- Organization Name
- American Italian Cultural Center
Frank Maselli, AICC CEO & Chairman
- Phillip Cancilleri
- American Italian Cultural Center
- read more...AMERICAN ITALIAN CULTURAL CENTER
The American Italian Cultural Center promotes the culture and heritage of the American Italian community by offering Italian language and culture classes, seminars, concerts, and events. This center will be the leading institution preserving and celebrating the American Italian history of Louisiana. The impact will be felt through increased awareness of how the American Italian community has shaped local, regional, and national history and culture. Our values include education, inspiration, high quality, collaboration, and financial integrity. We provide programming opportunities that allow the community to come together to learn about the people, places, and events of our rich history and continuing significance.
- Cefalutana Society
- Joe Battaglia
- Cefalutana Society
- read more...SOCIETÀ ITALIANA di MUTUA BENEFICENZA CEFALUTANA
Organizzata 19 Giugno 1887 – Incorporata 10 Augosto 1887
The Società Italiana Mutua Beneficenza Cefalutana is one of the oldest continuing Italian American societies in Louisiana, if not the United States. The society has never changed the old Italian version of its name, ideals or purpose. Each year for the past 124 years, on the Sunday closest to August 6 the Cefalutana Society celebrates and honors Gesù Salvatore, Patrono di Cefalù. This is the same feast that has been celebrated in Cefalu since the 12th century. When the first Italian immigrant from Cefalù settled in the New Orleans area, they decided to form an association for the mutual reliance and assistance whereby the members collectively could help any member of their society in need due to illness, funeral expenses and adjustments to their new home.
The Society owns and maintains a mausoleum located at St. Louis Cemetery #3 on Esplanade Avenue in New Orleans. Since the first burial in 1889 there are a total of 172 souls buried.
At present there are 211 male and female members. Even though based in New Orleans, La., Società ltaliana di Mutua Beneficenza Cefalutana has members in 15 different states and one foreign country. In keeping with its traditions and in honor of their ancestors, the Cefalutana society limits its membership to only those who were born in Cefalù, those who are directly decendant from Cefalù, or spouses of a member in good standing. The devotion to Gesù Salvatore, Patrono di Cefalù accounts for so many males and some female bearing that name.
- Contessa Entellina Heritage Association
- Joyce Schiro Lucas
- read more...CONTESSA ENTELLINA HERITAGE ASSOCIATION
May 20, 2012 is our twelfth anniversary as an organization. We are a member of the American Italian Federation of the Southeast. We attend conventions and honor a member at the convention who contributed the most effort.
We have Contessa people in other organizations, in our community, all over the United States, in Europe, and in other parts of the world. We reach many people through our website, http://contessaentellina.com/index.htm, the Italian American Digest, through the mail and long distance calls. Dues and contributions go to support our communications network. Photographs are taken to document activities.
We are active as a support group to the Contessa Entelllina Society. We support activities of other organizations and groups in our community. We participate in the Rosary Congress every year—the St. Lucy Society—the St. Anthony Society—the Rose Petal group of St. Therese, and other groups in New Orleans as we are very civic minded.
New Orleans has been our home since the 1800’s when the Tortorici family came and founded the Contessa Entellina Society. The Schiro family, with help from Archbishop Phillip Hannan and other interested parties, started our Byzantine Catholic Church here in New Orleans. We have a church in Staten Island, NY, and our main church in Contessa Entellina in Sicily. We were contacted by an Albanian church through our website and have added them and other contacts to our network. We support the Greek Festival.
We have Contessa people as pastors and priests. We have people in politics, medicine, law enforcement, real estate, and as teachers and business owners. It would be more difficult not to find a Contessa person involved in something. We have that Mother Teresa steak in us. We were made to do good, be productive, and achieve.
We accept those who share our DNA even if it is a little part as sometimes a little goes a long way. We accept people through association as we have a way of rubbing off on people. Our main purpose as an organization is to pass our rich history and heritage to future generations and to enjoy all that life affords us in the process.
Joyce Schiro Lucas C.E.H.A. Organization P.O. Box 791146 New Orleans, LA 70179 504-482-7364
- Contessa Entellina Society
- Gasper J. Schiro
- read more...CONTESSA ENTELLINA SOCIETY – La Società Italiana di Beneficenza Contessa Entellina
Organized September 8, 1886
New Orleans is the home of the Contessa Entellina Society, but its members come together by a circuitous route. Though it certainly has an Italian identity, its members are direct descendants of those ancient people who populated the Macedonian Empire of Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.). Though Alexander’s reign was short, it was dramatic, and he left an indelible stamp upon western civilization.
Organized on September 8, 1886, it is among the oldest Italian American societies. It is composed of the Abreche, Albanians whose ancestors settled in western Sicily 500 years ago, who managed to retain their blood lines within their society, as only the sons of male members are allowed to join. It is incredible that the Albanians who settled in Sicily were able to maintain their customs while living within a society entirely different from their own. The resulting aspect is an intense pride in their ancestral roots, culture and traditions.
The town of Contessa Entellina’s coat-of-arms retains its Albanian origin, which includes a two-headed eagle on the background of a warrior’s shield, upon which is mounted a crown. A female sphinx, two snakes in hand, is between the eagle’s heads.
When the Albanians from Contessa Entellina, Sicily, migrated to the United States during the 1880s, there were over 3,000 persons in the town. It was their second great departure — another step farther from Albania. Resourceful, with high work ethics, they prospered, but in the beginning, it meant adjusting to a new language, customs and laws. New Orleans was now their home, and they have since become an integral part of the business, professional, religious, and educational communities within the metropolitan area of New Orleans.
It has been estimated that, during the high point of immigration, about 3,000 ventured to these shores. They soon banded together in a mutual aid society, so that none of their number would be in want of food, shelter, or burial plot. On the feast day of “Shen Maria a Favars”, or “Santissima Maria della Favara”, they founded the Contessa Entellina Society. On September 8, 1886, their “Contessiotti” of New Orleans became a reality. They incorporated the Society on October 22nd of the same year.
- Cugini della Siciliana di Abbeville
- Janice Macomber
- read more...I Cugini Della Siciliana or The Cousins of Sicily was formed in 1997 after two members discovered that the majority of families of Italian descent living in Abbeville had ancestors who were from Sicily. Most of the members of the Cugini group are in fact relatives, both close and distant. The group originated with ten members and their spouses; over the years, some of the original members died and others have come to join the Cugini.
The Cugini group meets the first Wednesday of the month at the various members’ homes. The host for that particular month prepares an Italian/Sicilian entrée while other members bring appetizers, salads, bread and desserts. Of course there is also plenty of wine; each couple brings a bottle to the meeting. Guests are always welcome to attend and share the meal with this proud Sicilian group. While the early meetings focused on various projects, these activities have lessened over time. However, warm camaraderie and socialization highlight every gathering.
During the first year, at the monthly meetings, each member presented a history of their ancestry to the group. Then each March for the next several years, at the Cultural Center in Abbeville, the Cugini created displays about their families and included overall historical summaries, pictures and artifacts from their families’ work and hobbies. One annual event the Cugini continues to sponsor is the “St. Joseph Supper” each March 19th in celebration of their patron saint’s feast day in the Catholic Church. At these memorial celebrations, present day and posthumous Sicilian/Americans are honored for their contributions to the community as well as their efforts to preserve the Sicilian culture. At the supper, there are also many traditional Sicilian dishes and sometimes homemade wine to sample.
The most recent project undertaken by members of the Cugini has been the preservation of the Guarino Blacksmith Shop. Through the efforts of the City of Abbeville Main Street Program, the Guarino family and selected members of the Cugini group, this blacksmith shop was relocated and converted into a museum housing the original implements used in the blacksmith trade.
Several members of the Cugini are community leaders in the city of Abbeville as well as Vermilion Parish. These leaders include our mayor and a member of the police jury. Several of our members also participate in various civic activities such as cleanest city competition. In fact, Abbeville won the “Cleanest City” contest among cities its size for 2011. Our commitment to preserving the Sicilian culture ensures that the Cugini will continue to exist for years to come.
- East Jefferson Italian American Society
- Regina Bertolino
- East Jefferson Italian American Society
- read more...EAST JEFFERSON ITALIAN AMERICAN SOCIETY
The East Jefferson Italian American Society was formed in 1977. We are currently celebrating our 32nd year in existence. This Society was a break-off of the Italian American Society of West Jefferson. They formed the new Society on the East Bank of Jefferson Parish, and encouraged more members from the East Bank to join. Charter members were Giuseppe Armenio, John Attardi, Steve Campo, Dr. Anthony Russo, Sal Congemi, Joe Campo, Frank Campo, and Thomas Miceli.
Presently, the Society has over 100 members, including ladies, and our goal is to preserve and promote the Italian heritage. Annual contributions are made to several charitable organizations in our region. Our fund raisers consist of motor-coach trips to various casinos throughout the year. We hold several social functions during the year, participating in the Irish Italian Parade in March. Some members ride on our Parade Trailer, and others march, carrying flower canes. In April we have a crawfish party, attended by most members and their families and friends. In September, we participate in, and support the Kenner Italian Hertiage Festa, held in Rivertown, Kenner. A Christmas party social is held each year. Our Installation Banquet is held in August, where several achievement awards are presented to members.
- Elenian Club
- Barbara Chifici
- read more...ELENIAN CLUB
In 1934, the presiding president of L’Unione Italiane, Mr. Augusto P. Miceli, Attorney and Author, seeded the thought to formulate an Italo-American, American Italian Ladies Club … “Circolo Femminile”.
On February 19, 1934, the first general meeting of “Circolo Femminile” was held in the “Blue Room” of L’Unione Italiana (Italian Hall), 1020 Esplanade Avenue, New Orleans, Louisiana.
On March 13, 1934, “Circolo Femminile” officially became known as “Circolo Elena di Savoia”, named in honor of her Majesty’s Royal Imperial Highness, Queen Elena Di Savoia of the Kingdom of Italy.
Meetings and programs were planned, as well as formulating the club’s constitution and by-laws, and under its name it shall have and enjoy all the rights, privileges and advantages granted by lay to non-trading corporations. The object of the club shall be to promote cultural, educational, civic, and social activities among its members. Membership was restricted to Italian loving people of Christian faith.
After World War II, our Italo-American American Italian Organization became known as “The Elenian Club” of New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America.
Mrs. Nancy Zeto served as president from 1934 through 1937. She was chosen as the first queen of The Krewe of Elenians. Many elaborate balls were given at the Municipal Auditorium in New Orleans during the Carnival seasons that followed through the years. During the period our country was at war, the balls were canceled. A Queen’s Luncheon is held in the spring each year.
In 1974 the Elenian Carnival Ball was replaced with the Ballo di Natale, to be held in early December.
At this time ten (10) young ladies ages 16-23 are presented as debutantes. In 1999, all former debs were invited by Glenda T. Lubrano, President 1998-2000, to attend the 25th Anniversary of the first Ballo di Natale.
The Elenian Club colors are Red and Gold. The flower is the Red Rose. And the motto is “United as friends for the betterment of ourselves and our fellowmen.”
- Greater New Orleans Italian Cultural Society
- Dominick “Dom” Grieshaber, Jr.
- read more...GREATER NEW ORLEANS ITALIAN CULTURAL SOCIETY
Founded September 19, 1965
On September 19, 1965, the Greater New Orleans Italian Cultural Society (GNOICS) was born. A few men met to discuss means to raise funds for the popular Boys’ Town of Italy. This grand, altruistic gesture ultimately laid the foundation for the Society.
This group of dedicated men aligned with other leaders of the Italian American community to sponsor its first production, the motion picture “Sound of Music”, at the Saenger Orleans Theater, from which they netted $18,000. Coincidental with this noble project, hurricane Betsy whirled into the New Orleans area with horrendous winds that wrought destruction, followed by the flooding of low-Iying areas. The Right Reverend John Patrick Carroll Abbing, president of Boys’ Town, suggested that, instead of giving the money to his charity, it be used for the hurricane victims.
From such a beginning, the Italian Cultural Society was formed. The organization quickly increased is membership until it represented a cross-section of the Italian American community in the metropolitan area of New Orleans. Equally important, the Society, through its benevolence and charitable works, generated a renewed pride in all Italian Americans who learned of its activities.
GNOICS’ sponsorship of various civic enterprises has raised considerable money to help institutions here and abroad. Some of the recipients of the Society’s generosity are St. Michael’s School for Special Children, Cabrini Day Nursery (founded by St. Francesca Mother Cabrini while in New Orleans), Ozanam Inn, St. Joseph Church (Tulane Avenue ), Cancer Crusaders, Cooley’s Anemia Foundation, American Italian Renaissance Foundation, Boys’ Town of Italy, and the earthquake victims of Friuli, Italy and Gibellini, Sicily.
Its annual St. Joseph Altar, probably the largest ever in the United States, staged during the early years at
St. Joseph’s Church on Tulane Avenue, now at the American Italian Renaissance Foundation, is a great attraction.
It has drawn tremendous crowds through the years. This altar also inspired others in the Italian American community to renew this singular devotion established by their immigrant ancestors. Today, there are numerous St. Joseph Altars in metropolitan New Orleans, all because of the spirit and pride introduced in 1965 by the GNOICS.
- Gulf Coast Italian AmericanCultural Society
- David Biagini
- read more...GULF COAST ITALIAN AMERICAN CULTURAL SOCIETY
The Gulf Coast Italian American Cultural Society was established in 1973. It was founded by Michael J. Cusimano from New Orleans, Gino Scialdone from Gulfport, Michael Vizzini from Long Beach, the Gargiulo Family, and other Italian American Families residing on the MS Gulf Coast, out of concern for the earthquake victims in North Italy.
The motto “American is a good Italian name” was adopted and a variety of community activities were started.
GCIACS has evolved into a multi-generational club of individuals celebrating Italian heritage and culture throughout the MS Gulf Coast. From the Charity Bocce Tournament against the Irish to Opera Trips, our group enjoys and promotes cultural awareness and traditions. GCIACS offers Italian language classes to members, cooking classes, and monthly socials also.
Another wonderful GCIACS event is La Notte di Natale Dinner Dance. It is a Christmas tradition enjoyed for decades on the MS Gulf Coast. La Befana has also been known to pay a visit as well.
Our members represent many facets of Coast living and industries all coming together to promote and carry on the Italian traditions learned throughout generations.
- Italian American Bar Association of Louisiana
- Joseph C. Larre`
- read more...ITALIAN AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION – Louisiana Chapter
The Louisiana Chapter of the National Italian-American Bar Association is an organization which supports the National Italian-American Bar Association which was founded in 1983 as a non-profit, non-partisan corporation to advance the interests of the Italian-American legal community and to improve the administration of justice.
NIABA members include Judges, law professors, law students, as well as attorneys in both private and public sectors. The board of directors elected by the members governs the Association.
The Louisiana Chapter of the National Italian-American Bar Association has a banquet each year at which an Italian-American who has distinguished himself in the legal field is honored. The Bar Association also contributes to a scholarship fund for deserving Italian American law students.
- Italian American Bocce Club
- Salvatore Christiana
- read more...ITALIAN AMERICAN BOCCE CLUB, INC.
In 1992 the Bocce Club moved from New Orleans to its new indoor facilities at 2340 Severn Avenue, Metairie, Louisiana 70001. The Club has the only indoor bocce courts in Louisiana. The clubhouse is tastefully decorated to resemble an Italian piazza. Murals of scenes from Sicilia and Capri adorn the walls surrounding the bocce courts.
The Bocce Club’s mission is to promote the sport of bocce throughout the state of Louisiana and the United States. Its activities include but not limited to sponsoring and running bocce tournaments for the Senior Olympics as well as tournament and bocce leagues for its membership, other clubs, organizations and societies. The Club is a member of the United States Bocce Federation and its members play in sanctioned events throughout the United States. The Club runs two leagues throughout the year. Its members play on Thursday evening beginning at 7:00 pm.
The Bocce Club is always looking for prospective members who enjoy competition play, meeting wonderful people and having fun helping others learn the sport. Membership dues are very affordable. Its members gather on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. Anyone interested in playing Bocce, call Bob Aguelly at (504) 722-4631 for more information.
- Italian American Club of Lafayette
- Joseph S. Piccione
- read more...ITALIAN AMERICAN CLUB OF LAFAYETTE
Founded May 1978
In May 1978 a small group of men sharing a mutual heritage, who wanted to preserve their Italian heritage and also to foster civic pride in conjunction with citizens of other ethnic backgrounds, joined together to form the Italian American Club of Lafayette.
The club began to grow and the members decided to prepare a St. Joseph Altar as a special project, with the first Altar made in 1979. This project grew in size and it has been continued each year and in March 2009 we celebrated our 30th Annual St. Joseph Altar. This has become the number on project of our club and we are thankful that we have been able to continue this beautiful tradition brought to the United States by our forefathers. Each year a special donation box is placed at the Altar, and the monies collected are presented to the Lafayette Association for Retarded Citizens to assist this organization in specialized services they provided.
Over the last few years our club has lost some of its members due to illness and death. We will always be grateful ad thankful to these men and women who gave their untiring time and support for the benefit of this club and its members.
This club continues with our original goal as we strive to continue to promote and preserve our Italian heritage.
- Italian American Heritage Society of Birmingham Alabama
- Al Lamoureux
- Italian American Heritage Society of Birmingham Alabama
- read more...ITALIAN AMERICAN HERITAGE SOCIETY OF BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA
The IAHS was founded on May 10, 2009 by a gathering of Italians who wanted to preserve their Italian culture and share it with others in the community. Membership of the IAHS is comprised of those of Italian descent and their spouses who share in the common interest of their Italian Heritage. A Board of Directors coordinates business and activities for the organization in order to ensure that its mission “to encourage, promote and preserve Italian Culture and Heritage” remains the focal point for the organization.
In keeping to its mission, the IAHS is involved in many fraternal, social, educational, civic and charitable activities. It celebrates the feast of St. Joseph with the traditional St. Joseph Altar, sponsors a Columbus Day Celebration, and takes part in many Fund Raising events. The IAHS grants charitable contributions from the proceeds made from its various activities to non-profit organizations and individuals serving those in need. The IAHS also hosts numerous dances and parties such as a masquerade Halloween party, Vizzini Wine Tasting, New Year’s Eve Dance, and a Christmas Party. The Society also promotes an annual Scholarship Essay Contest for college students entitled “What My Italian Heritage Means To Me”.
The Italian Community of Birmingham has a strong connection with Vulcan Park and Museum. The celebrated statue of Vulcan was designed by Italian sculptor Giuseppe Moretti. It was first showcased at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis before being brought back to Birmingham, Alabama, where it originally had been cast. In 1939, an assemblage of Italian stonemasons built a 124-foot pedestal atop Birmingham’s Red Mountain so that Moretti’s 56-foot statue could be put on display for the entire city to behold.
The IAHS was very fortunate to have been selected by Vulcan Park and Museum to pay tribute to the Italians who immigrated from their homeland to the Birmingham area seeking a better life. “La Storia” tells their story. “La Storia” opened at the museum in Sept. 2014 and will continue through Sept. 2015. To learn more about “La Storia” visit our website at www.iahsbham.com.
The Italian American Heritage Society of Birmingham invites all members of the American Italian Federation of the Southeast to visit our website at www.iahsbham.com to learn more about our organization. Members of AIFEDSE and their family and friends are invited to participate in various activities sponsored by IAHS.
- Italian American Marching Club
- Ed Catoire
- Italian American Marching Club
- read more...ITALIAN AMERICAN MARCHING CLUB
Founded June 1970
One of the most dynamic and exciting organizations in metropolitan New Orleans, irrespective of ethnic identity, is the Italian American Marching Club. It has a huge membership drawn from within and beyond the environs of New Orleans. It is governed by elected officers and twenty board members who rotate among the membership.
The club grew from June of 1970. In 1971, they had their first parade which has now become an annual feature. Floats depicting aspects of Italians, their history and religion appear in their parade. The feature float is a miniature St. Joseph Altar and always bears a huge oil portrait of St. Joseph painted by the noted artist, Faye Palao.
Various personalities of local, national, and international prominence are honored in the parade each year. The honoree’s image appears on doubloons which are thrown as favors to the crowds as the parade meanders through the French Quarter of New Orleans. Past honorees have included Rocky Marciano, Vince Lombardi, Enrico Caruso, Pete “Herman” Gulotta, Jimmy Durante, and Nick LaRocca.
One of the club’s major projects in 1997 was the erection of a “Monument to the Immigrant” at Woldenberg Park on the riverfront of the New Orleans’ French Quarter. This massive statue was produced by the internationally famous artist, Franco Alessandrini.
- Italian American Society of Jefferson
- Travis Beam
- read more...ITALIAN AMERICAN SOCIETY OF JEFFERSON – Founded in June, 1974
The Italian American Society of Jefferson draws its membership from an area that is fast growing in size to rival the amount of population in the adjoining Parish of Orleans. It is a progressive group which has earned the admiration and respect of all the divergent ethic groups within Jefferson Parish’s large citizenry.
The Society was initially organized for charitable purposes, but it has also drawn Italian Americans together in friendship and brotherhood. As a result, a renewed pride of ancestry and the ancient history of their ancestors’ motherland have emerged. There are over 250 male members in the Society, and with its Women’s Auxiliary, it represents a broad spectrum of their unique culture in Jefferson Parish.
Among their many activities are annual picnics, St. Joseph Altar, bocce tournaments, annual golf tournaments for Hope Haven Boys Home, an annual Christmas party for Hope Haven, and a Christmas dinner and dance. With years of fund-raising the club was able to build their club house in 1996 holding no mortgage.
The Society is noted for its charitable work, sponsoring many festivities and social attractions to raise money for deserving institutions in the surrounding parish and abroad. The Society, under the leadership of the late Joseph (Zip) Chimento and Joseph N. Distefano and members of the Society, preserved and renovated a one hundred year old Italian tomb with over one hundred Italians buried within, who were members of the Società Italiana M.B. Victorio Emanuele Terzo, Harvey, La. This tomb was in deplorable condition and was a disgrace to the public and to the Italian Heritage. It took seven years of struggling, and donations from individuals and businessmen in the community, to get this project completed. Today this tomb is one of the most recognized tombs in the Hook and Ladder cemetery in Gretna, La. This landmark will always be a place on the West bank of New Orleans that will be remembered for many centuries.
- Italian American Society of Jefferson Auxilliary
- Antoinette Hausser
- read more...ITALIAN AMERICAN SOCIETY OF JEFFERSON AUXILIARY
Our Society was started in 1976, founded by Dolores Zaccaria. It is composed primarily of over 100 members. Membership is open to a female person of Italian lineage, wives of persons of Italian lineage, and females adopted by persons of Italian lineage interested in promoting the purpose of this Auxiliary. Minimum, age 18 and “Italian Lineage shall be defined as any traceable degree of Italian blood”. The purpose of this Auxiliary was established to create greater participation in cultural, intellectual, physical, philanthropy and social activities among the members.
Meetings are held on the second Wednesday of each month at the Italian-American Hall, 1910 Momoe St., Gretna, Louisiana.
Our club published an Italian Cookbook in 1979. It is now named “The New Orleans Italian Cook Book”. The members at that time put their favorite Italian recipes in the book. It will give future generations an insight into culinary delights of their Italian ancestors. We have fund raisers; our main fund raiser is making Italian Cookies and selling them. We contribute to local charities each month.
A year book is published each year, which consists of a calendar, our prayer “Saint Francis of Assisi”, programs, meeting dates, a list of officers, committees, and past presidents. The names, addresses and phone numbers of our members are also included, as well as our by-laws. We have guest speakers on cultural and other information which benefit our members.
- Progressive Men’s Club of Monroe
- Tommy Marsala, Jr.
- read more...PROGRESSIVE MEN’S CLUB OF MONROE
The Monroe Progressive Men’s Club is a dynamic organization with eighty-five percent of its membership composed of men between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five. Pride of ancestry, civic responsibility, hard work and American patriotism are the hallmarks of the Club.
Located in the northeastern part of the State of Louisiana, the members are from Monroe and its environs.
Close relations with similar organizations, such as the Shreveport Progressive Men’s Club to the west, and the Bona Fidem Fraternity in Opelousas to the south, have generated intense interest in Italian culture among other ethnic groups in north Louisiana.
Several members met with the idea of organizing a club which would not only be civic-minded, but would also foster the preservation of their Italian heritage.
The first convention, held in Shreveport, attracted Italian Americans from all sections of the state. It not only fused unity, but also created a compelling desire to continue cooperation among the groups.
The Club also has an active Auxiliary, and, together, they have sponsored many charitable drives beneficial to the Monroe community. They continue to exhibit rare dedication and service as Italian Americans located in an area where their ethnic group is relatively small in numbers. Their strength, therefore, does not rely on numbers, but upon a membership that has contributed immeasurable to the Monroe community.
- Sons of Italy Heritage Club of Shreveport
- Anthony Gugliuzza
- read more...SONS OF ITALY HERITAGE CLUB OF SHREVEPORT – BOSSIER
The Sons of Italy Heritage Club was founded in 1982. Many of the founding members were sons of members of the venerable Shreveport Progressive Men’s Club, and practically grew up at the sprawling SPMC clubhouse on Cross Lake. These younger members were active in the local business community, and are still known for their Festa Italiana, an annual street fair from 1982 through 1990. Among the earlier presidents who are now deceased were Albert Cascio, Jr., Vic Campisi, Charles Lombardino, and John Bonanno. Other presidents holding office during the SOl’s years as a men’s club included Sam Marsala, Carl Liberto, Pat Cordaro, Louis Cordaro, and Roy Cordaro.
During Leonard Gresen’s six years as President, the Club became a 501 © (3) service organization. Women became members, and quickly became active on the Board of Directors. For several years the Club sponsored a booth at the Red River Revel Festival, selling the famous Fertitta’s “Muffy” sandwich. The Club supported the American Cancer Society, provided bicycle helmets for disadvantaged children through the “Think First” organization, and contributed to local St. Joseph altars. Following Hurricane Katrina, the Club hosted a screening of “Prisoners Among Us: Italian American Identity and World War II” that had been originally scheduled for New Orleans. The Shreveport event featured Michael Di Lauro, who produced the documentary film on non-naturalized Italian immigrants and their families who’ were interned in camps in the U.S. during World War II. Sal Serio of New Orleans spoke on the Cefalutana Society, as many Shreveport-Bossier Italian-Americans have roots in Cefalu’. Sr. Sharon Rambin spoke on the Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows who came from Italy and founded residential facilities for the mentally disabled in Louisiana.
Johnnie D’Este Estess became president in 2008. Bocce and bingo returned as Club activities. Raffles have provided funds for charitable giving. In 2008 the Club was a major sponsor of the Italian Film Festival at the new Robinson Film Center. Club members hosted a panel discussion following the film “The Golden Door”. The forum was entitled “From Sicily to Shreveport – Our own Immigrant Story”. Linda Serio moderated the event, and special guest Josephine Lombardino recounted her story as our last surviving resident to have “come over on the boat” and endured Ellis Island.
In April, 2009 the Club raised $6,300 in two weeks for the victims of the earthquake in Abruzzo, and received a commendation from the Italian Consulate in Houston for this effort. Sr. Sharon Rambin of the Sisters of Charity – the Club’s Spiritual Advisor – has enlisted Club members as regular volunteers at biker rallies supporting the Cara House for abused and neglected children. The Club co-sponsors bocce events with S t. Jude Catholic Church, and recently sold cannoli at the “Runs With the Nuns” biker rally.
The 125-member Club seeks to preserve and promote its Italian heritage, encourages a fraternal atmosphere with monthly meetings and social activities, and works together to help those less fortunate.
- St. Lucy Society
- Mae Galioto Webb
- read more...ST. LUCY SOCIETY
Founded December 13, 1927
The St. Lucy Society of New Orleans was founded December 13, 1927. At first, it was known as La Società di Santa Lucia di New Orleans, and is a continuity of devotion to a martyred saint of Siracusa, Sicily. The Society is composed primarily of ladies who are noted for their religious fervor and altruistic community spirit.
The Society was initially a neighborhood group with St. John the Baptist Church on Dryades Street as its center. Today it has over 300 members within and beyond the metropolitan areas of New Orleans.
Dedicated to increasing devotion to St. Lucy, its members are engaged in social and charitable activities. Visiting the sick and elderly with homemade gifts is but one of their corporal works of mercy. Cash sums generated through dues and social functions have been given to the Eye Foundation of New Orleans, earthquake victims of Italy and Guatemala, and to St. John the Baptist Church.
Many other agencies that succor the poor and unfortunates have been recipients of their generosity. Individually and collectively, they have performed outstanding acts of charity which are now New Orleans legends. Their compassion and service to humanity have become the “hallmark’ of the St. Lucy Society.
One of the traditions of the St. Lucy Feast Day is that one does not eat bread, but “cucci”, which is whole wheat. It is soaked like beans, and then cooked in water. It is a custom from the “Old Country” practiced by the members from the earliest days of the Society.
Honored many times by civic and religious leaders of metropolitan New Orleans, the St. Lucy Society is one of the most devoted and active among Italian Americans. Through its great works, it has drawn many members who are not of Italian American extraction to its fold. The Society is one of the “jewels” of the Italian American Federation.
please join an Italian American organization.