NEW ORLEANS (press release) – The Beauregard-Keyes Historic House & Garden, home to the Corrado Giacona Family from 1904-1925, will again honor the Patron Saint of Sicily with its annual St. Joseph’s altar March 16-18. 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 from 9-10 AM, 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 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 18.

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.

Wednesday evening, March 16, a special lecture entitled “Growing Up in Italian and Afro-Creole New Orleans” will be presented by historian/tour guide Denise Augustine at 6 PM.  Born in the 1950’s and having learned the art of storytelling through years of sitting at her grandmother’s kitchen table in Treme, Augustine is an expert at entertaining and engaging visitors with the unsung stories of New Orleans. She was raised in the neighborhoods in and around the French Quarter and is a seventh-generation Creole griot who grew up witnessing both the city’s Afro-Creole and Italian communities living closely together. These neighbors shared a common religion, a love of food, and strong family traditions. Using her skills as a historian and tour guide, Augustine will guide us through the history of these interconnected communities to the present day.” Registration for the lecture is $5 and is available at www.bkhouse.org.

The Italian heritage celebration at the Beauregard-Keys House will kick off on Sunday, March 13, with a 6 PM “Music of Italy” concert featuring the Electric Yat Quartet with Violinists Natalia Cascante & Harry Hardin, violist Amelia Clingman, & cellist Jack Craft with guest vocalist Barbara Davis. Back by popular demand, the versatile program will commemorate the history of the neighborhood once known as Piccolo Palermo with performances of Pucccini’s Meson Dorma from Turandot, favorites like Santa Lucia, Volare, O Solo Mio, Buono Sera, themes from the Godfather, and more. Tickets are $35 and are available at www.bkhouse.org. Doors will open at 5:30. Light refreshments will be served.  This is a BYOB (Bring Your Own Beverages) event and guests are encouraged to bring cups, bottle openers, etc.

Per City of New Orleans COVID-19 Guidelines, everyone in attendance must wear a mask and anyone 5 years of age or older must provide proof of at least one dose of an approved COVID vaccine or negative PCR/antigen test within 72 hours.