Italian American
From Saturday Night Live - to New Orleans…
Joe Piscopo’s Coming to Town!
VOL. 36, NO. 2
Circulation 20,000
The Italian American Voice of the South
In This Issue
Page 3
Unico Mille Grazie Award
Page 4
Remembering the Italian
Village – 25 years later
Page 5
National News
Page 7
Italians down Under
Page 8
Books & More books
Page 9
American Italian Museum
Library News
Page 10
Napoleon Restaurant
July 18th, 2009
at 7:00 PM & 10:00 PM
in Harrahs Theatre
Sinatra called him the “Vice Chairman of the Board” because no one does Frank like Joe!
Page 11
Who’s Who
Page 12 & 13
American Italian
Community News
Page 14
Ritorno A Paradiso Ustica
Joe Piscopo-No Ordinary Joe
By Carrie DeVries
Joe Piscopo is a no ordinary
Joe. The comedian, actor, singer
and entertainer has made a living
making America laugh.
Piscopo gained notoriety as an
impressionist on NBC’s “Saturday
Night Live” in the 1980s, catapulting
Piscopo to starring roles in Wise
Guys and Johnny Dangerously.
Onstage, the New Jersey native
stays true to his offstage personality,
overflowing with energy and New
Jersey pride, and paying tribute
to the ghosts of Vegas past. His
75-minute show includes a mix of
music, comedy, impressions and
candid audience interaction.
Although his show covers a lot
of territory, Piscopo saves plenty of
room to pay tribute to his idol, Frank
Sinatra. Backed by a six-piece band,
he serenades audiences across the
country with Sinatra hits including
“Fly Me to the Moon,” “I’ve Got You
Under My Skin,” “Night and Day”
and “At Long Last Love.”
When he’s not working, Piscopo
devotes his time to his four children
and the Positive Impact Foundation,
a non-profit he founded more than
a decade ago to support at-risk
youth in New Jersey.
Joe Piscopo performs at Harrah’s
Theatre in New Orleans Saturday,
July 18, with shows at 7 p.m. and
10 p.m. Tickets are $40 – $50 and
are on sale now, available through
Ticketmaster or by calling 1-800745-3000. You must be at least
21 to enter the casino and attend
shows at Harrah’s Theatre. More
information about entertainment at
Harrah’s New Orleans is available
at www.harrahsneworleans.com.
Letter to the Editor…
We thoroughly enjoy reading your
Italian American Digest. You are doing
a great job! We were happy to hear Joe
Maselli had an invitation to the White
House – wonderful!
Aldo & Pam DeRose, San Francisco
I am most interested in your magazine.
My great grandfather was Inos Enna
from LeVona, Italy. My great great
grandmother was Theresa D’Angelo
from Enna, Sicily. I am very interested
in any information about Enna, Sicily.
Anthony Enna, New Orleans, LA
Thank you so much for your gracious
hospitality when Rosemary and I were
in New Orleans. I will treasure the
book and the proclamation. I loved
visiting the museum. I felt so proud to
be 100% Italian! It was such a pleasure
to meet you.
Rachelle Salerno, Albany, NY
Thank you for running our son, Louis
Colletta in the Who’s Who section of
you fine publication. He was delighted
with the article. We enjoy the Italian
American Digest and look forward to
receiving it.
Tom L. Colletta, Sr., Lafayette, LA
The Abruzzo Earthquake Relief Funds
As everyone is aware by now,
there was a devastating earthquake
in Italy which has killed more than
293 people and destroyed Abruzzo’s
capitol L’Aquila and surrounding
towns leaving thousands temporarily
or permanently homeless. Prime
Minister Silvio Berlusconi established
camps with canvas tents to provide
shelter that will accommodate
the 36,000 survivors with mobile
kitchens. However, with rain pouring
down almost daily the inhabitants
have become extremely fatigued
and according to several news items
it may be many months before any
of the survivors can return home.
Mr. Berlusconi’s coalition has
promised that the devastated towns
and villages of the Abruzzo region
will be reconstructed across the
mountains 60 miles to the west by
the end of the summer. L’Aquila
and the ruined villages surrounding
it crouch in a high valley flanked
The Italian American Voice of the South
Joseph Maselli – Editor and Founder – 1973
Managing Editor
Bette Cadwell
Business Address:
Box 2392
New Orleans, LA 70176 USA
Food Editor
Laura Guccione
Telephone: (504) 522-7294
FAX: (504) 522-1657
Graphics Editor
Carolyn Cuccia Stearns
Website: http://www.airf.org
Maria Falco, P.H.D.
Travel Editor
Andrew J. Montalbano
Larry Conkerton
Staff Photographer
Dominick Grieshaber, Jr.
Mae G. Webb
Contributing Writers
Bette Cadwell, Susan Jayne,
Darryl Cortello, Andrew
Montalbano, Joseph Maselli,
Linda Serio, Laura Guccione
and Salvadore Serio
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The Next Deadline for
August 15, 2009.
by mountains that are blanketed
in thick snow now with the Italian
summer just around the corner. It
gets very cold at night in the tents
and there are aftershocks every day.
Most of the survivors have little faith
in the government after the last big
earthquake in 1980, since some of
those survivors are still living in
temporary accommodation.
One of the hardest hit of the 50
towns and villages affected by the
quake was the village of Paganica,
where members of the local Pieri
and Lovenitti families still live
There are many groups and
clubs around the country raising
funds to help with the relief and
reconstruction of the Abruzzo
region. I would like to encourage
everyone to contribute to one of
them. Listed here are a few Nonprofit-tax deductible organizations
you may wish to contact or mail
your contribution to:
Sons of Italy Historical Club
4418 OldBrownlee Road
Bossier City, LA 71111
Funds to Banca di Roma in
NIAF/Abruzzo Relief Fund
1860 19th Street NW
Washington, DC 20009
Telephone 202/387-0600
UNICO Nat’l Foundation
271 U.S. Highway 46 East
Suite A-108 Fairfield, NJ 07004
Earmark- Disaster Relief Fund
Telephone: 973/808-0035
American Italian Red Cross
International Response Fund
P.O. Box 37243
Washington, DC 20013
American Italian Federation S/E
1220 St. John Street
Lafayette, LA70506
Telephone 337/886-0679
Funds to the community that will
do the most good for the victims.
Corrections & Omissions
In the March, 2009 issue of the
Italian American Digest we omitted
the name of Maria Falco, Ph.D.,
author of the article The Languages
of Sicily. We regret the error.
A Storm Named Divorce
A great change in my life,
As if I were being bashed,
Somehow has taken place,
The pressure and the humidity,
With all these new adjustments,
Were rising to a peak,
Now that I must face,
O God, my life is shattered
Like a hurricane it swept
So dismal and so bleak,
Away all of my dreams,
As it moved slower
Away in small moments
And took a different path,
Like a flash it seems,
I was in a whirlwind,
First came the hurt,
Standing in a flood of wrath,
Like a giant wave with foam
Looking around at bits and pieces
Pain devastating winds
That were all shattered,
Blew throughout my bones,
Mending them back in place
It whirled and it swirled
I felt very battered,
My emotions were all over,
The farther it moved away from me,
Rain lashed everywhere
I started feeling more secure,
And the thunder even colder,
How much can a person take,
Tears covered my face
How much can one endure?
Expressing all my fears,
As the sun slowly started
In the eye of the storm
To pass throughout the clouds,
Pondering over my lost years,
I tried putting myself back together,
While all was very quiet,
Lifting my head, that was bowed,
The reality of being alone,
The breeze that blows now
Could this really be happening
It’s really not so bad,
To everyone in my home?
The pain, hurt and guilt have
Trying to balance myself
Get my feet back on the ground,
So why am I so sad?
I turned slowly looking up
Whatever happens to the love
As if I were coming unwound,
That two people share?
Saw the other side of the storm,
I guess one day, we all will know,
With a fury as it passed
It must vanish into thin air!
All the anger inside of me,
By Cathy Clesi Gaudet
By Linda Serio
The Sons of Italy Heritage Club
of Shreveport-Bossier lived up to its
name after the April 6 earthquake
struck the Abruzzo region of Italy.
With almost 300 dead and 40,000
left homeless in the mother country,
the club wanted to do its part to
help. With a membership of only
about 125, our little club responded
with a great big heart.
We contacted Consul General
Cristiano Maggipinto in Houston on
April 8, and he sent a plea for funds
as well as warm thanks for the
compassion of the Italian-American
community. He supplied us with
the bank routing information to
the relief fund set up at the Banca
di Roma in Abruzzo. We decided
to reach out to as many people as
possible as quickly as possible and
send money to help those living
in tent cities in this mountainous
region, still enduring the winter
From L-R: Sons of Italy Heritage Club
President Johnnie Estess, Marketing
Director Linda Serio, and Vice President
Mickey Fertitta at Capital Bank after
wiring $6,300 to the earthquake relief
fund in the Abruzzo region of Italy. The
club raised the funds in less than two
weeks to get aid to the victims.
The Board determined that $500
could be allotted from our modest
treasury to earthquake relief. We are
a 501 © (3) service organization, and
give regularly to local charities.
We contacted Club members and
asked them to donate generously at
our April 14 meeting, hoping to
raise an additional $500. Meanwhile,
through additional emails and word
of mouth our message continued
to spread. We were interviewed by
the Shreveport Times, who posted
our plea with the club mailing
address in the newspaper. Members
donated an overwhelming $1,120 at
the April meeting. Board members
continued collecting money all over
town. Mail-in donations literally
came from all over the country.
When President Johnnie Estess,
Vice-President Mickey Fertitta, and
Marketing Director Linda Serio made
the wire transfer at Capital Bank
on April 22, they felt proud to be
Italian-Americans helping Italians in
need. The bank cooperated in the
effort and waived the wire transfer
fee. With 100% of monies collected
sent directly to Italy, the Sons of
Italy Heritage Club raised a total of
$6,300 for earthquake relief.
Consul General Maggipinto
wrote:”I wish to thank ….members
of the Club and all the contributors
for their great generosity and
sensitivity in this sad occasion. Your
solidarity is deeply appreciated.” First row: (l-r) Michael Mann, Jan M. Mann, Antoinette Maselli and Joseph Maselli,
This type of solidarity with Italy, Sr. Back row: from left: Jim Mann, Paul Alongi, UNICO National President Kathi
that transcends a vacation to Rome Strozza, Dr. Manny Alfano & Pat Alfano.
and Florence or a preference for
Maselli Receives Mille Grazie Award
Italian food and wine, would surely
Sr. was honored community.
make our ancestors proud.
UNICO National President Kathi
by UNICO National with their
Jerry Colangelo Receives annual Mille Grazie Award at Strozza stated, “UNICO National
the New Orleans Hilton Hotel in and the ABC are extremely proud
Honorary Doctorate
This prestigious award, to award the ‘Mille Grazie Award’
Jerry Colangelo, who brought literally “a thousand thanks”, is to Joseph Maselli for his years
the Phoenix Suns, the Arizona given in appreciation to individuals, of courageous support in fighting
Diamondbacks, and the Phoenix institutions or companies that have negative stereotyping of Italian
Mercury to Arizona, received an been instrumental in helping to Americans and his dedication to
Honorary Doctorate in Humane foster a positive image of Italian foster a positive image for the
positive Italian American community.”
Letters at Arizona State University for Americans
UNICO National is the largest
programs as well as confronting the
his outstanding support during their
negative and have shown themselves Italian American service organization
May 9 commencement ceremony
to be friends of the Italian American in the United States.
His sporting achievements have
contributed to transform downtown
NIAF Establishes Abruzzo Earthquake Relief Fund
Phoenix into an active and thriving
In the wake of the worst national Americans across the country
district. The American West Arena,
Ball One Ballpark, and Colangelo’s disaster to hit Italy in decades, wanting to become involved with
latest pet project, the Dodge NIAF (National Italian American the cause. In just one of the many
Theater, have all been credited with Foundation) has established a special generous donations received by the
relief fund to help the victims and fund, professional basketball player
revitalizing the downtown area.
Colangelo, the Phoenix Suns communities affected by the recent Brandon Jennings gave a personal
Charities, the Diamondbacks and earthquake in Abruzzo.
contribution of $50,000. Though
The U.S. Geological Survey not of Italian descent, Jennings is a
the Phoenix Mercury have made
generous contributions to Arizona’s reported the earthquake, which California native currently residing
three state universities. Colangelo ravaged the mountain town in Rome with his family to further
and wife, Joan, served on the of L’Aquila and its surrounding pursue his professional sports
Executive Committee of the ASU communities, to have a magnitude
career. No stranger to the shock
Campaign for Leadership, which of 6.3. The quake resulted in the
of an earthquake, Jennings wanted
raised $560 Million. Among the
to help the country that welcomed
many ASU programs that he and and left thousands injured and
the team charities have supported homeless. Churches, schools, and him with open arms during this
include ASU Athletics, Colleges of public buildings have also been time of tragedy.
Individuals, corporations and
Business, Public Programs, Fine completely destroyed, and the
who wish to donate
Arts and College of Nursing, as well
that it will take several billion to the NIAF/Abruzzo Relief Fund
as the Barrett Honors College.
The University of Arizona dollars to restore the total damage can make their donations online at
www.naif.org/relief. One hundred
honored Colangelo in February done by the earthquake.
NIAF is committed to helping percent of all proceeds go directly
for his support of the UA’s Steele
Memorial Children’s Research Center this area rebuild, and has been to the earthquake’s victims, and all
flooded by inquiries from Italian donations are tax-deductible
and other programs at UA.
Remembering the
Italian Village
At the 1984 Louisiana World
Exposition, a favorite place was the
Italian Village, which still brings many
fond memories 25 years later. It
was a wonderful replica of an Italian
plaza with continuous entertainment
from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. There
were Tarantella Dancers, the worldfamous Flagmen of Sansepolcro, Italy,
Sebastiano the Clown, Marionettes,
among others entertaining daily.
One could watch or join in the
daily European style parades, which
featured the U.S. Marine Color
Guard. Evening entertainers included
such celebrities as Julius LaRosa,
Aldo Cella (TV commercial star),
and Magician Sebastiano Lomanto,
to name a few. There was usually
a surprise “star” that made an
unscheduled appearance during the
evening shows.
One might have rubbed elbows
with celebrities, such as Brook
Shields, Bob Hope, Neil Sedaka,
Placido Domingo, Harlem Globe
Trotters, Miss America contestants
from Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia,
Louisiana and Mississippi, who were
seen there often or “Boom Boom”
Mancini and his rival “Bang Bang”
Bogner. Perhaps one shook hands
with politicians, such as Governor
Edwards or former Mayor Vic Schiro,
both regular fair visitors.
The Village features shops
where the Italian American painters,
sculptors, potters, and other artisans
were creating their wares that were
available for purchase. It housed
various shops, exhibits, a museum,
a miniature St. Joseph Altar, and
food concessions galore: Nino’s
Fried Vegetables, Padre Mio’s Italian
sausage, Brocato’s Pasticceria, Frutta
Fresca, Noccioie, Roman Chewing
Candy Pizza del Paese were all there.
Dining at the Trattoria Pastore was
a must—sampling authentic Italian
cuisines, with one’s favorite Italian
wines. It was the only full service
restaurant with seating for more
than 300 people.
The Italian Village was the
brainchild of New Orleans’
businessman Joe Maselli, Sr., who
organized, constructed, and financed
its operation with the cooperation
of other businesses that joined him
in the venture. It was the only largescaled, privately funded contribution
by any ethnic-American group to the Photographs courtesy of Dominick and
1984 Louisiana Worlds Exposition. Carrol Maselli.
Borelli New IAHF
New York Italian
American Museum
Holds Annual Fundraiser
The Italian American Museum
held its eighth annual gala fundraiser
in May at Cipriani Wall Street. This
year’s honorees were, Arthur E.
Imperatore, Lou Lamoriello Sr.,
and Paul David Pope.
Arthur E. Imperatore, Sr. is
the founder and CEO of the New
York Waterway, which operates
passenger ferries in New York and
New Jersey harbors. Mr. Imperatore
and his family rejuvenated water
transportation in 1986. Since then,
N.Y. Waterway vessels have carried
more than 65 million passengers.
Louis “Lou” Lamoriello is the
CEO, president, general manager,
and interim head coach of the New
Jersey Devils of the National Hockey
League. Mr. Lamoriello, who has
been with the Devils since 1987,
has served longer than any current
general manager in the league.
Paul David Pope, an entertainment
executive, is the grandson of
prominent Italian American power
broker Generoso Pope and the son
of Generoso Pope, Jr., and founder
of the National Enquirer. This fall,
Mr. Pope will publish Unreasonable
Men (Barricade Books), which
chronicles the controversial lives of
his father and grandfather.
In April the Italian Society of Pathology attended a reception
hosted by Joseph Maselli, Sr. held in their honor at the American
Italian Museum and Research Library. An Italian delegation of 21
scientists from Italy came to New Orleans to attend the American
Society for Investigative Pathology Annual Meeting of Experimental
Biology 2009 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. The annual
meeting had an attendance of more than 13,000 biological and
biomedical scientist gathered from the United States and the around
world. This year’s theme was “Today’s Research: Tomorrow’s Health.”
The trip was organized by Professor Sebastiano Ando, President
of the Italian Society of Pathology in Italy. While they were here they
were given a tour of the museum by Andrew Montalbano .This was
followed by a reception attended by the scientists and many locals
who enjoyed meeting the Italian delegation.
Ken Borelli was installed as
the new president of the San
Jose Italian American Heritage
Foundation in January, 2009. Borelli
brings a wealth of experience to
the IAHF. He assumed the chair
of the IAHF’s Cultural Committee
over twenty years ago and has been
involved in projects related to the
IAHF’s long-term support for Opera
San Jose, various film festivals,
author’s forums, theater, art and
musical events as well as bocce
ball tournaments. Borelli actively
promotes Italian heritage and
culture and other Italian values and
traditions throughout the Bay area.
Fourteen Board members were part
of the Installation event, including
Vice Presidents: Dr. Anthony Russo,
Nancy DeVincenzi Melander and
Joe Ponte.
Highlighting the Installation
event was special guest Vincenza
Scarpaci, the author of “The Journey
of the Italians in America.” Ms.
Scarpaci’s work has been published
in journals and encyclopedias across
the globe. She was recently honored
with the 2009 Sons of Italy National
Book Reward.
“A Legal Filing Messenger Service”
New Orleans • 482.1111
482.1112 FAX
[email protected]
Italian American Police
Association Honored
Now offering additional seating and
private party rooms!
Tony Langone, with of the
Italian American Police Association
of Chicago, Illinois received the
Award of Excellence on behalf of
the Association from Cook County
Treasurer, Maria Pappas, in honor
of National Law Day for their
professionalism and community
“I commend this law enforcement
organization for their outstanding
work in promoting heritage,
culture, supporting community
events and causes, and their charity
work within their communities and
surrounding areas,” Pappas said
from her downtown Chicago office.
Roger II, King of Sicily (1130 AD)
By Maria Falco Ph.D.
When you go to the Church of the
Matorana in Palermo, you can’t help
noticing this rather unusual mosaic
of Christ crowning Roger II King of
Sicily. What’s so unusual about it is
that it is Christ doing the crowning
and not a Pope, as was the custom in
Europe since that day in the year 800
AD when the Pope Leo III crowned
Charlemagne “Imperator Augustus”
(First Holy Roman Emperor).
Why did Roger deviate from such
a hallowed custom to celebrate his
own achievement of the throne?
The answer lies in the convoluted political scene in 12th century
Church and State Politics. Originally
a group of Norman mercenaries
had been hired by various Southern
rulers and Popes to drive out the
Saracens (Moslems) and Byzantines
from Southern Italy and Sicily in the
beginning of the eleventh century.
Soon two brothers, Robert and Roger
Guiscard, came to lead this effort and
established themselves as Counts,
Dukes and eventually, Kings (Roger
I) of different areas in the South, even
going so far as to sack the city of
Rome in 1084 AD to end the rule of
the Holy Roman Emperor, Henry IV,
over the Papal States.
By 1130, Roger II, the son of
Roger I and nephew of Robert, succeeded in pacifying the Island of
Sicily and asked Anacletus II, the
“Antipope”, to recognize his accession
as King of Sicily rather than Innocent
II, the generally recognized true heir
to Pope Honorius II. Both Innocent
and Honorius had grown to mistrust
Norman intentions in Southern Italy
(fearing further incursion into the
territory of the Papal States) and
Honorius had actually declared a
crusade against him. When Roger II
succeeded in unifying all of Southern
Italy and Sicily (with the help, believe
it or not, of Moslem troops and Navy)
and refused to establish a buffer state
between his holdings and the Papal
States, Innocent II had Roger excommunicated by the Second Lateran
Council in 1139 (after the death of
Anacletus in 1138). Roger continued,
nevertheless, to strengthen his hold
over the area of the “Two Sicilies”
by establishing a powerful central
government rather than a collection
of feudal quasi-independent principalities and baronies, as had been the
custom throughout the middle ages.
In 1144, a truce with Pope
Innocent II established the boundaries of Roger’s Kingdom, and allowed
Italy to Build Longest Suspension Bridge
Italy’s prime minister, Silvio bridge would be supported by two
Berlusconi, has breathed new life 1,306 ft. pillars, each higher than the
into the multi-billion-dollar plan to Empire State Building in New York,
build the world’s longest suspension and carry six motorway lanes, a
bridge between the island of Sicily railway for up to 200 trains a day and
and the Italian mainland.
two pedestrian walkways.
Proclaiming that, “Yes, there is
Berlusconi has long championed
a recession, but it’s not tragic”, the the bridge as a stimulus to the
center-right prime minister earmarked economically depressed south.
$2 billion for a project predicted to Supporters see it as a huge jobcost $8 billion as part of an ambitious creation scheme and a boost for
package to boost Italy’s economy.
tourism. Opponents say it will be an
The bridge, the subject of fierce ecological disaster, vulnerable to high
debate for three decades and a winds, earthquakes and tidal waves.
symbol of Italy’s chronic planning
Berlusconi, 72, is confident that
delays, would stretch for more than work will begin next year and be
two miles across the Strait of Messina completed in 2016.
from Sicily to the region of Calabria.
Opposing the scheme, the centerIt would have the world’s longest left Democratic party’s new leader,
main span of 10, 826 ft. The current Dario Franceschini, said with a dig
record-holder is Japan’s Akashi- at Italy’s richest man: “Obviously
Kaikyo bridge, with a central span of Berlusconi, in his golden bunker, has
that regnum to continue, with chang6,532 ft.
no idea what ordinary people are
ing dynasties and overlords (German,
Almost 200 ft. wide, Italy’s new going through.”
French, and Spanish) for the next
seven centuries, as the Kingdom/s
(sometimes united and sometimes
Did you know that Italy produces some of the best beers in the world?
separated) of Naples and Sicily.
Many classic beers with which Americans and Italians are most familiar
So, why the mosaic depicting with have a long history in Italy. Peroni was one of the first Italian breweries
Roger being crowned King, not by and was established in Vigevano, Italy in 1846. Today, the Peroni family
a Pope but by by Christ Himself? still oversees the company’s four breweries. Birra Moretti, another beer, was
Well, what would you do if the Pope founded in Udine in 1859 and is one of the world’s most popular and topwho first granted you recognition as selling Italian beers.
King was considered an imposter,
Recently, a new phenomenon has been taking place in Italian cities. A
and the Pope recognized as legiti- craft beer scene has sprung up, bringing well-made specialty brews to grand
mate had excommunicated you? The restaurants. Two Italian regions with growing reputations in the beer world
mosaic, ironically enough, follows are Piedmont and Lombardy. During your next trip to Italy you may want to
the Byzantine model with letters, savor a beer with your Italian meal!
Reprinted from NIAF Monthly News
not in Latin, but in Greek, declaring
him “Rogereos Rex”!! Notice also the
Venice to Save Stone Lions
frown on Roger’s face. It is as though
Venice is to save hundreds of the noting that ‘’every invader tried to get
his appeal to Christ Himself in this stone lions that once symbolized the rid of them’’. According to a recent
coronation scene was done as an act 700-year history and pride of Italy’s survey, at least 4,000 of the lions have
of defiance rather than gratitude or most powerful seafaring republic. been lost since the Napoleonic era
The Veneto regional government is which ended the Venetian Republic.
Roger’s example was not forgot- set to approve a law providing for ‘’As a symbol of the Veneto’s history,
ten in European history, by the way. the upkeep of the endangered lions, the St Mark Lion still clearly provokes
It is considered a precedent not only which can be found in every corner fear,’’ said the head of the committee
for the doctrine of the “Divine Right of of the northeastern Italian region.
that commissioned the survey, Daniele
Kings” proclaimed as late as James I
‘’The St Mark Lions need protection Stivali. The ‘Most Serene Republic’
of England in the 17 century (whose and maintenance,’’ said Regional lasted from the 7th century AD until
son Charles I was promptly beheaded Councilor Roberto Ciambetti, one of Napoleon disbanded it in 1797. Its
and succeeded by Oliver Cromwell, the sponsors of the draft law. ‘’They’re patron saint was St. Mark, whose
Lord Protector or Dictator), but also much more than a symbol,’’ he said, symbol is a winged lion.
by Napoleon Bonaparte who forced
Earthquake Berlusconi
the Pope to attend his coronation as
Emperor of France and then took the “One hundred fifty (150) thousand Euros per house – everyone will have
crown in his own hands and crowned three hundred million of the old lira made available for the rebuilding of their
himself! With the growing influence own houses. This is a measure which will do away with all the talk about
of the commercial classes throughout the mafia. Everyone will manage the rebuilding of their own home, I think
Europe (and the American colonies) that this is a very positive thing.” These are the words of Prime Minister Silvio
the notion of absolute rule by Divine Bertusconti at the end of the cabinet session in L’Aquita, as he explained the
Right soon became an anachronism, contents of the draft law to support the Abruzzo region “….you can find your
leading ultimately to the establish- own company and be the director of works on your own house.” the Prime
ment of Republics, Commonwealths Minister explained. “If the house is not destroyed, but damaged, then eighty
thousand Euros will be made available,” Bertusconti added.
and Democracies.
Reprinted from Italy-News
Sic Semper Tryannis!
Italians Down Under (this is not meant to be a pun)
By Joseph V. Ricapito, Ph.D.
This is a catchy title but it is not
meant to be funny. I am referring
to Italians in New Zealand and
Recently I attended a conference
at the University of Auckland, New
Zealand, on the subject of Italian
Many years ago when I went to
Italy I used to pass by thousands
of travel agencies in many towns
and cities. Every one of them had
a sign, an advertisement for Alitalia,
the national airline. They showed
a nice jet plane and below it listed
the following places: Nuova York,
Buenos Aires, São Paulo and Sydney.
I am from New York and know the
Italian culture in New York; Buenos
Aires is the capital of Argentina,
and 51% of Argentineans are of
Italian extraction; São Paulo consists
largely of Italian immigrants and
Japanese immigrants, but Sydney? I
couldn’t imagine Italians going that
far. I kept imagining bush people
and kangaroos.
I was of course wrong and
ignorant of the fact that many
Italians went to New Zealand and
Australia in the fifties, sixties and
the seventies. In Auckland, New
Zealand, Italians were brought
there because they were building
dams and needed those workers
for construction as well as the
building of bridges. We all know
that Italian immigrants were willing
to do almost anything to support
themselves and their families and
so they packed off to way down
under and led their lives there.
What I got to see was that
wherever I went I saw Italian
restaurants all over the place.
They had the usual names, but in
Auckland I saw a luncheon place
whose name really stopped me.
In big letters over the front of the
restaurant was “Me ne freco,” which
means, ‘I don’t give a damn’. Well
I am glad I didn’t go there because
whatever I might have wanted, they
didn’t give a damn, apparently. If
I ever go again to Auckland I shall
make it a point to go there and see
what they mean by their name.
Not only did I see restaurants and
delicatessens but also shoe stores
and other places that sold curtains
and fabrics, but the major area of
business seemed to be food, and
it is just as well. In Auckland, the
conference held its banquet in a place
called “Totò’s” (Totò is a short form,
a nick-name, for someone named
Salvatore). The food was divine.
Behind my hotel in Auckland
there was an Italian restaurant
called “Da Vinci’s” which was also
very high quality Italian food. I had
a good chat with the manager who
came from Sicily and opened this
eatery and h as done well with it.
The place was full the two nights
that we went there.
In Sydney, the place is full of
Italians from all parts, the Veneto,
Sicily and other parts of Italy. I
found a man named Tom Ricapito,
who also came from Giovinazzo
near Bari. We had a long talk about
our families. I asked him what it
was like to come to Sydney. He
came in the Fifties and said that
in the beginning it was difficult
because there was a lot of prejudice
against Italians because they had the
jobs; they were willing to work at
anything in order to make a living,
so it was rough, as he said. They
were called “wogs,” which is just as
bad as the names they call Italians
in America. By the Seventies, the
Italians had established themselves
as a big social group. I was told that
the Italian presence in Melbourne
was even greater and bigger than
that in Sydney. There is even an
Italian Museum in Melbourne. Now
I regret that I didn’t go there.
Going to New Zealand and
Australia was an eye-opener. It is
one of the most beautiful places I
have ever seen. We saw parks and
hills and mountains, something that
the Louisianans are not accustomed
to, and the sea is as beautiful as the
Mediterranean is for the Southern
Italians. We saw a tremendous
amount of ethnic diversity. There
were people from every part of the
I kept saying to myself, what
must it have been like for someone
from Southern Italy to go from their
country to a land so far and so
beautiful. I’ll guess that when they
went there, they must have heaved
a sigh that said, “Quest’e un vero
paradiso,” this is truly a paradise.
Get me a ticket to Melbourne
and I’ll be on the plane tomorrow.
Saturday, July 18, 2009 at 7pm & 10pm
in Harrah’s Theatre
s Sinatra called him “Vice Chairman of the Board” because no
one does Frank like Joe!
s Tickets on sale now at 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com or
Must be 21 or older to gamble and to enter casino. Know When To Stop Before You Start.® Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-522-4700. ©2009, Harrah’s
License Company, LLC.
Tastes, Tails, & Tales with the
High Priestess of the Bayou
This charming little book is a
recipe, story, and a personal history
book of and by the lady they call
“High Priestess of the Bayou.” It is
full of wonderful Cajun recipes for
things such as alligator, fish, crawfish,
turtle, rabbit, duck, crab, shrimp and
gumbos. Of course there is chicken,
pork, sausage, pot roast and vegetable
recipes included, all cooked the Cajun
way- spicy. It is a treasure for the “out
of Towner” who would like to take
home the Cajun kitchen techniques
and recipes. They should not forget
to purchase the spices here since they
are not always available everywhere.
But what is delightful and most
interesting about this recipe book is
the tails and tales. While waiting for
the Alligator Sauce Piquante or the
Duck Breast NuNu you have prepared
to cook, spend a few minutes reading
some of the High Priestess’ many
daring experiences while boating on
the Boston Canal and in Vermilion
Bay or relaxing at Camp Peace.
The High Priestess of the Bayou
is none other than Janice Macomber
who lives in Abbeville, Louisiana. For
more information or to purchase a
copy – Janice Macomber, 210 West
Magnolia Street, Abbeville, LA 70510.
Telephone 337/344-7360. Price $15
plus $3.00 shipping.
Welcome to the Delta
By Paul V. Canonici
The Delta Italians is a compilation
of stories and experiences of early
Italian settlers in the Arkansas and
Mississippi Delta. Some of the content
is documented history but most
consists of bits and pieces of family
stories that have survived the test of
time and memory. The author cannot
attest to the veracity of the stories but
he did attempt to record as precisely
as possible what was related to him
and what he has experienced as a
first generation Italian American who
grew up in the Mississippi Delta.
Italian immigrants to the Delta left
behind their native land a hundred
years ago searching for a “better life.”
For many the meaning of a “better
life” was to make some money and
in a short time return to Italy. Once
in the Delta, however, their quest was
impeded by swamp fevers, flood waters
and prejudice. Furthermore, they found
themselves entrapped in a maze of
debt that caused many to dispel the
idea of ever returning to Italy.
Some immigrants to the Delta
never lived to experience the “better
life” but those who survived swamp
fevers and hard times eventually freed
themselves from debt and tenant
farming. Some established themselves
on their own farms, some found work
in other parts of the country, and a few
returned to Italy. Most did eventually
achieve the better life of their
quest. The author, Paul V. Canonici,
considers this book his contribution
to his people, the descendants of
Italian immigrants who settled in the
Arkansas and Mississippi Delta.
For more information or to order
this book please go to the website–
www.deltaitalians.com. $49.95 plus
shipping. Calo’Creative Designs, P.O.
Box 2207 Madison, MS 39130
Leaving Santa Croce
The History of Maine Evergreen
Nursery and the Costa Family in
America, 1901-2008
By C. Kay Larson with Russell P.
Leaving Santa Croce is the
history of a family owned, wholesale
nursery business founded by Carmen
Costa. It also tells a different Italian
American tale than others that focus
on immigration from a sociological
viewpoint or relate a personal
memoir. It demonstrates that the great
success of the Costa family is directly
linked to the culture that had long
been established in Bergen County,
New Jersey. Moreover, as Gordon S.
Wood, author of The Radicalism of
the American Revolution, has written,
in Colonial America to be a “free
man” meant to be free from: grinding
manual labor and poverty, ignorance,
and abuse and disrespect by others.
The Costa story demonstrates that
all American immigrants sought this
type of freedom. It is a rare, historical
work, as well as one that is readable
and fascinating. To purchase - Maine
Evergreen Nursery, 203 West Pleasant
Ave. Maywood, N.J. 07607 Phone:
201/843-6808 Price: $12.00
Photo taken at the Terrace Club on Downman Road in 1941.
Front row- from left: saxophone players John S “Johnny” Veca, Louis Weise, Charley
Smith, and Sam Butera. Second row – from left: horn players Pat Easterling, “Ducky”
Gray, and young Donald Veca (son of Lawrence in top row). Top row – from left:
Vocalist Frances Bergeron, drummer Elbert Goodier, Oliver Felix, pianist Lawrence
Veca, and bandleader Larry Veca, with baton, who also played guitar, electric bass
and bass fiddle. All the Veca’s are descendants of Sicily and lived in downtown New
Larry Veca Orchestra 1934-1974
The Larry Veca Orchestra was one
of the more popular music groups
in the New Orleans metro area for
four decades, playing at weddings,
dances, country clubs, private parties
and Mardi Gras Balls.
The orchestra disbanded shortly
after Larry’s untimely death from a
heart attack in 1974 at age 64. Band
members easily found spots in other
local bands.
Larry’s father, also named Larry,
is in the history books as a great
cornetist with Papa Jack Laine’s
Ragtime Band and Reliance Brass
Bands in the early 1900’s.
The incomparable Sam Butera is
probably best known for his teaming
up with Louis Prima and Keely Smith,
and starring with The Tommy Dorsey
Orchestra. He later gained fame
for leading his band, The Witnesses,
on the Las Vegas scene for many
years. He, too, is of Italian-American
Regular gigs performed by the
Larry Veca Orchestra during its heyday
that many locals still remember
include Lenfant’s Boulevard and
Marine rooms, Southern Yacht Club,
The Terrace Club (Downman Road),
Camp Leroy Johnson Officers’ Club,
New Orleans Athletic Club, Bud’s
Flower Room (St. Claude Avenue),
The House of Lee, Jerusalem Temple
Hall, Algiers Naval Station Officers’
Club, The Walnut Room (at New
Orleans Lakefront Airport), The Arrow
Ballroom ( Jefferson Highway), New
Orleans Country, Colonial Country
Club (Harahan), Covington Country
Club, The Petroleum Club (Shell
Building), Metairie Country Club,
Timberlane Country Club (Gretna),
New Orleans Port of Embarkation
Officers’ Club, and Vista Shores
Country Club.
The orchestra was indeed an
integral part of the New Orleans
fabric and left indelible memories to
thousands of area residents.
Submitted by John E. Veca, son of
John S. (Johnny) Veca
Dear Mr Maselli, I am the son of
the late John S. (Johnny) Veca, sax
player at the far left on the front row
of the enclosed photo. I was a kid
in the 1940s and 1950s when the
very popular Larry Veca Orchestra
was in its heyday. All four Veca’s
in the photo, including myself, grew
up in the 1600 block of Marigny
Street at North Claibrone Avenue in
downtown New Orleans… Larry Veca,
the bandleader, was my dad’s first
cousin. He, too, is deceased. Sam
Butera, famous sax player, also of
Italian American descent might still
be performing occasionally or making
special appearances, but I was unable
to verify this. We thought this might
be an interesting “remember-when”
kind of photo story in your Italian
American Digest that many older
folks would relate to and younger
ones would enjoy learning about. My
wife and I are subscribers and enjoy
the Digest very much. Sincerely, John
E. Veca. Ponchatoula, Louisiana
New Acquisitions in the
American Italian Library
By Sal Serio
Books donated
The Delta Italians
Their Pursuit of “The Better Life” and
Struggles Against Mosquitoes, Floods
and Prejudice.
By Paul V. Canonici
Volunteer of the Month
Over the years, we have been
blessed with great young volunteers from Tulane University. These
young men and women give their
time and in doing so earn credits
to their degrees. This year was no
exception. I would like to thank
and compliment Pheriche Roberson
on her outstanding contribution to
our library and museum. Not only
did she complete difficult chores in
the library, she translated our tour
guide instructions from English into
Italian. It was a pleasure observing
her conduct a tour of our museum
in Italian with two visitors from
Italy. Job well done! Buon Fortuno!
Brief History of 2707 Coliseum Street
and the Nolan- Marini Family.
Donated by Porter H. Nolan
Professor Sebastiano Andò, (left) and Joe
Maselli at the American Italian Museum
and Library during his recent visit to
New Orleans.
Leaving Santa Croce
History of the Maine Evergreen
and the Costa Family in America
by C. Kay Larson with Russell P.
Prof. Andò, President of the
Italian Society of Pathology in Italy,
organized the group of scientists
that attended the annual meeting
of Pathologists. The Experimental
Biology offered an opportunity for
delegates to see medical advances
being made today.
Barbieri Family on CD
By Maria Falco
Posters, information and news
articles about the 3rd Annual Italian
Festival of Mississippi located in
Bolivar County, Mississippi
By Vincenzo Verderaime
Our Recent Visitors
Helen Sansone, Port Isabel, TX
Riccardo Nissotti, Redondo Beach, CA
Jane Sazera, Foley, AL
Cucille C. Baughman, Drew, MS
Gerald & Sandy Wilson,
Germantown, TN
Steven Maggese, Terrell, TX
Lawrence White, Terrell, TX
Michael Sowell, Metairie, LA
Qiasyun Shons, Southern Illinois
Ryan & Mary Rodio, Knoxville, TN
Kenny Matassa, Gonzales, LA
Alex Pisciotta, Mandeville, LA
John & Chris Accetturo,Carmel, In
Bob & Peggy Anderson, Newtown, PA
Tom Panebianco,
Great Cacapon, WVA
Terry E. Stebly, Ocean Springs, MS
Cathy Henderson, Bethlehem, PA
Anna Chupa, Allentown, PA
Brooke Grems, Aurora, IL
Elaine & Jeff Hoeltzel, Marshall, MI
Virginia Bommer, Belle Chasse, LA
Carol Becnel, Belle Chasse, LA
Carolyn Ricca, College Station, TX
Louis Marino, College Station, TX
Brenda Callegari & Kirk Veazy,
Jefferson, LA
Marie Margiwitz, Louisville, KY
Elena DiGirado, New Orleans, LA
Rosemary Uzzo, Yonkers, NY
Rachelle Salerno, Albany, NY
Pat Reinnecke, Lake Charles, LA
Paul & Laurie De Marco, Jackson, NJ
Angele Guidry, Chalmette, LA
Claudia Acquaru, E. Providence, RI
Maria Grazia Amerlola, Cranston, RI
Bryan & Annette Johnson, Moran, WY
David and Ramona Matassa,
Donaldsonville, LA
Famiglia di DiGaetano, Jonesboro, AR
Judy Regina Naselli & Anthony
Venezia, Franklin Square, NY
Ted & Amelia Clay, Annville, PA
Carmelo Cottone, Whitehouse
Station, NJ
Robert & Lydia Nagle, Bayside, NY
Brad Cascio, Hammond, LA
Lucy & Nick Lomonte,
Montgomery, TX
Sabriale Batacchi, Florence, Italy
Joseph Sparacio ,Seattle, WA
Robert, Tommy, Jr. & Tommy Marsala,
Sr., Monroe, LA
John & Erin LiVecchi, Charlotte, NC
Jared Boreno & Katy Soby, Boston, MA
Ann Maris & Art Simons, Milltown, NJ
Bonnie Sue M. Coe, Marrero, LA
Jessie Peck, New Orleans, LA
Elena . DiGrado, New Orleans, LA
David L.Raduenio,Terrance, CA
Benne & Helen Bellino, Alexandria, LA
Prof. Andò is author of more
than 100 publications, most of
them published as refereed full
papers. He has mainly carried
out experimental and clinical
researches in the field of the
endocrinology of reproduction
and in some hormonal-metabolic deficiency diseases. Recently,
the research interest has been
focused on the role of leptin, a
hormone secreted by adipocites,
in amplifying estrogen signaling
in human breast cancer. From
this study it emerges how leptin
may play an important role in
development and progression of
human breast cancer, particularly in obese postmenopausal
Prof. Andò is Dean of Faculty
of Pharmacy and Nutritional and
Health Sciences at University
of Calabria and has served as
since 2006. He is the president of the Italian Society of
Pathology, co-associated with the
American Society for Investigative
Pathology and is also a member
of the Editorial Board of The
American Journal of Pathology.
He has been the recipient of
the.2001 “Anassilaos” National
Prize and the 2006 “Brutium”
National Prize.
From Our Family to Yours..
Uptown • 321 Arabella
Corner of Tchoupitoulas
In the Heart of Old Metairie
1517 Metairie Road
Char-Grilled Oysters
Boiled Crawfish
Stuffed Artichoke
Homemade Bellpepper
& Onion Rings
Seafood Platters
Homemade Bellpepper
& Onion Rings
Monthly & Daily Specials
Happy Hour
Monday-Friday • 5PM-7PM
Thursday $3.50 Ketel One
at the bar 5PM-till
Ask about our Banquet Rooms
Thank you, The Cortello Family
Cooking All’ Italiana
Napoleon House
Bar and Café
By Laura Guccione
The Napoleon House and its
ambiance are timeless, from the classical
music piped into the dining room to
the plaster-peeling walls. The waiters
look as though they stepped out of
a faded sepia toned photograph with
their crisp, white buttoned- down shirts
finished off with a bow tie. When you
are here you feel as though you are
part of the history of New Orleans.
The history of this establishment
is as interesting as its atmosphere.
Nicholas Girod, the Mayor of New
Orleans from 1812- 1815, was the
first person to reside at the Napoleon
House and he was the very man who,
according to local legend, offered his
home to Napoleon Bonaparte in 1821.
The name Napoleon House stuck even
though Napoleon never made it to New
Orleans during his exile. The Impastato
family purchased the Napoleon House,
also known historically as the Girod
House, in 1914 when the French Quarter
was no longer French but known as
“Little Sicily” because of the recent
influx of Sicilian immigrants who chose
this neighborhood as their new home.
After running a produce business from
a mule- drawn cart, the family opened
a corner grocery store at this location.
After Prohibition, this grocery storefront
was transformed into a barroom to serve
the spirits that were once illegal. In this
world of bars serving trendy cocktails
the Pimm’s Cup, the Sazerac, and all the
great old-fashioned libations have never
gone out of style at the Napoleon House.
As Larone, a bartender and waiter at the
Napoleon House for 15 years, told me
that these drinks have been made the
exact same way since 1946 when Peter
Impastato decided that the Pimm’s Cup
would become the house specialty
drink. Now the Pimm’s Cup is forever
connected to New Orleans.
Even though food was not served
until the 1970’s, when Sal Impastato
became involved in his father’s business,
the Napoleon House is known for its
cuisine that combines New Orleans
staples with regional flavors spiced with
Sicilian flair. The light fare that is offered
mixes well with any of the wonderful
concoctions offered at the bar.
• Pastries
• Spumoni
• Cannoli
• Fresh Fruit Italian Ice
Tuesday - Thursday 10am - 10pm
Friday and Saturday 10am - 10:30pm
Sunday 10am - 9pm
One should start with an aperitif,
such as a Sazerac, or any of the other
classic drinks available, to wet the
appetite and start the anticipation of
the cheese board or the antipasto
plate. The cheese board has six pieces
of imported cheese, fresh fruit, and
home- made croutons and fresh bread.
The antipasto plate is a New Orleans
adaptation of the classic Italian starter
that consists of a variety of meats and
cheeses with the addition of housemade olive salad and served with
fresh bread. The olive salad recipe is
a guarded family secret but it does
have garbanzo beans and tends to be
crunchier and lighter than other olive
salads. This olive salad can be found on
their specialty sandwich, the Muffuletta.
Other appetizers run the gamut from
locally made boudin with satsumaCreole mustard to foccacia with a
variety of toppings to dips as different
as hummus and feta to a spinach and
artichoke dip served in a bread bowl.
quintessential New Orleans- Sicilian
sandwich is made by layering generous
amounts of ham, Genoa salami,
pastrami, Swiss cheese, provolone
cheese, and topped with their own
house made olive salad onto a round,
dense loaf of bread that is dusted with
sesame seeds for added flavor. These
Muffulettas are served warm unless
otherwise specified. This has lead to
many heated debates over whether
the Muffuletta should be served hot or
not. Heating the sandwich highlights a
different dimension to the sandwich. It
becomes gooey and even more decadent
than when eaten at room temperature.
There is room for both warm and cold
Muffulettas in the lexicon of great New
Orleans sandwiches since each creates
a different and unique experience.
There are many other sandwiches
besides the Muffuletta. Italian poor boys
seem to be an expected favorite, from
Genoa salami to Italian meatball with
provolone cheese and many in between.
If something lighter is desired with
your Pimm’s cup the shrimp remoulade
stuffed avocado will fit the bill. This
might be one of the best remoulades
around. How refreshing to enjoy
the sweet shrimp and creamy, ripe
avocado with the tart remoulade sauce
containing the bright flavors of creole
mustard infused with tarragon vinegar.
Then there are some interesting salads
such as the Corsican Salad that is
composed of red leaf lettuce, kalamata
olives, cherry tomatoes, toasted walnuts,
red onion, and Gorgonzola cheese
topped with a balsamic- raspberry
vinaigrette. Bright, salty, sweet, and
savory, these flavors meld together as
the instruments of the classical music
fuse to resonate through the air of the
dining room. The Impastatos make all
of their salad dressings from scratch.
The combinations are fabulous and
wholesome from the Isporia (Caesar
with blue cheese), the zero (no fat with
a tomato base), to the ginger-citrus
with mint.
Another popular dish is the
Louisiana pesto pasta salad which
has Louisiana shrimp, cucumbers, red
peppers, red onions and freshly made
basil pesto blended with penne pasta
and topped with crisp Andouille and
toasted pecans. A glass of wine, a seat
in the courtyard (or better yet in the
doorway on rue St. Louis) and a plate
of this pesto pasta variation will make
you remember why you live in New
Desserts are also available from
the homemade bread pudding with a
great rum sauce to spumoni, cassata,
and torrancino from Brocato’s. The
shells of the cannoli are delivered from
Brocato’s but are stuffed to order with
a homemade filling.
In these tough economic times the
Napoleon House offers an affordable
escape with amazing home-cooked
meals in an actual family- run restaurant. Maria and Sal Impastato can
always be found in the dining room
and Sal’s son, Nick, is hard at work
cooking in the kitchen. So, forget your
worries in the nostalgic atmosphere
and treat yourself to an afternoon of
traditional New Orleans/Sicilian food
and drinks at the Napoleon House.
★ ★ WHO’S WHO ★ ★
Roger F. Villere, Jr.
was elected Chairman of the Republican
Party in 2004 and re-elected in 2006
and 2008. During his time as Chairman,
the Republican Party of Louisiana has
made historic gains – increasing the
number of elected Republicans in the
State Legislature and U.S. Congress
as well as in Louisiana’s statewide
offices. During his tenure, Villere has
communicated a message of competent
conservative change and reform and
Republicans have achieved success
across Louisiana’s diverse political
Chairman Villere has attended four
Republican National Conventions, his
first as a volunteer to the New Orleans
Convention in 1988, as a Delegate to
the 2000, as Chairman-Elect in 2004,
and as Chairman and Delegate in
2008. He has previously served as
RNC National Committeeman and as a
member of the RNC Rules Committee
and RNC Resolutions Committee. In
2008 he received the honor of being
elected Chairman of the Electoral
College for Louisiana. He also has been
significantly involved in the Pelican
State Pachyderm Club, Republican Party
of East Jefferson, and the Republican
Party of Jefferson Parish. Chairman
Villere is also a Life Member of the
National Rifle Association (NRA).
Chairman Villere attended the
University of New Orleans, is a fellow
of the Loyola Institute of Politics, the
LSU Academy of Politics, and the UNO
Government Leadership Institute.
Chairman Villere is the owner of
Villere’s Florist and currently lives in
Metairie with his wife Donna. He is the
father of three sons.
for 2009 by the Young Leadership
Council. Cusanza was awarded the
Outstanding Organization’s award
from the Victims and Citizens Against
Crime, named one of the Women of
the Year for City Business in 2007,
received an Award of Achievement
by the Jefferson Parish Public School
System for her work developing the
Crimestoppers Safe School Hotline
and was presented a proclamation
recognizing her achievements as
the Executive Director by both the
Jefferson Parish City Council and the
New Orleans City Council.
Under the current Director’s
leadership, Crimestoppers has been
awarded a Crimestoppers International
media award of recognition, been
awarded the F.B I. Regional Director’s
award and awards of recognition from
local crime fighting organizations. She
is a charter member and President
of the Louisiana Crime Stoppers
Association, a graduate from the
FBI Citizen’s Academy, an Executive
Board member of the New Orleans
Crime Coalition, a Fleur De Lis
Ambassador and serves on numerous
other community and school related
committees/boards. Cusanza holds a
Bachelors degree from L.S.U.M.C.School of Allied Health Professions
The Digest congratulates these outstanding Italian American Honor
Graduate students who have excelled in their academic curricula
under the extreme difficulties left by Hurricane Katrina.
Vince Liberto,
a Metairie native and award-winning
parish consultant for J.S. Paluch
Co., Inc., recently placed first in the
company’s annual year-long, nationwide
sales contest. This year he was selected
by the Archdiocese of New Orleans to
receive the first-ever Blessed Frassati
Award for outstanding contributions to
Young Adult Ministry.
After receiving several degrees from
St. Louis University and Notre Dame
Seminary, Vince served as a teacher, a
fundraiser for the Jesuits, a coordinator
for the Parish Social Ministry Office of
Catholic Charities, and the founding
Coordinator of Young Adult Ministry for
the Archdiocese of New Orleans.
In 1998, Vince set up programs
such as the Quarter Back Club, where
young adults kept the sacrament of
reconciliation consistent by going “back
to confession”; TGIFF (Thank God It’s
First Friday), where participants given
an opportunity to attend a special
Mass every first Friday; the YACHT
Club (Young Adult Catholics Hanging
Together), where small communities
were created to share scripture,
tradition, and prayer; and Theology on
Tap, where theology, conversation, and
interesting speakers came together in a
relaxed atmosphere.
Darlene Cusanza,
Executive Director of Crimestoppers,
Inc. has served in this capacity for the
past fourteen years. Prior to joining
Crimestoppers, she served as the
Director of Continuing Professional
Education and Member Services of
the Louisiana CPA Society, a statewide,
not for profit, for 13 years.
In 2009 Cusanza received the US
Department of Justice – U. S. Marshals
Service Director’s Citizen of the
Year award for 2008 in Washington.
She was also named Community
Leader of the Year for 2008 by the
Jefferson Chamber of Commerce and
has been named as a Role Model
Loyola University’s College of Law
A.I.R.F. New President
Phillip Cancilleri, the new
president of the American Italian
Renaissance Foundation, is a native of
Shreveport, LA and a current resident
of Baton Rouge. He is a 1984 graduate
of LSU with a Bachelor of Science
degree and a 1990 graduate of LSU
School of Veterinary Medicine. As a
veterinary student, he was one of the
caretakers of LSU’s mascot “Mike V.”
Cancilleri combines his busy
veterinary career with his passion
for his Italian heritage and LSU
sports. He is a member of several
Italian organizations and is dedicated
to preserving the Italian Heritage.
He has served as President of GBR
American Italian Assn. for the past 8
years. Cancilleri is involved in many
LSU organizations and, as a parttime photographer, he has donated
pictures to various charities and LSU
support organizations that have raised
thousands of dollars for these groups.
Summa cum laude, top graduate &
Crowe scholar
Madeline M Chimento
Summa cum laude, ranked second
& Crowe scholar
Cecelia M Trenticosta
Magna cum laude
Anthony Joseph Marchese
Cum Laude
Richard Daniel Serio, Jr.
Tulane University
School of Law
Magna cum laude
Annemarie Susan DiNicola, Victoria
Andrea Gallo, Jason Charles Napoli,
and Paul Raymond Trapani, III.
School of Liberal Arts
Summa cum laude
Robert Nicholas Dibenedetto
Magna cum laude
Sarah Therese Decristofaro
Cum laude
Tessa Arbani, Gabriella Antonia
LaRocca, Renata Hana Maniaci, Amy
Michelle Palumbo, Danica Marie
Sagona, and Austin Reed Trafficante
School of Science & Engeneering
Summa cum laude
Gino Anthony Mortillaro
University of New Orleans
Summa cum laude
Miriam C. Rizzo
Magna cum laude
Stacey L. Civello, and Rebeckah A.
Cum laude
Christopher M. Capretto
Louisiana State University
Summa cum laude
Jamie Maria Mascari, Kimberly Anne
Monteleone, and Sarah Michele
Magna cum laude
Dana Lynn Corona, Robert John
Amato, and Cara Marie Bevinetto.
Cum laude
Elizabeth Anne Montero, Jamie Leigh
Montero, Laura Marie Esposito, and
Robert Salvador Perricone.
LSU Health Sciences Center
Cum laude
Morgan Haley Montelaro, Katie Denton
Cannizzaro, Brittany Rochelle Scardina,
Amanda Elizabeth Taravella and
Steven Zambrano.
Since our last report our members,
President, Cathy Gudan, Sugar
Christiana Karen Lambert and
others, were instrumental in helping
to bake cookies and cuccidatte to
set up several St. Joseph’s Altars in
the area, including for GNOICS, St
Francis Xavier Church, Our Lady of
the Holy Rosary Church, Our Lady
of Perpetual Help in Kenner, and
Cabrini High School. The work of
Sugar Christiana was considered so
exceptional that the GNOICS has
asked her to take charge of their
Altar preparations as their “resident
expert” in the future.
Our participation in the Irish
Italian Parade was well attended
and was a great success, thanks to
the hard work of Don and Linda
Gennaro, Cathy Gudan, John Foto,
Karl Cholmato and others. Two of
the Gennaro granddaughters were
maids and one was crowned Queen
of the parade
We also joined in the extraordinarily
successful Crawfish Boil with the
Cefalutana Society, with 120 of our
own members and guests out of a
total of 200 attending. The food and
entertainment was excellent, as usual,
and we will look into the possibility
of doing it again next year.
Don and Linda Gennaro were very
successful in arranging fundraising
Casino trips to the Silver Slipper
in February and to the Hard Rock
Casino in April. Our next trip with
possibly four busloads will be going
to the Hollywood Casino on June 14.
Regina Bertolino and Kenner
JP, Kevin Centanni, participated
in discussions with Jefferson
Parish Councilman Elton Lagasse,
Anselmo, Executive Vice President
Joe Distefano, and Sculptor Franco
Alessandrini in ongoing discussions
on erecting a monument to Nick
LaRocca, on the grounds of the soon
to be built Jefferson Performing Arts
Center adjacent to Zephyr Field in
Metairie. No decisions have been
made but the prospects look good.
Regina was also the primary reporter
on those negotiations at the April
19 meeting of the Federation at
Carmine’s Restaurant.
Our general membership on May
6 met at Giorlando’s Restaurant in
Metairie and hosted Tom Smith, author
of the Crescent City Lynchings. He
spoke on the notorious shooting and
mob lynching of 11 Italian American
men for the murder of New Orleans
Police Chief Dave Hennessy in 1891,
after a jury had found most of them
innocent of the crime, and had not
yet tried the rest of the accused. The
event caused the Italian government
to break off diplomatic relations with
the United States and almost led
to war. The term mafia gained its
first widespread dissemination for its
supposed bribing of the jury although
no evidence was ever uncovered to
establish the connection. And those
guilty of the lynching’s were never
indicted by the Grand Jury called to
investigate the incident.
Following that discussion, the
membership decided to cooperate
with the efforts by the Federation to
raise money for Earthquake Relief
for the town of Paganica in the
Abruzzi. Sal Christiana is serving
as the “point person” for our club
as well as for the Federation in
this effort. We agreed to send our
checks, collective and individual, to
Joe Piccione, Federation Treasurer in
Lafayette. Some will also be attending
the May 31 function organized by the
Paganica Relief Fund recently set up
by the Bocce Club in honor of the
Pieri and Ioventiti families of their
former and present club members
who emigrated from there.
Maria Falco announced that she
had arranged for Greg Lambousy,
Director of Collections for the
Louisiana State Museum System, to
speak at our Installation Banquet
in August on how we might help to
reconstitute and expand the Nick
LaRocca display in the renovated
New Orleans Jazz Museum on the
site of the Old Mint Building in the
Our elections, conducted at the
same meeting, four current officers
were elected without opposition and
by acclamation: President Regina
Bertolino, Corresponding Secretary
Don Gennaro, Treasurer Linda
Gennaro, and Recording Secretary
Maria Falco. Sugar Christiana was
elected Vice President; Cathy Gudan,
and John Foto were re-elected to the
Board of Directors; Karl Cholmato,
Joyce Segari and out-going Vice
President Joe Maturano, were also
elected to the Board. Following the
election, the Members of the Board
caucused and elected Joe Maturano
as Chairman of the Board.
Submitted by Maria Falco
Have a Safe and Happy
Summer Vacation!
The Italian American
Digest Staff.
Pictured from l to r front row: Dr. Louis Capozzoli, Dr. Dante Lius, Dr. Phillip
Cancilleri, Dr. Wes Harrison, Dr. Lucia Harrison, Dr. Joe Ricapito and Dr. Michael
Greater Baton Rouge American Italian Association
Over 70 members, friends and family of the Greater Baton Rouge American
Italian Association gathered on Sunday, March 8th for the quarterly
meeting/luncheon at Ashley Manor. Dr. Phillip Cancilleri, President of
the GBRAIA, welcomed everyone and presided over the business meeting.
The keynote speaker was Dr. Dante Lius from Rome, Italy who is currently
in the United States working on bridge construction projects. The focus of
his talk was the J. J. Audubon Bridge in St. Francisville, Louisiana where
he is the Quality Assurance Manager. Several of his colleagues and friends
attended the meeting including Dr. Michael Gargano, LSU Vice-President
for Student and Academic Support Services, Dr.Louis Capozzoli, Dr. Wes
Harrison, and Dr. Lucia Harrison.
Greater New Orleans Italian Cultural Society
The Greater New Orleans Italian
Cultural Society of New Orleans’ St
Joseph’s Celebration was a huge
success this year. On March 19th
they commemorated the feast day of
Saint Joseph with several hundred
dedicated adults and children.
The Altar was splendid in its
design and color at its location in
the St. Vincent Hall on the campus
of Holy Rosary Church and School.
Music for the mass and the festival
was performed by the American
Legion Band Post 175. As always,
the solemn highlight of this event
is the mass in Our Lady of the
Holy Rosary Church concelebrated
by Bishop Shelton J. Fabre and
Father David Robicheaux. Bishop
Fabre’s homily about St. Joseph was
inspiring. The children’s choir, band
and the American Legion ensemble
added an extra dimension to the
Attendance by and participation
in the program by the grammar
school students allowed us to give
them a taste of the St. Joseph Altar
tradition while we were given the
pleasure of seeing the joy on their
The pasta Milanese, assorted
Italian cookies and ice cream
were enjoyed by all in the school
cafeteria. After the Altar was taken
down, the food was donated to the
Ozanam Inn and the Poor Clairs.
We would like to thank Bishop
Fabre, Father Robicheaux and his
parishioners, Mr. Michael Binder
and his staff from Holy Rosary
School, our members, the Elenains,
the American Legion Post 175 Band
and all of our many dedicated
volunteers and benefactors.
The GNOICS is also in the
middle of a recruiting drive for new
members. If you would like to help
keep our culture alive and work
for select charities, please do not
hesitate to call Jerry Schiro at 6380155, Lloyd Goebel at 464-9995 or
Dominic Grieshaber at 494-2058.
We will be glad to answer any
questions you may have.
Submitted by Lloyd Goebel
Support the Italian
American Digest by
ordering a subscription
or an advertisement in
our paper. This is the
36th year of our publication
and we need your help.
Call 504/782.3603
The Sons of Italy Heritage Club with flagpole and installation. Raffle
has had a busy spring. Our “spiritual tickets are $5 each. Our fundraisers
leader”, Sister Sharon Rambin of enable us to donate to local charities
the Sisters of Charity, requested our and assist with disasters such as the
assistance with a fun project. She earthquake in Italy.
is already well known for her “Run
As of this writing: -Our annual
with the Nuns” biker rally, and she Fish Fry is May 16. Mickey Fertitta
continues to expand her charity secured our location at the American
events with bikers. The Louisiana State Legion on Cross Lake, a beautiful
HOG Rally was held in Shreveport spot for fishing and boating. We will
in March, and we were asked to play bocce outside on the banks of
provide volunteer labor at the beer the lake. With the hilly terrain of
booths. Board member Jerry Fertitta North Louisiana, our brand of bocce
organized our club’s participation, is more like golf on the toughest PGA
and Jerry, Johnnie Estess, Linda courses!
Serio, Mickey Fertitta, Jude Frasier,
-Newest Board member Vita
John Del Vento and Lynn Mandina Gregorio has requested our presence
worked at the booths. The beverage at a bocce tournament with the Ladies
vendor donated $2,500 (plus another Guild of St. Jude Catholic Church in
$2000 in tips) to Sr. Sharon’s Cara Bossier City. We will have “burgers
House for abused and neglected and bocce” on May 24.
children. We have been asked to
Sons of Italy welcome new
volunteer again in June at the Red members John Del Vento, Lucille
River Rumble Motorcycle Rally.
Cash, Darcie Johnson, Marie
Our Club answered an impromptu Bassett, and Ron & Angelina Rice.
plea to assist victims of the April 6
For information on joining the
earthquake in the Abruzzo Region Sons of Italy Heritage Club, contact:
of Italy. In less than two weeks, we Pres. Johnnie Estess, at (318) 469raised $6300 and wired it to the 3691. V.P. Mickey Fertitta (318) 470Earthquake Relief Fund in Abruzzo. 6300.
(See complete story in this issue.)
Submitted by: Linda Serio,
Just three days after the
earthquake in Italy, devastating storms
whipped through Shreveport and
Bossier. Member Ernest Palmisano’s
landmark Ernest’s Orleans Restaurant
lost its private dining room, a patio
and all signs. Members Johnnie and
Sue Estess,
Tony Armenio, and Tina Boyter
jumped in to help with the massive
Tony Armenio is providing the Jerry Fertitta sells a drink to a biker lady
and her biker dog named Blondie. The
Club with a great fundraiser. Through
club worked at the State HOG (Harley
Owners Group) rally to raise funds for
company, Louisiana Neon Signs, the Cara House for abused and neglected
he is generously donating a U.S. flag, children.
Italian American Society of Jefferson
Our club hosted a German
Italian Night at the IASJ club house
on May 5th for the German American
Cultural Center whose meeting
facility was under repair. It was a
nice event and, as host, we served
a buffet dinner mainly of German
food which everyone seemed to
enjoy. Their president, Frieda Arwe,
came in authentic German attire
which added to the ambiance of the
evening. We enjoyed meeting old
and new friends at the event and
offered to do this again.
Another treat of the evening was
a book review by Tom Smith on his
book on the Crescent City Lynchings
that was most interesting.
Submitted by Frank Panepinto
President Frieda Arwe of the
German American Cultural
Center of Gretna.
Cefalutana Society
Dr. Judith Miranti, President-elect, enjoys
looking over some of the momentos
presented at the Elenian Club’s 75th
Anniversary Celebration.
The Elenian Club
On Saturday, April 18, 2009, the
Elenian Club celebrated 75 years as an
organization in the beautiful Versailles
Room of the Plimsoll Club. This event
was very well attended and guests
enjoyed the beautiful venue and
great food. They danced with music
provided by “Steppin Up”.
Maria Mire, President, welcomed
the guests, and thanked Virginia
Eckholdt for making the table arrangements. LeeAnne Savoie’s beautiful
centerpieces graced the room under
the chandeliers. Maria Correro,
Roslyn LoGuidice, and Barbara
Sclafani welcomed the guests.
information regarding the beginning
of the Elenian Club was presented by
Past President, Nancy Hamburger.
MaryLynn Roberts, Past President,
gave a summary of the many
supported by the Elenians throughout
their 75 years of history.
Maria Villafranco, Corresponding
Secretary, assimilated the Elenian
Club’s memorabilia and created a
beautiful CD presentation. Some of
the memorabilia presented included
Elenian Queen Dolls, pictures from
past queens and maids, costumes and
favors from past Balls and pictures
and mementos from several of the
Ballos di Natale.
The Elenians had two cakes
provided by Barbara Bagert who
created two works of art, including
one cake decorated with the Elenian
Crest and the other one with the
Elenian Rose.
Dr. Kristina Mire designed a
beautiful 75th anniversary program as
a wonderful keepsake. All the ladies
were presented with a lovely crystal
rose which will be a memento of this
special occasion.
Members enjoyed the night
embracing friendships and making
new memories to be cherished.
Submitted by: Maria Mire, President
Enjoying a Good Year
This year’s annual crawfish boil
was held March 21, 2009, at the
Knights of Columbus Hall in Kenner as
Societa’ Italiana di Mutua Beneficenza
Cefalutana members met to enjoy
nearly 1200 lbs. of crawfish. This
well-attended event included about
220 people, including our members
and members of the East Jefferson
Italian-American Society, who shared
the day’s food and festivities with
us. A short speech was given by il
Presidente Sal Serio, and Regina
Bertolino, president of the East
Jefferson Italian Society.A great time
was had by all who enjoyed the hot
seasoned crawfish. As has become our
custom, Joe DeNone played fabulous
Italian music, singing the American
and Italian National Anthems, plus
other favorites, ending the evening
with “Buona Sera-Good Night.” There
was an impromptu dance of New
York, New York by member Joy Serio
Dunbar, visiting from New York,
New York and Conchetta Cefalu
Lavene. Members and guests then
took to the dance floor for more
fun. Great door prizes were given as
new friends were made as well as
the reestablishing of old friends. The
event included a 50-50 drawing, and
two lucky winners took home over
$100 each. They were Thea Thomas
and Dominic Giardina.
This year’s feast of Gesù Salvatore,
Patrono di Cefalù, will be on Sunday,
August 9, 2009. As is our tradition,
the Società will be honored at a
special commemorative mass at St.
Louis Cathedral which will be followed
by a banquet of Italian food and music
at Andrea’s Restaurant in Metairie.
New members will be inducted at
this gathering of members and their
families. This festival began in Cefalù in
the 12th century. In New Orleans, our
Società has continued to observe this
tradition each year of its existence.
In member news, society Presidente
Sal Serio was the guest speaker for the St.
Tammany Parish Library Covington Branch,
in conjunction with the St. Tammany
Genealogical Society, for a lecture and
group discussion held n April.
Congratulations to members
Joyce and Vincenzo Verderaime of
Greenwood, MS. who are celebrating
their 50th wedding anniversary. Vincenzo
was born in Cefalu, and emigrated to
the United States in the 1950s.
Anyone wishing to contact the
organization can call Salvadore
Serio at 504-486-9122 or visit the
organization’s Website at www.
By Debbie Papa Kliebert
A Return to Paradise - Ustica
As you read this article, I’m back in Sicily for the summer (my 10th year) going
on more adventures to write about in upcoming issues. As you well know, Sicilia
is one of my favorite places on earth -a fabulous enchanting island in Mar
Mediterraneo. Enjoy!
After three years, I returned to the small Island of Ustica - uno paradiso (a
paradise), off the Northern coast of Sicily near Palermo. The beautiful, natural
settings remained the same, but I noticed there was alot more tourist hustle
and bustle going on. Nevertheless, I was delighted to be back in this lovely
Maria Bertucci Compagno, a native
Usiticese and now author of her newly
Cooking, From Ustica to New Orleans,
was spending the entire summer on the
island with her relatives, Pietro & Pina
Bertucci. Her daughter was briefly there
before I arrived, but I got to meet her
grand-daughter, Jennifer and her friend,
Whitney. (Everyone is related in one way
or another on this island. That doesn’t
surprise me since it sounded just like
Bisacquino to me!)
Maria and her family assisted me
with a place to stay - a house with three but he will never be forgotten. Pace,
bedrooms, two full baths, a living-dining Mio amico.
room, and a balcony with a view looking
Also, if you want to read more
toward the port area that was out-of-this- about my past, exciting adventures
world. What a weekend!
thoughoutSicily, order directly a
On a personal note, I’d like to mention copy of my book, “We’re All Made
a final ciao, ciao to Sal Z. of New York City, Out Of The Same Pasta!” Call (504)
a native Bisacquiese. He left us in March, 455-4337 for more details.
by Andrew Montalbano
Handriveted Gas & Electric Lights
Call for a brochure (504) 522-9485
or visit our website at - www.bevolo.com
1.La Famiglia di Maria Bertucci Compagno 2.Ustica’s Coastlline - What a paradise!
3.The “Fig Lady” Maria 4. My Weekend Retreat / House 5. AVolcanic Rock
6. A Caper Plant (grows naturally all over the island)
All photos by Andrew J. Montalbano
City Wholesale
Liquor Company, Inc.
4340 Washington Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70185
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Italians in New Orleans
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The Airport
Italian American
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New Orleans, LA 70176
International Flights Return to Armstrong International Airport
Prior to the onset of Hurricane Katrina, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport had non-stop service to Toronto, Canada on
Air Canada Jazz and San Pedro Sula, Honduras on TACA Airlines. I am pleased to announce that effective July 6, 2009, regularly scheduled
service by an international carrier will once again be available at Armstrong International Airport. The carrier is AeroMéxico, Mexico’s
largest airline, and the non-stop destination will be Mexico City with continuing service to San Pedro Sula. From Mexico City, the traveler
can easily access any point in Mexico, Central & South America that AeroMéxico serves. The continuing service to Honduras will provide
another important leg in reaching Central America from New Orleans. AeroMéxico plans to provide service 6 days a week. The non-stop
flights will offer New Orleans-area travelers convenient travel options for visiting friends and family; or connecting to more than 40 beach,
city and colonial destinations throughout Mexico. AeroMéxico is a member of the SkyTeam global airline alliance, which offers worldwide
destinations. The airline’s corporate headquarters are in Mexico City and its U.S. operations are based in Houston.
Since Katrina, the New Orleans Aviation Board and staff have been vigorously working on re-establishing international service from airlines
that previously served New Orleans and establishing new service from airlines that have not. Major European airlines as well as South and
Central American airlines have been contacted and prospected. This is still an ongoing effort.
The decision to begin service from New Orleans is the result of a tremendous investment of time and resources by the Airport, the City
of New Orleans, GNO, Inc., the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, the Louisiana Department of Economic
Development and Ochsner Hospital. Serious dialogue began last fall when AeroMéxico decision-makers accepted the Airport’s invitation
to visit and discuss the possibilities for service. The Airport brought together a diverse group of local leaders to help demonstrate the
demand for South American air service. In addition, the Airport provided research data to form the basis of the dialogue. AeroMéxico
officials agreed with the data and said that their own research was almost identical. They proposed service to Mexico City and on to San
Pedro Sula, Honduras, but required some financial and in-kind support beyond what the Airport alone could provide. From that point,
GNO, Inc. facilitated continuing efforts to identify the necessary resources. At the end of the day, the City of New Orleans, the Airport,
the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Louisiana Department of Economic Development and Ochsner Medical
Center formed a package of incentives that sealed the deal.
International flights have not been totally absent from Armstrong International Airport since Katrina. We have, for the last three years, had
international charter flights from England, Mexico and Central America. These have either been a connection to a cruise, limited holiday
service or special transportation to the city. In 2006, International Charter & Tours operated a weekly flight from New Orleans to San Pedro
Sula and La Ceiba in Honduras during the prime summer months.
The return of AeroMéxico to New Orleans offers the potential of increased business relationships among the three countries of the Americas
and an increase in international travel by Gulf South travelers. As Mayor C. Ray Nagin has recently pointed out, it is also a strong signal of
our continuing recovery from Hurricane Katrina. Domestic and international air services are based on passenger demand so I encourage
our community to utilize the new service to Mexico and Honduras. Passenger demand and utilization of air service is a major factor in not
only establishing service to our community but continuing and expanding it as well. Armstrong International Airport is proud to continue
its role as the gateway to New Orleans and to the world.
(Sean Hunter can be reached at www.flymsy.com. Watch our 30 minute television program, “Airport Alive”. Check your local listings for
time and date.)
Standard U.S.
Permit #289
N.O., LA

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