Celebrating Italian American Heritage in New Orleans

Committed to keeping our heritage prevalent in New Orleans and paying homage to our forefathers

The Italian American St Joseph Society is one of the largest ethnic organizations in the Southeastern United States.

It was founded by Joseph Cardenia and friends in 1970 and has climbed to heights of 1500 members in recent years. Our objective is to keep our Italian heritage prevalent in New Orleans, the destination of so many of our forefathers in the 19th and 20th centuries. Our organization is unique in that we have incorporated the focal point of New Orleans’ festive culture, the parade, into our love of our Italian heritage. We do this in celebration of St. Joseph’s Day each year.

The evening begins with pizza, wine, and Italian music, then the marchers, dressed in black tuxedos, proceed to parade through New Orleans’ famous French Quarter. Thousands of locals and tourists line the streets to take part in our celebration. We exchange salutations, hand out silk flowers and fava beans, and dance and sing with the bystanders. We follow the parade with a gala in the grand ballroom of the New Orleans Hilton, where our beautiful, young Italian signorinas are presented. We sip the wine and dance the Tarantella all night long. This event is the pinnacle of each year; however, we do enjoy events throughout the year.

This great organization allows all of the Italian Americans in New Orleans to enjoy the company of one another in a fun and festive environment. We celebrate life in appreciation of our heritage and strive to keep it significant in our city as it has been for over 100 years. We sincerely invite you, as an Italian American, to join the Italian American St Joseph Society and celebrate your heritage with us in New Orleans.

St. Joseph’s Altar: An Important Part of Italian American Culture in New Orleans

To celebrate St. Joseph’s Feast Day (March 19), ornate altars are erected in several locations across the city. People adorn the altars with a variety of Italain food, drinks, and symbols to give thanks, to ask for prayers, and to share with those who are in need.

Many churches in the New Orleans area open their St. Joseph’s Altars for viewings and also provide free meals to the public in honor of St. Joseph’s Day. Below are just a few.

St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church
St. Angela Merici Church
St. Joseph Church
Archbishop Chapelle High School

Learn more about the amazing story behind the St. Joseph’s Altar!

St. Joseph Altar at St. Francis Xavier, Metairie, LA.