NEW ORLEANS—We all feel remorse when a beloved business closes in the city of New Orleans. For close to a century, Matassa’s Market has been a fixture in the back of the French Quarter at the corner of Dauphine and St. Philip street.
Matassa’s like many businesses here, possess character because they more often than not have been around a while. In the years after Hurricane Katrina and now with the pressures of the COVID-19 Pandemic, along with newer stores moving in, some of the long standing fixtures in our communities are disappearing.
In January, the legacy of Matassa’s Market almost ended, without any future owners to take the helm. However, the next day after the announcement, new owners stepped up and changed the fate of one of the most beloved and only grocery stores in the neighborhood.
Nasser Hasan and Richard Djapni are the new owners of Matassa’s Market and are eager to see it survive another hundred years.
“To be able to pick up a piece of history and reopen it again and to have the opportunity to bring it back even better than before is an honor,” says Nasser Hasan.
“We have to make sure that in the next hundred years, this store is still relevant. Of course that comes with a lot of responsibility and a lot of pride as well,” says Richard Djapni.
Matassa’s Market is in the middle of renovations and will open next month. They will continue the legacy and make those famous poboys, along with keeping the original integrity. There will be changes. They will now offer Amazon Locker delivery, and Instacart for those who want to order their groceries online. They will also allow for Uber Grocery Delivery.
Additionally, a new coffee bar will be inside, along with an extensive selection of beer, wine and spirits, chosen by the new beverage coordinator, Matt Rezek.
Louis Matassa is the part of the third generation of the Matassa family in New Orleans and says, “we’ve been here since 1924, founded by my grandfather. My brother and myself bought it from him in the late 60’s and we’ve continued to run it ever since.”
Louis’ father, Giovanni Matassa, came to New Orleans from Sicily and opened many businesses including the market. Louis’ dad Cosimo is famous for opening up J&M Recording Studio and revolutionizing R&B music as an audio engineer. Year’s later, those Cosimo records still play and Matassa’s Market still stands.
Louis says, “it’s more than just a market, it’s a meeting place. I just love it because it’s home. I was born and raised down the street. It’s hard to get off this corner. It’s my connection to New Orleans. This is me!”