Jennifer LaNasa- Evans comes from a long line of merchants originally from the town Termini Imerese in Sicily,Italy. The LaNasa brothers came to the United States in the late 1800s and settled in the French Quarter.
LaNasa family coat of arms, which features a blue and gold shield with an eagle and blue chevron.
Giuseppe LaNasa, also known as Joseph M LaNasa, was born in 1878 in Cefalu, Sicily, and was part of the first generation to come to New Orleans. Upon arrival, LaNasa family initially settled in the French Quarter. Giuseppe was one of 10 children, seven sons. The seven brothers named, Matteo, Giuseppe, Sebastian, Salvatore, Anthony Vincent, Michel Horace, and John, Giuseppe LaNasa is in the middle and the one who is sporting the mustache.
Rather than staying in the French Quarter, her grandfather Dr. Joseph LaNasa Sr., and several other family members moved to Gentilly, New Orleans’s first suburb. Jennifer’s grandfather purchased a 500 x 500 piece of land where he built his medical office building, named after her grandmother Leola. (Lela Professional Building. He added several other buildings, a full service car wash and a trailer park. Jennifer managed this site till 2014 when sold.
Jennifer’s father, J.T. LaNasa Sr., then started his own Real Estate Company in 1961 that was the talk of New Orleans East. She can still remember the jingle “J.T LaNasa Reality 241-3133.” Her father’s company was very successful until the oil bust in the 80s. Jennifer went to work for J.T. in 1986, taking over the companies once J.T. passed in 1994.
As an 8th generation LaNasa and 2nd generation Real Estate Broker, She had the pleasure early on in her career to manage and sell some of the old French Quarter properties her family obtained over the years. 1019 Decatur was originally the LaNasa restaurant, while 1025 Decatur was the old LaNasa Hardware store that is now Santa’s Quarters. Today, many of her relatives have passed away, leaving several LaNasa family French Quarter properties to her cousins. The properties that are still a part of the LaNasa lineage include 1311 Bourbon St and 801 Royal St.
As you can see, Jennifer’s history is deeply rooted in New Orleans and while it is a shame that some of the original LaNasa buildings in the French Quarter could not stay in the family, the name is still there on top 1016 Decatur St.