Our Living Legend describes growing up and running a corner store that is quickly approaching its 80th anniversary of operation in Donaldsonville, LA. One of a few that have survived the heyday of corner grocery stores.
Count Time Podcast Living Legend Michel Bellina
Selected quotes and notes from Count Time Podcast with LD Azobra Interview with Michel Bellina
Good evening. Good evening. Good evening it’s 4:00 PM. Stand up it’s count time, time for every man and woman to stand up and be counted. Welcome to another edition of Count Time podcast. I am brother LD Azobra. Thank you for joining us today.
Now we got a special guest here today. We done look high low, we done traveled the country, even traveled the world to come right here to Donaldsonville, Louisiana and find the one and only here. We at Bellina’s Groceries. We got here Mr. Michel Bellina. Welcome to Count Time.
Good to be here.
We had traveled all over the world to get here. We’ve been a lot of places. Now this store here has been here for a long time. Quite a few just told me you need to go talk to Mr. Bellina you need to go talk to I have been here quite a few times to get those great ham bones and the good ham that you always delivered every day over here. Just so happened I came by and I got me some ham bones myself. So just get ready for them ham bones, putting them white beans and mustard greens.
I’d like to welcome you to Count time and you got so much history, your family got roots and foundation in Donaldsonville, Louisiana. Tell us about Michelle Bellini and the Bellini’s grocery. How long you all been here?
Well, we’ve been on this side of the street since 1955 but we’re on the other side of the street where the washerteria is since 1944 bought the store 1944 and they stayed there eleven years and they moved on this side in 1955 where we are now. There’s a little wooden frame grocery store and a house on the side just like we have here all in one and all wood, wood frame building and we bought it from Mr. Joe Fontana back in I wasn’t even born yet. And so they stayed over there eleven years on that side of the street and moved on this side 1955 and that’s where we are today.
Now your mother, father, now you all are Italians. So now how did your family end up in the Donaldsonville area?
Well, my dad worked for Shell Oil, I believe back in the day he worked for Shell Oil and they decided to they are from Donaldsonville but they bought the store from the Fontanas they were looking. They wanted to sell the store and my mother decided, well we’re going to try to make a run out of it at the grocery store so we’re going to go ahead and give it a try. And so they bought the store, took over from there and did like I say, eleven years and decided it was getting too small on that end over there we had four boys and so we said, look, we outgrowing this house over here, so come on this side. So you got to move across the street.
We had a big brick building, brick house and store and like I said, the store and the house is all in one. Everything was everything was all together. You walk out of the house and you’re in the store.