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Festa Italia! Three Day Showcase of Italian Culture

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Category: Major Events/Festivals

Start: Mar 16, 2023 12:00 AM

End: Mar 20, 2023 12:00 AM

BK Historic House and Gardens, 1113 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70116, USA


Festa Italia! Three Day Showcase of Italian Culture
Traditional St. Joseph Altar, Italian Wine Tasting & Yat Pack Concert Planned
The BK Historic House & Garden, home to the Corrado Giacona Family from the 1890s to 1925, will again honor the Patron Saint of Sicily with its annual St. Joseph’s altar March 17-19. The public is welcome to join staff and volunteers in marking this sacred Sicilian tradition, which has been celebrated in the French Quarter since Sicilian immigrants began arriving in the city in the late 19th century.  

There will be a private blessing of the altar by Father Damien Zablocki on the 17th, after which the public will be invited to visit and learn more about this important ritual. The altar will remain available for viewing on the 17th, 18th and 19th from 10 AM – 3 PM.  Each visitor will be given the traditional prayer card, cookie, blessed bread, and lucky bean.  Suits made for the Black Masking tradition will also be on display, as St. Joseph's Day corresponds with this long-standing celebration of Black and Indigenous culture taking place on Super Sunday, March 19. On view will be suits created by Darryl Montana and Dianne Honoré, chief and queen of the Yellow Pocahontas Hunters tribe.

In preparation for the altar, advance culinary and financial contributions are welcome.  Anyone who would like to donate to the altar may email Chris Fountain (chris@bkhouse.org) for further details. As in previous years, financial donations will be given to Covenant House New Orleans.

On Thursday, March 16, BK House will host In Vino Veritas: An Italian Wine Tasting Experience, featuring a presentation by Antonio Molesini, Italian wine specialist for RNDC.  Participants will learn how to appreciate and savor five wines from Sicilia and Toscana, paired with CICCHETTI (Venetian Tapas) specially created by Chef Glen Hogh, formerly of Vega Tapas Cafe & Catering in Old Metairie.  Doors open at 5:30 for the orchestrated tasting that begins promptly at 6 pm. Tickets must be pre-purchased at www.bkhouse.org and will be limited to 50 participants ONLY. The cost is $50, with a reduced price of $45 for museum members.


While not yet blessed and officially open for viewing, participants will get a sneak peak at the annual St. Joseph's Day Altar, a uniquely Sicilian tradition brought by immigrants to New Orleans in the late 19th century.
In the continued celebration of Italian and Sicilian history, the much-acclaimed Yat Pack will perform a musical Salute to Italian Crooners on Sunday, March 19 at 6pm. The concert will feature Italian-inspired numbers by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Louis Prima, Perry Cuomo, Bobby Darin and others, as well as memorable Italian classics. Tickets are $40 and $30 for museum members. Doors open at 5:30pm. Light refreshments will be served. This is a Bring Your Own Beverage event. We recommend that guests bring along extra cups with beverages of choice!  The St Joseph’s altar will still be in place through the 19th for visitation by concert goers.

All events take place at the Historic BK House & Gardens at 1113 Chartres Street, across from the Old Ursuline Convent. 

Details about upcoming BK House events and membership information are available at www.bkhouse.org for those who want to support the Museum and take advantage of future programming discounts.



About:  The Historic BK House & Gardens: Now distinguished as a National Historic Landmark, the house was built in 1826, purchased by noted author Frances Parkinson Keyes in 1948 and restored under her loving care. Programming has evolved in the last several years to focus on the seven families who lived on the property, as well as influences of the French Quarter neighborhood. A new interpretative program is underway to better reflect the heritage of the site. Membership, events, grants, donations, and fundraising activities generate revenue needed for on-going restoration and future capital improvement projects.

About Glen Hogh:  Glen is a native New Orleanian who grew up around great food. He is formerly of Vega Tapas Cafe & Catering in Old Metairie and is well-versed in the flavors of the Mediterranean as reflected in the creative menu he designed for this tasting.

About Antonio Molesini:  Antonio was born “under the Tuscan Sun” in Cortona, Italy and of an excellent vintage year 1964.His exposure to wine started at a very young age because of his father’s theory, “water makes rust, drink wine instead”!

He grew up in a family with strong work ethic. Antonio spent his childhood years working in his Molesini family grocery, bakery, restaurant, and wine stores which are still part of Cortona town square today. His summers where spent often, with uncles in the country or at his family’s ant vineyard in Veneto Region, where he learned and felt in love much of what he shares with us about “fine wines and grappa”.  

He transferred in Louisiana in September 1993, after marrying a Baton Rougeon, who brought him home as “a souvenir” after studying abroad in Cortona Italy.

Antonio began his career in the States by having the opportunity to work with Bologna Brothers, learning the liquor business from the inside out. When Bologna Brothers sold, Antonio was in high demand. He chose to work with Magnolia of New Orleans (Great Southern’s) as their “Italian Wine Specialist” for 4 years. To broaden his knowledge of the business, he was recruited by “Banfi Vineyards” to try out the Supplier side representing their line of wines in the State of Louisiana and Mississippi. He expanded his territory and learned even more about production, quality, supply, and demand. Two years later, in April of 2005, Antonio was proud to re-join the team at Magnolia-Republic National Distributing Company (today RNDC) as he shares with them and with us his enthusiasm, knowledge, “his accent”, wonderful Italian heritage and don’t forget the “BUON VINO”.

About: The Yat Pack: This New Orleans-based group is modeled on the 1960's Las Vegas swing era. They perform classic numbers by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Louis Prima, and Bobby Darin as well as contemporary artists like Michael Bublé and Harry Connick Jr. The band also mixes in a healthy dose of New Orleans R&B (Fats Domino, Smiley Lewis, Clarence "Frogman" Henry), standards from the American songbook, traditional jazz, and even the occasional rock ‘n roll number. 

The Yat Pack is David Cook (vocals), Wally Rabalais (drums and vocals), Earl "The Cannon" Roesch (piano), Don Delahoussaye (sax), Mike Kobrin (trumpet), Larry Villalobos (trombone and vocals), and A.J. Dicharry (bass).

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