April 16, 2011
Tony Balluff, Clarinetist/Leader – Southside Aces Jazz Band
Cornetist – and my mentor – Charlie DeVore tells of Bucktown’s connection to Johnny Wiggs in the liner notes of our CD. Johnny Wiggs was one of Charlie’s mentors and wrote and titled several of his tunes after the various locales in the city. During Johnny’s time the lakefront in Bucktown was characterized as a place perhaps not to be caught without some degree of physical wherewithal. My memories of Bucktown begin just a handful of years ago, and are certainly much more tame. The first few times I ever went to New Orleans, my first stop was a restaurant on Lake Pontchartrain called Sidmar’s. My experience of Bucktown was of this family seafood restaurant where I could eat a huge and tasty meal and order up a locally brewed Jax beer to really remind myself that I had indeed touched down in that great city. Afterwards, patting my burgeoning belly, I would stroll out into the parking lot looking out on that huge lake, not being able to see the other side. Unfortunately, Hurricane Katrina left nothing much more than the foundation of one of my first favorite places.
April 15, 2011
The Story of Deanie’s Seafood
Deanie’s Seafood was established in 1961. The original owners were John and Alma (Deanie) Livacari. Initially, the business was located on Old Hammond Highway before moving to Orpheum Street and finally to Lake Avenue, where it remains today.
Sometime in the late 1970’s, the Livacari family sold Deanie’s to Joseph George and Donald Melancon. On April 26, 1982, a group of individuals led by Frank Angelo Chifici purchased Deanie’s from Mr. George and Mr. Melancon.
Frank and Barbara Chifici continued the tradition of Deanie’s Seafood in Bucktown. The concept would be as simple as “Great Food, Big Portions with moderate prices”. The menu consists of many New Orleans favorites with our own spin on things. Our atmosphere is a casual family restaurant that is inviting to our locals as well as to tourists.
Sometime early in 1984, the business operation was transferred to Barbara A. Chifici. Frank Chifici passed away on September 3,1985. Soon after, Barbara began to buy out all other investors. Under her leadership, with the help of her children, Deanie’s has evolved into one of the top seafood restaurants in the city.
Born and raised in New Orleans, Barbara is of French and Italian decent. Her background includes several family members as restaurateurs. At a very young age, she acquired art interest in cooking. Many hours were spent in the observation and questioning of the fantastic cooks in her family. Of course, she got hands-on experience, too. She wanted to know everything there is to know in order to become a great cook. At nineteen years of age, she married and went to live in Paris with her husband, who was attending Le Cordon Bleu. Her husband taught her the things that he learned while attending this famous culinary school.
In the early 1970’s, Barbara and Frank opened their first restaurant, Chifici’s on Magazine Street in New Orleans. Their second restaurant, Gromboli’s located on Veteran’s Memorial Boulevard in Metairie, opened early in 1992. Both restaurants were closed to concentrate their energy on Deanie’s, which was a much larger operation.
Barbara’s career has afforded her the opportunity to work with local chefs as well as other chefs around the country. She has cooked for national political figures, celebrities in the entertainment field and sport personalities. She spent three weeks in western New York instructing a small group of chefs that were eager to learn more about Cajun/Creole cuisine. As chef, Barbara has been invited to participate as a judge in food contests around the country. She has judged on both professional and amateur levels.
Our history is continuing with a new location in the French Quarter.