As my co-workers and I enjoyed the first of what will be many Manny Randazzo's king cakes this Carnival season, we started talking about all the different Randazzo bakeries. Can you help us with a family tree?
The Randazzo name has been known for king cakes since 1965, when Sam Randazzo and his three sons, Lawrence, Manuel and Anthony, opened Randazzo's Hi-Lan Bakery in Violet. The bakery took its name from a St. Bernard subdivision, supposedly built on "high land." According to a 2012 Times-Picayune article, the family originally operated a restaurant and bar on the property, called the Camellia Club. The bakery added a Chalmette location in 1971 and king cake sales continued there until 1997.
It's Twelfth Night, so New Orleanians are now free to consume king cake without fear of cursing the New Orleans Saints.
Sam Randazzo died in 1988. In 1992, his grandson, Manuel "Manny" Randazzo Jr., opened Randazzo's Fine Cakes and Pastries on Veterans Memorial Boulevard in Metairie. It later became a full-time king cake operation called Manny Randazzo King Cakes and moved to 3515 N. Hullen St. in Metairie in 1998.
In 1994, three of Lawrence Randazzo's children opened Goodchildren Bakery Shoppe in Meraux on East Judge Perez Drive, which until 1969 was named Goodchildren Drive. That bakery closed after Hurricane Katrina.
The site originally was home to a French guard house and prison, destroyed in 1788
In 1997, Manuel Randazzo Sr.'s daughter, Tricia Randazzo-Zornes, and her husband, Louis Zornes, who had worked in the Hi-Lan Bakery, opened Randazzo's Camellia City Bakery in Slidell. Though flooded in Hurricane Katrina, it reopened and remains in business.
Once upon a time, the king cake arrived in New Orleans as just a piece of the Carnival celebration.
In 2006, Lawrence Randazzo's daughter, Joel Randazzo Forjet, and her husband Felix, both of whom had worked in the original Hi-Lan Bakery, opened Nonna Randazzo's Italian Bakery and Cafe in Covington. "Nonna" is the Italian word for grandmother. There now are three other locations of that bakery, including one in St. Bernard Parish, where the family business was born.