Dinnat’s Bakery was a household name in Alexandria, LA for almost a century. Marceillin Dinnat was born in Mancioux, France on October 20, 1873. He immigrated from Cherbourg, France to New Orleans, LA on the vessel August Victoria on October 1, 1895. He married his wife, Josephine Lacaze, in New Orleans on October 27, 1903. They had two children: Robert, born August 1, 1904, and Dennis, born October 9, 1905. Dinnat was listed on his immigration records as a baker, through his time in both France and America.
Marceillin opened Star Bakery in 1917, later known as Dinnat’s Bakery, when Robert was 13 years old and Dennis was 12 years old. Dinnat’s was know for being a steam bakery, which used an indirect fire method to keep the crust of the bread thin. This method used the flame outside of the oven as an indirect heating source, using a boiler to heat water and allowing the steam to heat the inside of the oven. This allowed for a more sanitary method of baking when coal was often used to heat the ovens – a method Marceillin was proud to offer. Marceillin began operations out of a wagon, but later opened a store on Monroe Ave. Dennis and Robert inherited the family business and continued their father’s legacy.
Dennis later sold his share of the business to his brother Robert, and went on to open D & M Sporting Goods on Bolton Avenue. Robert moved the location to Elliott Street, and hired Sam Villard as his baker. Sam went on to purchase the bakery after Robert’s death, keeping the family name of the bakery. In the early 1960s, the Elliott store location experienced a fire and burned down. Sam moved to a new location on Texas Avenue and renamed it Tasty Bakery, where Mark Atwood and his wife purchased it in 1980. They moved the location to Macarthur Drive in 2004, where Atwood’s Bakery is still in operation today.
Dennis became an active member of the local community. He moved into 94 Florence Ave in Alexandria after 1932. He saw the birth of his two children while living in that home. He lived in the home for two decades until eventually listing with his realtor, Maxie Bohrer, who he partnered with in business. Dennis opened D & M Sporting Goods at 509 Bolton Avenue with Maxie in 1946. D & M Sporting Goods sold hardware and sporting equipment, with Dale Givens as the manager at opening. They eventually moved to 608 Bolton Avenue before 1954. Tommy Erwin purchased the store from Dennis in 1960 and changed the name to Tommy Erwin’s Sporting Goods Inc, but Dennis continued to own the building. It is now the Buy & Save Beauty Supply. Dennis Dinnat passed away in September 1975.
The Dinnat family proved a crucial part of Alexandria’s history. Generations of families fondly remember going to the bakery after church, buying the penny loafs, and enjoying their doughnuts. The bakery developed into another family-owned business that is still operating in the community today. Dennis’s hardware and sporting goods store provided home appliances, recreational equipment, and athletic supplies that helped maintain Alexandria families. The 94 Florence home allowed a first generation immigrant to carry on his family’s legacy, create his own business, and saw the beginning of his own family. This home is the perfect example of how integral the history of the homes in Alexandria impact the daily lives of citizens today.
1900- Arrived in New York from Mancioux, France
1910- Marceillen lived in Natchitoches (1910 Census)
1918 – Operators of Star Bakery in Alexandria (City Directory)
1920- Marcellin, Josephine, Robert, Dennis, and Mary liveat 902 Monroe Street
1932- Room for rent (Town Talk)
1934 – Dennis and Louise Dinnat listed at 94 18th (Florence Avenue). Marcellin and Josephine Dinnat at 2329 Hill Street
Jan 24, 1934- Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Dinnat (Louise Harang) announce birth of daughter, Marcelle Ann Dinnat, at this address
Feb 8, 1938- Mr. and Mrs. Dinnat announce birth of son, Dennis M. Dinnat, Jr., at this address
1940 – Dennis & Louise H. Dinnat, Virginia, Marcelle, Dennis Jr. live at 94 Florence Avenue. (Census)
1940-45 Dennis Dinnat registered for WWII draft at this address
1944 – Marcellin Dinnat age 70 passed away at his home 2329 Hill Street
1945 – Dennis and Louise listed at this residence. (City Directory)
1942- Dennis Dinnat listed here. Was in paper for an auto accident. (Town Talk)
1952 – House is for sale priced at $12,000. Described as a 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath home
1975- Dennis Dinnat passed away.
Special shout out to Mark Atwood and Janice Holland Dinnat for contributing to the research behind this post!