailor shop with a friend where the Musical Legends Park on #Bourbon street is now located (strategically next to the "Oriental Laundry" now Rick's Cabaret,) and finished up his career at Rubenstein's on Canal street.

His talent in menswear was known throughout the city and through his work as a tailor for the #NOPD he received this:





On February 8, 1934, (I am writing this on their anniversary) he married my grandmother, Vincenzina Maria Antoinetta Scaccia, a Sicilian American whose family was from the same tiny village in Sicily at St. Mary's Italian Church in the French Quarter.


My father's parents, Joseph and Virginia Guccione


Joe and Virginia Guccione


I still have this bench in my house. It was used by my grandfather in his work as a tailor. It was made by the #Paidar company, a barber supply house out of Chicago. I could not find any information about this particular stool but it might have been intended for a hair stylist or barber.


My grandfather's tailor's stool



The stool is a from a barber supply place in Chicago



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