It’s hard to imagine New Orleans without the meaty muffuletta sandwiches and exuberant St. Joseph Day parades. Boasting one of the oldest Italian communities in the United States, second only to New York, this hour-long documentary explores the rich Italian heritage in the Crescent City.
From the community’s early beginnings in the 18th century to the present, the Italian American influence can be seen in the commerce, politics, religion, music and food of New Orleans. Armed with their old world cultural values, work ethic, frugality, faith, family devotion and sheer joy of life, the early Italian settlers in the area accomplished considerable social and economic gains in a short period of time.
Ancient Sicilian practices, like the observance of St. Joseph Day on March 19, have been adapted as one of the city’s traditions. And Italian food has most certainly added a distinct flavor to the Crescent City’s diverse palate. Music historian Jack Stewart and food writer John DeMers discuss the Italian influence on the local sounds and flavors. Joseph Maselli, founder of the American Italian Museum and local developer Joseph Canizaro, among others, talk about the contributions of Italian Americans to the Big Easy. Radio personality Bob Del Giorno narrates.
Filled with rare historic footage and photographs, ITALIAN NEW ORLEANS documents the history of the Italians who came to New Orleans as laborers, cobblers and fruit vendors. They have added yet another unique multi-cultural stratum to the ethnic riches of the Crescent City.