In 1873, Antonio Lamendola, a single young man, traveled from Alia, Sicily to New Orleans, Louisiana. He then came up the Mississippi River to the Helvetia Plantation where he worked in the cane fields for 50 cents a day. He was later married to his wife Maria, also from Sicily, through an arranged marriage. Together they raised five children. Antonio (Tony) eventually opened a bar room and fruit and lunch stand across from where Lamendola’s Supermarket stands today.
Angelo Lamendola, Antonio’s son, began to follow in his father’s footsteps by peddling bananas. He later established a bottling company called Gonzales Cold Drinks, located where Lamendola’s Supermarket is currently located. The bottling company eventually went out of business. Angelo also opened a bakery in Ascension Parish. He would ride a horse drawn carriage through the parish selling bread for 10 cents a loaf. While selling bread he met his wife Eva. Together they had 4 children, Ruby Ann, Nolan (Sonny), Glenn, Anthony (Tony.)
Angelo Lamendola in front of Pleezing Food Superette
In 1936, Angelo opened Pleezing Food Superette which connected to the family home and was also located where the fruit and lunch stand originally stood. The store made and sold its own boiled ham and had its own ripening room where bananas sold by the pound. During this time Angelo’s sons, Sonny and Glenn began to work for their father learning the grocery business. They both worked as butchers in the morning before school, cutting all the meat by hand and cleaned the milk bottles before pickup. In 1947, Angelo and his sons expanded Pleezing Foods Superette where it would remain in its location for another 10 years.
Up to this point, Angelo supplied the store with groceries by driving to Ronaldson and Puckett on Fourth Street in Baton Rouge and United Cash out of the French Quarter in New Orleans. In 1957, Pleezing Foods Superette made the decision to join Associated Grocers because they were the best supplier. In 1958, Pleezing Foods moved to where Lamendola’s currently stands. During this transformation the store was renamed Lamendola’s Supermarket. In 1960, Sonny bought out his brother and father. He became the youngest member on the A.G. board at that time and eventually served as both president and vice president of A.G. Sonny and his wife Nona had five children, Craig, Blair, Jill, Bill and Jan.
During the 1960’s Lamendola’s began to do a large shipping business where they supplied groceries to the ships that came to Ormet and Texaco. With the large demand of groceries for the ships, Lamendola’s business began to boom. Sonny also established the Lamendola’s Bonded Store, because at this point in time A.G. did not have a liquor or tobacco department. The bonded store supplied tax free tobacco, liquor and beer to the shipping business.
Nolan (Sonny) Lamendola
Sonny’s son, Blair began working in the store in 1974 learning the grocery business from his father. In 1980, Sonny expanded the store into what it is today. He took the store from 6,000 sq feet to 20,000 sq feet and moved the entrance to face towards Burnside.
Jambalaya Champion, Blair Lamendola
In 1989 and 1991, Blair won the title of Jambalaya Champion, and in 2003 he won the champ of champions cooking contest. This put Lamendola’s Supermarket on the map as the best place around town for all your jambalaya needs. Lamendola’s draws people in from around the country for its large selection of cast iron pots. In 1995, Sonny sold the store to Blair and his wife Linda. Blair and Linda had two daughters, Eva and Daphne.