Legendary Locals of Metairie

Gennaro Family

This website contains excerpts along with some of the 172 photographs in Legendary Locals of Metairie (Arcadia Publishing, 2013) by Catherine Campanella.
Use the links here to explore a sample of the book -- or purchase it for an in-depth view.


The Dwyers and the Gennaros have long resided in Metaire. William J. Dwyer Jr., was the first city marshall in 1927. His son, William J. Dwyer III (pictured) was a parish commissioner in 1955, Chairman of the Railroad Commission and president of the Metairie Business Association in 1957, a parish jurist/councilman from 1956 through 1960 and a state legislator from 1960 through 1964. He was a charter member and first king of the Krewe of Zeus in 1958 – Dwyer said that their first parades were organized at Gennaro's bar. He was also Grand Marshall of the Metairie Road St. Patrick's Day parades and president of the Air-Line Lions Club. A World War II veteran he was married to Antoinette Gennaro and had managed Gennaro's Inn (where his family lived on the second floor) on Metairie Road at Causeway for 40 years before he died in 1987 at the age of 68.

Gennaro's first opened by Charles Gennaro in 1937. New owners celebrated its 75th Anniversary in August of 2012, still using the old slogan William Dwyer had coined years ago: “The Oldest Bar in Metairie”. During the 1940s and 50s orchestras played to a finely turned-out clientele which occasionally included well-known celebrities. Mr. Gennaro was also a grocer, oyster dealer, and manager of Gennaro Park – a baseball field he opened in the late 1920s, located at what is now Airline Drive at Causeway where local high school teams played as well as others. A one block street, Gennaro Place, is located across Metairie Road from the bar. It was here, at house number 126 that Charles and his family lived.  (JPYR)

Peter Gennaro

Charles and Conchetta's son made a name for himself on Broadway during the 1950s. With Jerome Robbins he choreographed West Side Story in 1957. He danced and choreographed his own troop and coached guests who appeared on Perry Como “Kraft Music Hall” from 1960 through 1963. In 1977 he was awarded a Tony for choreography for the smash hit “Annie”. Peter Gennaro (pictured here) died in September 2000 at the age of 80. (LDL)



Peter's brother Emile was a stand-out baseball player at Metairie High and was called, in the Times-Picayune, the “Mighty Met” who often played games at his Dad's ball park. He worked at the restaurant before becoming a realtor selling property and homes during the 1950s in booming Jefferson Parish. In 1959 he was elected to the Jefferson Parish School Board becoming its vice-president in 1961 and president in 1963. (JPYR)

Other books by Catherine Campanella:

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book is dedicated to the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation's efforts to rebuild and maintain the historic New Canal Lighthouse.

Excerpts from New Orleans City Park  (Images of America).

Contact Catherine Campanella