Tricentennial cont . from page 5
The Italians who settled in Louisiana in the 1800s developed importexport trade routes between Palermo , Sicily and New Orleans bringing citrus fruits , figs , and olives to the Crescent City .
Following Italian unification , many Sicilians from small towns around Palermo immigrated to New Orleans on the same shipping routes that the early Italians had established .
They found jobs on sugar plantations , strawberry farms , and the
So many Sicilians settled in the French Quarter that it was often called Piccolo Palermo .
Between 1880 and 1920 , nearly 100,000 Sicilians immigrated to Louisiana .
Today many Louisianans joke they aren ’ t Italian , but Sicilian ! Did you know that you can reconnect with your ancestors by obtaining Italian dual citizenship ?
Call Alessandro at the AICC ( 504- 522-7294 ) to learn more .
- Megan Celona
ST . JOSEPH ’ S DAY
Saint Joseph ’ s Day is held annually on March 19 . It is a day of remembrance and celebration here in Louisiana .
Many centuries ago in Sicily , there was a terrible famine and the Sicilians prayed to Saint Joseph for help . The fava bean was one of the first crops to grow and helped sustain the people .
To show their thanks , the Sicilians created an altar in the piazza for Saint Joseph . When Sicilians came to New Orleans , they brought this tradition with them and today , many churches , families , businesses , and schools create their own Saint Joseph altars .
As a visitor to the altar , one receives a few cookies , a prayer card , and a lucky fava bean .
- Megan Celona
Mardi Gras has its roots in Italy ’ s Carnevale which was first celebrated in Venice in 1094 and has been officially sanctioned by the city since 1296 !
Carnevale spread from Medieval
Italy to the French House of the Bourbons and eventually France ’ s colonies including Louisiana . Bienville established Mardi Gras in New Orleans in 1718 .
The holiday was celebrated with elaborate balls ; the parades didn ’ t begin until the 1830s ; throws weren ’ t created until 1870 ; and it wasn ’ t until 1875 that Mardi Gras became a legal holiday .
When Sicilians arrived in Louisiana they were not allowed to join the secretive , exclusive Mardi Gras Krewes .
In 1935 , Dr . Emile A . Bertucci founded the Krewe of the Virgilians , a predominantly Italian American krewe . The annual balls were extremely elaborate and involved many scenery changes . Each year , Dr . Bertucci went to New York to find costume jewelry to give as a favor .
The krewe held their final ball in 1964 .
While there is no longer a singular Italian krewe , Italians are now involved in krewes throughout the city .
A recent , Italian edition to Mardi Gras is the throw cup !
Corrado Giacona II created the