The Sicilian surge: When the French Quarter became 'Little Palermo'

Mar 22, 2017 1588

BY: Mike Scott

THEN: Starting in 1884 and continuing through to 1924, an estimated 290,000 Italian immigrants -- a great deal of them from Sicily -- arrived in New Orleans, fleeing economic and political turmoil. In short order, their indelible influence would be felt on the city.

With the French Quarter no longer a fashionable address, many of the city's more well-heeled residents moved Uptown, leaving the city's newcomers to set up shop there and in surrounding neighborhoods. In fact, they did so literally: So many Italian-owned mom-and-pop corner groceries dotted the French Quarter, and so many Italian farmers sold their wares in the French Market, that the Quarter eventually became unofficially known as "Little Palermo," after the Sicilian capital.

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