Italian American Digest JT DIGEST Summer 2018 June First (1) - Page 3

SUMMER 2018 C I talian A merican D igest iao AICC Members! The earliest Italians to come to Louisiana arrived here as explorers in the 17th and 18th centuries, including Henri de Tonti, for whom a street is named. Between 1850 and 1870, there were more Italians in New Orleans than anywhere else in the United States; we had one of the earliest Italian con- sulates here. Then between 1880 and 1920, nearly 100,000 Italians, main ly Sicilians, came to the city and made their mark. Sicilians came to New Orleans to escape economic and political unrest. Louisiana’s similar climate to Sicily’s made it easy to acclimate to the city, but they did face adver- sity and challenges. New immigrants formed paesani-based mutual aid societies to support each other. Many of these societies are still active today: the Congregazione di San Bar- tolomeo Apostolo, Società Italiana di Mutua Beneficenza Cefalutana, and the Contessa Entellina Society. In the early 1970s, my father, Joseph Maselli, dreamed of a heritage-based organi- zation that would connect all the Italian and Sicilian Americans here in Louisiana. With the assistance of amici Dr. Nick Accardo, John Amato, Otto Candies, Sal Panzeca, Al Pappolardo, and many others, Joseph Maselli created the American Italian Cultural Center (AICC), which opened in 1984. His lofty goal of connecting Italian Americans in our area was an immediate success. In the last three decades, the AICC has grown and become not just a heritage center but a center of culture. Here at the American Italian Cultural Center, we celebrate Italian art, history, language, sports, and so much more. The AICC is a space for Italians, Loui- sianans, and visitors to experience Italy in all its glory. In the future, the city of New Orleans and the Italian community will grow and change. My hope is that the American Italian Cultural Center will continue to be a place of com- munity; to do so, we will renovate our mu- seum and create an event space to continue the AICC’s mission of celebrating the Italian American legacy past, present, and future. I’m sure the next 300 years will be even better than the last. Tanti auguri, New Or- leans! Warmly, Frank Maselli AICC Chairman PAGE 3 Tricentennial cont. from page 1 Republic of Italy in New Orleans. - Enrico Villamaino III JAZZ Jazz was born in New Orleans. Though rooted firmly in the genres of blues and ragtime, jazz is a style all its own. Did you know that an Italian had the distinction of releasing the first ever jazz album? Domenic James “Nick” LaRocca, a master of both the cornet and trum- pet, was the leader of the “Original Dixieland Jazz Band.” The Brocato family operates the namesake parlor, which opened in 1905. Along with his bandmates, leans for over one hundred years. Angelo Brocato LaRocca recorded “The Livery began his apprenticeship in one of Palermo’s most Stable Blues” in 1917, the world’s first commer- elegant ice cream parlors at 12 years old. Dur- cial jazz single! LaRocca also composed “Tiger ing this time, he learned to master Rag,” one of the most recorded jazz the production of assorted biscotti, classics of all time. torrone, frutta marturana (marzipan) Louis Prima, a son of Sicilian im- and many other confections; these migrants, made significant use of Ital- techniques and recipes are still used ian music, language and personality by his descendants today. in his work. Prima would effortlessly Angelo came to America and blend his Italian identity with jazz opened his first storefront in 1905 in and swing music. the 500 block of Ursulines Street in At a time when popular musicians the French Quarter, where it pros- were often discouraged from openly stressing their ethnicity, Prima’s showcasing of his pered in the first half of the 20th century. As Italian ethnicity opened the doors not just for other business grew, the shop was moved to a larger Italian-Americans, but performers of all ethnicities location at 615-617 Ursulines Street, which had space to more accurately recreate the elegance of to embrace and display their ethnic roots in their the Palermitano ice cream parlors in Sicily, where performances. Angelo Brocato apprenticed. Walt Disney himself recognized the talent and Following Angelo’s death in 1946, his sons, appeal of Louis Prima when he personally chose Angelo, Jr. and Joseph, continued to operate the him to lend his voice to the character of “King store. Louie” is the animated classic The Jungle Book. Over the next three decades, the population of - Enrico Villamaino III the French Quarter shifted dramatically as Bro- cato’s customer base moved away from its retail ANGELO BROCATO’S store. The widespread use of the home freezer Angelo Brocato Original Ice Cream Parlor has been operated by the Brocato family in New Or- Tricentennial cont. on page 4