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Russo Brothers Italian American Film Forum awards Charles Marsala Grant

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In July, Charles Geno Marsala, the President of the American Italian Federation of the Southeast and a District National Vice-President the Italian Sons and Daughters of America (ISDA), was one of eight chosen for the 2020 Russo Brothers Italian American Film Forum Grants.  

Charles Marsala, sculptor Franco Alessandrini, and Michael Santo of New York who chaired the 2019 Mayor’s Recognition of Italian contributions.

The program was started by Anthony and Joseph Russo who have a cinematic repertoire that reaches from the highest grossing Marvel films to Emmy’s for their prime-time projects.  New Orleanian Anthony Mackie is featured in several of their films including the Captain America series.

As active members of the Italian Sons and Daughters of America (ISDA), the Russo brothers have partnered with National Italian American Foundation (NAIF) and ISDA to develop The Russo Brothers Italian American Film Forum.

The Forum provides an incredible opportunity for inspired and creative artists to craft films that explore the Italian American experience.

In 2020 there were nearly 200 applicants. Eight were selected to receive the $8,000.00 grant to produce their proposed film.  Grants are awarded based on the promise of the film’s premise, how it relates to the Italian American experience, and the creative potential of the filmmaker.

Marsala produces “Celebrating Culture” which airs on WLAE-TV Sundays at 9pm. Eighteen episodes have been produced Louisiana culture, Coastal Restoration, Saving Endangered Species, and the work of Non-Profits. Eight episodes have been produced on the Sicilian Migration to New Orleans. 

Several interviews of the show have been embedded into a self-guided tour app: “New Orleans Insider Tours” which has over 400 points of interest regarding Louisiana. Over 60,000 Sicilians landed in the French Quarter during 1884-1920.  Historic Markers are being installed in the area some called: “Little Palermo.”

Marsala, was on the committee that organized the 2019 ceremony with Mayor Cantrell in which she recognized the contributions of Sicilians and Italians to New Orleans and America.  As part of that ceremony, Mayor Cantrell apologized for the 1891 involvement of City Officials in the lynching of acquitted Sicilians for the murder of Police Chief Hennessy.

Marsala’s submittal to The Russo Brothers Italian American Film Forum is to focus on the involvement of James Houston in the lynching, Houston’s business dealings, and the previous four men Houston killed.

Baton Rouge Columbus Statue erected to honor Italian Ancestors targeted

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A monument erected in 1990 to honor the Italian immigrants from 1880 to 1910 to Louisiana is how targeted for removal in Baton Rouge.

Today many third, fourth, and fifth generation Italians cherish their fathers and mothers from both current and past generations for work ethics leading to a better life for future generations.

Such was the case in the 1980s when fundraising began for statues in New Orleans and Baton Rouge were dedicated as monuments to the immigrants.

The New Orleans Monument to the Immigrant

Both sculptures are by Franco Alessandrini.

In June 2020, calls began to remove the Christopher Columbus statue in Baton Rouge as reported on local TV.

Baton Rouge Statue honoring the immigrant ancestors of over 250,000 Italians in Louisiana.

During the 1880s owning land was not possible for many Italians living in Sicily. At the same time, the plantations of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas and needed workers and recruited in Sicily. Word spread that after three years working on a plantation, a family could save enough to buy a piece of land.

Many brought corner grocery stores and lived above the store. Three to four generations later, In 1990 the descendants of those early immigrants pooled their money and erected a statue to their ancestors that took the chance as explorers to a new country.

The explorer Christopher Columbus was chosen. In 1891 America’s largest lynching was in New Orleans of eleven Italian who had immigrated to America by a mob of 5,000. Other lynching of Italians occurred in Louisiana in the years that followed. The Columbus Statue in New York was erected in 1892 in honor of those that were lynched and the commitment to America of Italian Immigrants.

Italians and Sicilians began arriving into New Orleans in the early 1800s as the Sicilian Lemon was recognized as a cure for scurvy. From the 1880s to the 1910s Sicilians and Italians were recruited in the tens of thousands to work on the plantations, the railroads, and the docks of the Mississippi River. Those early immigrants dealt with prejudice and racism.

Their hard work and family values made for a better life for their descendants. By the 1890s, those immigrants began to erect monuments to Christopher Columbus, who they viewed as an explorer seeing a better trade route in the fifteenth century. Columbus Circle in New York was erected in 1892.

Due to risky work and diseases such as Yellow Fever, death often befell the laborers and left many widows. As a result The Knights of Columbus was formed in the 1880s. During World War I, The Knights of Columbus built and operated warming huts behind enemy lines. Following World War I,

The Knights of Columbus increased its efforts to address racism in America by funding books and projects of the NAACP. In return of these efforts President Franklin Delano Roosevelt established Columbus Day as a Federal Holiday. In 1992, the descendants of those immigrants from the 1880s and in support of equality erected a statue of Christopher Columbus in Baton Rouge.

In Baton Rouge and New Orleans the Mayor’s have formed commissions to review removing monuments.

Sicilian Contribution Markers rejected for New Orleans French Quarter

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Efforts are still underway requesting the City of New Orleans to allow marker in the French Quarter which focus on the Sicilian Contributions. However since September, New Orleans has refused to proposed markers to be installed in Jackson Square, any other city land, or the river walk in the French Quarter.

After the Dingley Tariff was passed in 1897 on imported pasta, the Sicilians responded by erected eleven pasta factories in the French Quarter. One was Taormina’s which is now the site of Muriel’s located to the east of the Presbytere.

Proposed marker for Jackson Square on Sicilian Economic Contributions to the French Quarter. If approved the marker and post would be installed in Jackson Square.

Although the State of Louisiana reviewed the proposed Sicilian Heritage markers at three levels including two months for the LSU History Department to review during July and August 2019, the City of New Orleans is denying the erection of Sicilian Contribution Marker in Jackson Square.

Proposed marker for Jackson Square on Sicilian First Responder Contributions to the French Quarter. The marker cost $2,800.00 and sits in storage.

Honoring the Italian Brigade of April 25-May 1st, 1862. The Confederates left New Orleans upon the arrival of the Union Navy on April 24, 1862. This was designed to prevent the city from being burned down in a battle. The French Quarter had twice been destroyed by major fires in the 1700s.

Cabildo Fire of 1988.
French Quarter fires of 1788 and 1794.
Algiers was badly burned and looted during April 24- May 1st 1862. Thanks to the Italian Brigade, New Orleans had a peaceful transfer to the Union Army.

Honoring Military at Jackson Square

Jackson Square has been used to honor military for centuries. Orginally named the Plaza d’ Arms by the Spanish and later the site for honoring the Battle of New Orleans. For years, a parade was led by Jordon Noble, who played a drum during the battle of New Orleans. This topic was covered by Council Member Palmer in October 2019.

Jordon Noble, a slave freed in the 1830s, led an annual parade to Jackson Square to honor the veterans of the Battle of New Orleans.

Currently two annual ceremonies are held in Jackson Square to honor those who fought in the Battle of New Orleans. Link to video on celebrating the Battle of New Orleans.

January 8th memorial for the veterans of the Battle of New Orleans.

Mayor Cantrell has proposed a Cultural Fund to award over $3,000,000.00 to Cultural Non-Profits to promote tourism in New Orleans, it is hoped that this change will inspire other city officials to approve the request for locations for Sicilian Heritage markers.

Letter to Editor of The Advocate

Suggested Title: City should leverage Sicilian History for Cultural Tourism

Dear Editor,

Several anniversaries of Sicilian & Italian contributions to New Orleans occur during late April to early Summer.  The residents of New Orleans should be aware of these contributions and the City should leverage them for Cultural Tourism.

The most significant occurred during April 25th to May 1st, 1862, when approximately 280 members of the Italian Brigade were peacekeepers for the transition of New Orleans back to the Union without looting or a devastating fire as happened in Algiers. The French Quarter was devastated by fires in 1788 and 1794.

On April 24, 1862 the Union Navy pushed through River Forts in Buras Louisiana. On April 25th Admiral Farragut asked Mayor Monroe to surrender the city. The Confederate Army had already left for Camp Moore. The Sicilians were viewed as neutral and accepted by Farragut to police the city until the Union Army. During the last week of April 1862, Algiers was being looted and warehouses burned by citizens.   The efforts of the Italian Brigade spared the French Quarter this same fate.

The LSU mascot is the “Fighting Tigers,” taken in honor of Mayor Roberdeau Wheat’s Fighting Tigers from New Orleans in the Civil War.  Wheat was a US Army Major during the Mexican-American War. He was with the freedom fighter General Giuseppe Garibaldi during the 1860-1861 war of Italian Unification. They landed in Marsala Sicily on May 11, 1860 and unified Italy by March 17, 1861.  At that point in time they had 12,000 Sicilians as POWs in Abruzzo, Italy.

Wheat proposed that Garibaldi release 2,000 of the POWs to return with him to New Orleans to fight for Louisiana. Garibaldi agreed and six ships of POWs left for New Orleans. During the war, the Tiger legend was enhanced when the unit ran out of bullets and held a supply bridge by throwing rocks at Union Soldiers, until ammunition arrived.

In October 1861, President Lincoln offered Garibaldi a Brigadier General position. Garibaldi replied with two conditions: make the war about ending slavery and that Garibaldi would be Commanding General.

April 19th is the Feast Day of St. Expeditus. There is a statue of him at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, built in 1827 for Yellow Fever victims. A mural of St. Expeditus in Palermo portrays people praying at the bed of a sick person. 

After the remains of St. Rosalia were carried around Palermo three times, the plague of 1624 ceased, and the Jesuits began advocating for her worldwide. Her Feast Day is July 14th .

Historic markers have been donated with one already erected on state land. Hopefully, the city responds as favorably.   The free New Orleans Insiders Tour App “Little Palermo” works with these markers.

Regards,

Charles Marsala

President

American-Italian Federation of the Southeast

Annual Baton Rouge July Festa Cancelled

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The annual Baton Rouge Italian Heritage Festa will be cancelled for 2020 as adjusting to the social distancing rules under Corona Virus is too problematic. Many of the events do not work under the social distancing rules. For 2020 the American Italian Federation of the Southeast planned to have its bi-annual convention the Saturday of the Festa.

The Baton Rouge Italian Heritage Festa is hosted by the Baton Rouge American Italian Association. Please put 2021 on your calendar for this great event.

Prices shown are from 2019.

The Federation plans to have a luncheon on Saturday followed by the business meeting. The Federation was started in 1972 by Joseph Maselli with a charter to have bi-annual conventions. Financially it is in good standing.

Events of the 2019 Festa

2020 Federation Agenda Items

In 2019 Charles E. Marsala succeeded Victor Musso as President of the Federation, which currently has fifteen dues paying organizations. Marsala has been working on several Italian Heritage Projects: Heritage Markers in the French Quarter; 8-episode TV show airing October and November 2020 on WLAE-TV Sundays at 9pm; and a free tour app of “Little Palermo.”

Two lodges of the Italian Sons and Daughters of America were opened in Louisiana in May 2020. The ISDA platform can help Louisana Italian Heritage Clubs with its digital platform.

The Italian Sons and Daughters of America has over 700,000 followers on Facebook
The ISDA is run my Basil & Pat Russo of Cleveland Ohio. The Russo family sponsors an Italian filmmakers competition annually through NIAF.
Pat & Basil’s sons, Joe and Tony, have started Pizza Film School

Suggestions for the American Italian Federation of the Southeast should be directed to Charles Marsala.

Two Lodges for Italian Sons and Daughters of America open in Louisiana

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Two lodges of the Italian Sons and Daughters of America have opened in Louisiana. The ISDA started in 1930 and has over 700,000 followers on its Facebook Page. It has kept its strong sense of community alive and thriving to become one of the largest and most financially successful Italian American organizations in the country. It unites Italian Americans across states nationwide to celebrate our culture and preserve the traditions our ancestors brought with them from Italy.

Charles Marsala, President of the American Italian Federation of the Southeast, met with Basil Russo, President of the Italian Sons and Daughters of America at the 2019 National American Italian Federation Convention. Initial start-up funding for the lodges was provided from the Marsala Cultural Fund. Each lodge was opened with twenty-five paid memberships.

At one time Monroe Louisiana had two Italian cultural organizations, but has not had a one for several years. In recent years, conversation has evolved in Southern Louisiana has evolved on the need for a co-ed organization. Marsala plans for the lodges to offer an opportunity for younger Italians to become aware of their heritage and network at the state and national levels.

Attending the 2019 Washington D.C. National Italian American Federation Convention, Charles Marsala, Dr. John Ross, Basil and Pat Russo.

Basil and Pat Russo are the parents of movie producers Anthony and Joe Russo. The Russo Brothers are best known for producing the Captain America and Marvel Action Movies. A few years back the family started an Italian film competition, which screens the top three finalists at the NIAF Convention and determines the Best Picture of the competition.

Basil and Pat Russo with finalists from the 2019 film competition.
Movie producers Anthony and Joe Russo. Their upcoming film is “Cherry.”
Anthony and Joe Russo will kick off a Pizza and Film School on May 15th. Watch the movie of the week before Friday and discuss on-line with the Russo brothers. For more information visit the ISDA web site.

The ISDA will host its 2020 convention in Cleveland, Ohio from August 8-12th.

Cosimo Matassa is a member of the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. Matassa owned and operated J &M from 1947-1956 and added the New Orleans Beat to Rock ‘n Roll.

The ISDA promotes Italian Heritage and Culture with numerous programs.

ISDA offers Italian cooking tips on-line.

St. Rosalia Lodge of Northern Louisiana

The Northern Louisiana Lodge has been named the St. Rosalia Lodge in honor the patron saint of Palermo. Her feast day is July 14th. Roy Arthur is the Interim President.

In 1624, a plague beset Palermo. During this hardship Saint Rosalia appeared first to a sick woman, then to a hunter, to whom she indicated where her remains were to be found. She ordered him to bring her bones to Palermo and have them carried in procession through the city.

The hunter climbed the mountain and found her bones in the cave as described. He did what she had asked in the apparition. After her remains were carried around the city three times, the plague ceased. After this Saint Rosalia was venerated as the patron saint of Palermo, and a sanctuary was built in the cave where her remains were discovered

St. Expedite Lodge of Southern Louisiana

The Southern Louisiana Lodge has been named in honor of St. Expedite, whose feast day is April 19th. T.J. Stratanova is the Interim Vice-President.

At first, he was invoked for urgent causes; he has since become the patron of dealers, sailors, students, and examinees.

He is the patron saint against procrastination. He is the saint of emergencies. He loves speed. Those who need a solution to a problem immediately may turn to Saint Expedite. Many turn to him when they are experiencing financial distress, when job hunting, or in relation to legal matters.

“Expeditus” is Latin for a soldier without marching pack, i.e. a soldier with light equipment, this saint may be an anonymous individual known by his profession. He was a Christian martyr, but not much else is known about him. he appears as one of six Roman soldiers said to have been executed at Melitene during the Diocletian persecution.

As a soldier he learned about Christianity. He decided he wanted to convert to Christianity and devote his life to this new faith. As soon as he had made that decision the devil appeared before him in the form of a crow. The devil demanded that he delay his decision to join the Christian faith until the next day.

Expedite refused and firmly stated he would become a Christian today. This is why images show Saint Expedite stepping on a crow. He is killing procrastination. Basically this sends out a powerful message; the saint is crushing tomorrow and replacing it with today.

“Hodie” is the Latin word for “today”. The word “Hodie” can be seen on the cross he is holding. “Cras” is the Latin word for “tomorrow”. The word “Cras” can be seen on the banner connected to the crow.

Mural of St. Expedite in Palermo from the 19th century.

In the 1930s, during the Great Depression, a Sicilian farmer in Independence prayed to St. Expedite for strength to save his farm and family finances. After surviving the Great Depression, the farmer built a small chapel to St. Expedite.

St. Expediate Chapel in Independence Louisiana.
St. Expedite Statue at Our Lady of Guadeloupe in New Orleans. The Church is the oldest church in New Orleans, built in 1826 during Yellow Fever epidemics as a mortuary church.
Modern version of St. Expedite Society banner inspired by orginal banner hanging in Independence Louisiana Italian Museum.

Marsala added: “The ISDA is a great opportunity for today’s Italians and Sicilians of Louisiana as it implements modern technology for connecting us and promotes the values and traditions of our ancestors. We expect to expand the size of the newly formed lodges which currently have twenty-five members. These lodges can partner or affiliate with the groups in cities that put on the St. Joseph’s Altars and other Italian events.

Our goal is to increase awareness of local events and increase the attendance and volunteers of the events. ISDA gives us the platform to connect and leverage their events to build community in our region. A number of smaller towns have active St. Joseph’s Altar organizations which can benefit from networking and digital publicity.”

The ISDA Lodge template has several officer positions, which allows us to develop a platform to bring about the next generation of Italian leadership.

The ISDA Facebook Page has over 700,000 Followers.

When you join the community of the Order Italian Sons and Daughter of America, our voice as Americans of Italian descent grows stronger and more united. Your pledge of support for $25.00 includes a one-year membership status, complete with a subscription to our monthly printed edition La Nostra Voce and admittance to our nationwide virtual lodge.

Link to ISDA website to join.

Alligator Marsala Day is May 11th

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General Giusseppi Garibaldi and Major Roberdeau Wheat landed at Marsala, on the westernmost point of Sicily, on 11 May 1860 to unify Sicily and Italy. Wheat was from New Orleans and would take 1,600 Prisoners’ of War with him when he returned from Sicily in 1861 to fight as Confederates. The was the beginning of Wheat’s raising a group of men who would latter become known as “The Fighting Tiger” and be honored as the mascot of LSU. 160 years later, the Sicilian influence is felt through Louisiana in food, festivals, commerce, and politics.

May 11, 1960 Garibaldi lands in Marsala

In celebration of the day and event, Jefferson Parish now recognizes May 11th as “Alligator Marsala Day.”

Alligator Marsala Day

The Expedition of the Thousand (ItalianSpedizione dei Mille) was an event of the Italian Risorgimento that took place in 1860. A corps of volunteers led by Giuseppe Garibaldi sailed from Quarto, near Genoa (now Quarto dei Mille) and landed in MarsalaSicily, in order to conquer the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, ruled by the House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies.

The Alligator Marsala logo is used by Sicily Journal

The project was an ambitious and risky venture aiming to conquer, with a thousand men, a kingdom with a larger regular army and a more powerful navy. The expedition was a success and concluded with a plebiscite that brought Naples and Sicily into the Kingdom of Sardinia, the last territorial conquest before the creation of the Kingdom of Italy on 17 March 1861.

Chef Andrea designed the fusion of Alligator with Marsala wine into a sauce.

The sea venture was the only desired action that was jointly decided by the “four fathers of the nation” Giuseppe Mazzini, Giuseppe Garibaldi, Victor Emmanuel II, and Camillo Cavour, pursuing divergent goals. However, the Expedition was instigated by Francesco Crispi, who utilized his political influence to bolster the Italian unification project.

Frank and Paulette Stewart, Chef Andrea, Charles Marsala. Chef Andrea described Alligator Marsala as “Moma Mia!!!”

The various groups participated in the expedition for a variety of reasons: for Garibaldi, it was to achieve a united Italy; to the Sicilian bourgeoisie, an independent Sicily as part of the kingdom of Italy, and for common people, land distribution and the end of oppression.

In 2019, Michael Santo of New York led the effort for an official apology by the Mayor of New Orleans on the 1891 Lynching of Italians which involved the then Mayor Shakspeare. On the night before the event, which also included a Proclamation of Recognition by Mayor Cantrell of Sicilian contributions to New Orleans, a reception was held for the out of town guests. Alligator Marsala premiered on the menu and a Proclamation was issued by Jefferson Parish recognizing the fusion of Sicilian and Cajun in Louisiana.

Alligator Marsala: Charles Marsala, Franco Alessandrini, Michael Santo, and Sal Perricone

The 1,089 volunteers were poorly armed with dated muskets and were dressed in a minimalist uniform—consisting of a red shirt and grey trousers.

During the night of 5 May, a small group led by Nino Bixio “seized” two steamships in Genoa from the Rubattino shipping company (which the ships were actually secretly granted by the company, but done in such approach to prevent taking any responsibility by plausible deniability) in order to transport the volunteers to Sicily. They took the two ships, which they had renamed Il Piemonte and Il Lombardo, to the nearby rocks at Quarto dei MilleGenoa, where the volunteers (including Francesco Crispi’s wife, Rosalia) embarked for Sicily.[8]

Landing in Sicily

The ships were then accompanied by the British Royal Navy which consisted of HMS Hannibal followed by the gunboats Argus and Intrepid under the command of Admiral Rodney Mundy. They landed at Marsala, on the westernmost point of Sicily, on 11 May. With British ships present in the harbour thus deterred the Bourbon ships from interfering. The Lombardo was attacked and sunk only after the disembarkation had been completed, while the Piemonte was captured. The landing had been preceded by the arrival of Francesco Crispi and others, who had the task of gaining the support of the locals for the volunteers.

On 14 May, at Salemi, Garibaldi announced that he was assuming dictatorship over Sicily in the name of King Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia.

Alligator Marsala

With 12,000 POWs, Garibaldi opted to sent up to 2,000 to New Orleans rather than feed them or release them.

A museum in Abruzzo tells the story of the 1,600 Sicilian Prisoners of War sent to New Orleans to fight as Confederates in 1861.

The Zouave Uniform of Italy 1860 was seen on the battlefields of the Civil War.

The Zouave Uniform was worn by the 1860 Papal Army. Major Wheat’s photo is in the background.

Cosimo Matassa’s New Orleans studio recorded “Tutti Fruiti” by Little Richard

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J & M Studios owned by Cosimo Matassa recorded Little Richard and recorded “Tutti Frutti” in 1955 at 840 North Rampart Street. Matassa is part of a trio of New Orleans Italians honored with a Historic Marker at the Jazz Museum in New Orleans. Nick Larocca recorded the first Jass record in 1916 and later changed the name to Jazz. Louis Prima was part of the Swing era. Matassa is credited with the New Orleans sound that contributed to Rock ‘n Roll.

Charles Marsala of New Orleans Insider Tours in front of J & M Studios holding a listing of the artists that recorded with Cosimo Matassa.

“Little Richard rolled into Cosimo Matassa’s J&M Studio (1947-1956) at 840 N. Rampart in New Orleans and cut the epochal “Tutti Frutti” in the fall of 1955. Richard wailed “A wop bop a loo mop a lomp bomp bomp” and kicked off one of the first great wailers in rock history.

In 1956’s Here’s Little Richard — his boogie-woogie piano stylings weren’t all that different from what Fats Domino had been laying down since 1949, and his band pumped out the New Orleans backbeat that would define the Crescent City’s R&B for the next two decades, albeit with precision and plenty of groove.”

“Little Richard rolled into Cosimo Matassa’s J&M Studio (1947-1956) at 840 N. Rampart in New Orleans and cut the epochal “Tutti Frutti” in the fall of 1955. Richard wailed “A wop bop a loo mop a lomp bomp bomp” and kicked off one of the first great wailers in rock history. In 1956’s Here’s Little Richard — his boogie-woogie piano stylings weren’t all that different from what Fats Domino had been laying down since 1949, and his band pumped out the New Orleans backbeat that would define the Crescent City’s R&B for the next two decades, albeit with precision and plenty of groove.” Charles Marsala of www.AWE.News and the self-guided tour app “New Orleans Insider Tours” explains the story in front of the former site of J & M Studios.

Former site of J & M Studios
Cosimo Matassa
Marker of J & M Studio
Cosimo Matassa

Rolling Stone reported on Little Richard’s death with “A Founding Father” in the title. In New Orleans J & M Studio opened in 1947. Two years later, Fats Domino’s was recognized with converting the New Orleans Beat into Rock and Rock starting in 1949 with the song the “Fat Man.” For nine years Matassa’s J & M Studio turned out artists that became stars by converting the New Orleans Beat into Rock ‘n Roll.

Rolling Stone wrote: “Little Richard, a founding father of rock & roll whose fervent shrieks, flamboyant garb, and joyful, gender-bending persona embodied the spirit and sound of that new art form, died Saturday. He was 87. The musician’s son, Danny Jones Penniman, confirmed the pioneer’s death to Rolling Stone. The cause of death was bone cancer, the musician’s lawyer Bill Sobel told Rolling Stone.

Cosimo Matassa

Starting with “Tutti Frutti” in 1956, Little Richard cut a series of unstoppable hits – “Long Tall Sally” and “Rip It Up” that same year, “Lucille” in 1957, and “Good Golly Miss Molly” in 1958 – driven by his simple, pumping piano, gospel-influenced vocal exclamations and sexually charged (often gibberish) lyrics. “I heard Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis, and that was it,” Elton John told Rolling Stone in 1973. “I didn’t ever want to be anything else. I’m more of a Little Richard stylist than a Jerry Lee Lewis, I think. Jerry Lee is a very intricate piano player and very skillful, but Little Richard is more of a pounder.” ”

St. Expedite Novena for the Sick and Financially Stressed

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St. Expedite Statue at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in New Orleans

St. Expedite’s Feast Day is April 19th.

Editor’s Comments: I first learned of St. Expedite in 2019, when seeing the St. Expedite Society Banner in the Sicilian Museum in Independence Louisiana. I was taken out to a small Chapel built in his honor following the Great Depression to honor a commitment made the farmer who prayed for financial relief to save his family’s home.

Research led to learning of a St. Expedite Statue at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church on Rampart Street in New Orleans. The Church was built to bury the dead during a severe Yellow Fever epidemic in the 1820s.

Some, such as Fr. Dan Cambra, tell a humorous story about how the crate with the statue arrived to the Ursuline nuns and of confusion as to who it was. I prefer to believe it was intentionally shipped to a city besieged with Yellow Fever that was equipping a special church. Included in the shipment was the Shrine to St. Jude, the “Patron Saint of Lost Causes.”

The St. Expedite Novena gives structured prayer to help New Orleans in times of epidemics and financial hardships. Today Our Lady of Guadeloupe’s ministry is helping those facing financial hardship via the St. Jude cafeteria.

As New Orleans and the world are experiencing both a time of sickness and financial hardship, structured prayer can be a powerful tool of faith.

Prayer to Saint Expedite

“I ask you, Saint Expedite, to aid me in my financial difficulties. Let your strength and support protect my income and help me obtain enough money so that I will not suffer need and want.

Please let peace and enjoyment reign in my household. I ask you and pray that my wishes be granted, and glorify your intercession. Amen”

Saint Expedite

Saint Expedite is patron saint over all urgent matters. He also goes by the name Saint Expeditus. He is also patron saint against procrastination.

He is the saint of emergencies. He loves speed.

Who was Saint Expedite?

He lived in the fourth century. He was a Roman soldier. This is why most images of Expedite show him dressed in clothes like a soldier. As a soldier he learned about Christianity. He decided he wanted to convert to Christianity and devote his life to this new faith.

As soon as he had made that decision the devil appeared before him in the form of a crow. The devil demanded that he delay his decision to join the Christian faith until the next day.

Expedite refused and firmly stated he would become a Christian today. This is why images show Saint Expedite stepping on a crow. He is killing procrastination. “Hodie” is the Latin word for “today”. The word “Hodie” can be seen on the cross he is holding.

“Cras” is the Latin word for “tomorrow”. The word “Cras” can be seen on the banner connected to the crow. Basically this sends out a powerful message; the saint is crushing tomorrow and replacing it with today.

He was beheaded on April 19th , 303 during the Diocletian Persecution. The day he converted to Christianity.

St. Expedite Novena Mural in Palermo contains images of people praying over the sick on days three and four.

St. Expedite Mural Novena in Palermo

St. Expedite Statues in Louisiana

The St. Expedite Chapel in Independence Louisiana built for thanks by a family that survived Great Depression of the 1930s.
Reportedly the farmer in Independence prayed to St. Expedite and his farm and family survived the Great Depression.
After that year, the Sicilians of Independence formed the St. Expedite Society. This is a new banner made in 2019 inspired after learning the story at the Sicilian Museum in Independence.

St. Expedite Statue is in the rear of Our Lady of Guadalupe in New Orleans.

Built during Yellow Fever epidemics.

Novena to Saint Expedite

The word Novena is derived for the Latin word for the number nine “Novem.”

For the most part, a Novena is often undertaken with a certain request in mind, and spans over nine days. Each Day has its own prayer. You can also do a Novena over nine hours as well in which those prayers are said over nine hours instead of days.  Nearly all Catholic Saints have a tradition in which they have a Novena in their name.

The concept of the Novena is said to be derived from a passage in the New Testament. Acts 1:14, “They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.”

However, all it says is that Jesus’ disciples and Mary prayed constantly but does not indicate how many days. It was later extrapolated to mean that they prayed for nine days until the Pentecost.

Day 1

Opening Prayer:

“Oh Saint Expeditus, my protector, in you I place my hope that my petitions may be granted if they are for my own good. Please ask Our Lord, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, for the forgiveness of my sins, and the grace to change my life, particularly the grace … (mention here the particular grace desired) and I promise to follow your examples and will propagate this devotion to you.”

Prayer:

“Glorious Martyr, Saint Expeditus, through the lively faith which was granted you by God, I ask you to awaken the same faith in my heart, that I may also believe wholeheartedly that there is a God, but most particularly that I may be saved from sinning against Him.”

Now Say the “Our Father” Prayer Three times:

“Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.”

Say the “Hail Mary” Once:

Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death Amen.”

Closing Prayer – Say the “Memorare to the Blessed Virgin Mary” Once:

“Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.”

Day 2:

Opening Prayer:

“Oh Saint Expeditus, my protector, in you I place my hope that my petitions may be granted if they are for my own good. Please ask Our Lord, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, for the forgiveness of my sins, and the grace to change my life, particularly the grace … (mention here the particular grace desired) and I promise to follow your examples and will propagate this devotion to you.”

Prayer:

“O Glorious Martyr, Saint Expedius, through the enviable hope given you by God, pray that those of little belief may be penetrated by some rays of hope so that they also receive eternal things; please pray that ardent hope in God be also given me and hold me steadfast in the midst of sufferings.”

Now Say the “Our Father” Prayer Three times:

“Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.”

Say the “Hail Mary” Once:

Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death Amen.”

Closing Prayer – Say the “Memorare to the Blessed Virgin Mary” Once:

“Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.”

Day 3:

Opening Prayer:

“Oh Saint Expeditus, my protector, in you I place my hope that my petitions may be granted if they are for my own good. Please ask Our Lord, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, for the forgiveness of my sins, and the grace to change my life, particularly the grace … (mention here the particular grace desired) and I promise to follow your examples and will propagate this devotion to you.”

Prayer:

“O Glorious Martyr, Saint Expeditus, through the endless love which Our Lord planted in your heart, please remove from mine all the shackles tied by worldliness, that without them I may love only God in all eternity.”

Now Say the “Our Father” Prayer Three times:

“Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.”

Say the “Hail Mary” Once:

Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death Amen.”

Closing Prayer – Say the “Memorare to the Blessed Virgin Mary” Once:

“Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.”

Day 4:

Opening Prayer:

“Oh Saint Expeditus, my protector, in you I place my hope that my petitions may be granted if they are for my own good. Please ask Our Lord, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, for the forgiveness of my sins, and the grace to change my life, particularly the grace … (mention here the particular grace desired) and I promise to follow your examples and will propagate this devotion to you.”

Prayer:

“O Glorious Martyr, Saint Expeditus, who knew full well the teaching of the Divine Teacher to carry the cross and follow Him, ask Him for the graces I need that I may fight my own passions.”

Now Say the “Our Father” Prayer Three times:

“Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.”

Say the “Hail Mary” Once:

Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death Amen.”

Closing Prayer – Say the “Memorare to the Blessed Virgin Mary” Once:

“Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.”

Day 5:

Opening Prayer:

“Oh Saint Expeditus, my protector, in you I place my hope that my petitions may be granted if they are for my own good. Please ask Our Lord, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, for the forgiveness of my sins, and the grace to change my life, particularly the grace … (mention here the particular grace desired) and I promise to follow your examples and will propagate this devotion to you.”

Prayer:

“O Glorious Martyr, Saint Expeditus, through the bountiful graces you received from Heaven that you may conserve all your virtues, grant also that I may get rid of all the feelings that block my way to Heaven.”

Now Say the “Our Father” Prayer Three times:

“Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.”

Say the “Hail Mary” Once:

Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death Amen.”

Closing Prayer –  Say the “Memorare to the Blessed Virgin Mary” Once:

“Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.”

Day 6:

Opening Prayer:

“Oh Saint Expeditus, my protector, in you I place my hope that my petitions may be granted if they are for my own good. Please ask Our Lord, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, for the forgiveness of my sins, and the grace to change my life, particularly the grace … (mention here the particular grace desired) and I promise to follow your examples and will propagate this devotion to you.”

Prayer:

“O Glorious Martyr, Saint Expeditus, through the sufferings and humiliations which you received for the love of God, grant me also this grace which is very pleasing to God and free me from anger and hardness of heart which is the stumbling block of my soul.”

Now Say the “Our Father” Prayer Three times:

“Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.”

Say the “Hail Mary” Once:

Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death Amen.”

Closing Prayer – Say the “Memorare to the Blessed Virgin Mary” Once:

“Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.”

Day 7:

Opening Prayer:

“Oh Saint Expeditus, my protector, in you I place my hope that my petitions may be granted if they are for my own good. Please ask Our Lord, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, for the forgiveness of my sins, and the grace to change my life, particularly the grace … (mention here the particular grace desired) and I promise to follow your examples and will propagate this devotion to you.”

Prayer:

“O Glorious Martyr, Saint Expeditus, you know that prayer is the golden key that will open the Kingdom of Heaven, teach me to pray in a manner which is desirable to Our Lord and to His Heart, that I may live only for Him, that I may die only for Him, and that I may pray only to Him in all eternity.”

Now Say the “Our Father” Prayer Three times:

“Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.”

Say the “Hail Mary” Once:

Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death Amen.”

Closing Prayer – Say the “Memorare to the Blessed Virgin Mary” Once:

“Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.”

Day 8:

Opening Prayer:

“Oh Saint Expeditus, my protector, in you I place my hope that my petitions may be granted if they are for my own good. Please ask Our Lord, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, for the forgiveness of my sins, and the grace to change my life, particularly the grace … (mention here the particular grace desired) and I promise to follow your examples and will propagate this devotion to you.”

Prayer:

“O Glorious Martyr, Saint Expeditus, through the clean desires that reigned in all your feelings, words, and actions, please let them guide me also in my endless search for the glory of God and the good of my fellow men.”

Now Say the “Our Father” Prayer Three times:

“Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.”

Say the “Hail Mary” Once:

Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death Amen.”

Closing Prayer – Say the “Memorare to the Blessed Virgin Mary” Once:

“Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.”

Day 9:

Opening Prayer:

“Oh Saint Expeditus, my protector, in you I place my hope that my petitions may be granted if they are for my own good. Please ask Our Lord, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, for the forgiveness of my sins, and the grace to change my life, particularly the grace … (mention here the particular grace desired) and I promise to follow your examples and will propagate this devotion to you.”

Prayer:

“O Glorious Martyr, Saint Expeditus, who was so much loved by the Queen of Heaven, that to you nothing was denied, ask her, please my advocate, that through the sufferings of her Divine Son and her own sorrows, I may receive this day the grace I ask of you; but above all the grace to die first before I commit any mortal sin.”

Now Say the “Our Father” Prayer Three times:

“Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.”

Say the “Hail Mary” Once:

Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death Amen.”

Closing Prayer – Say the “Memorare to the Blessed Virgin Mary” Once:

“Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.”

St. Expedite Holy Card s and Medals were given out in 2019 at a New Orleans Italian banquet.

Archbishop’s Spirit Flight in New Orleans compares to St. Rosalia in Palermo

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On Good Friday 2020 The Big Easy Wing Unit of the Commemorative Air Force arranged to take New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond and Rabi Alexis Erheim on Spirit Flights to bless New Orleans from a Pt-17 Stearman bi-plane.

Archbishop Aymond gives a “Thumbs Up” before take off.

The Archbishop’s flight was at 10:00am followed by Rabi Alexis Erdheim’s flight at noon. The Archbishop had recovered from the Corona Virus just days before.

Preparing for takeoff.

The Big Easy Wing limited the flight crew team, pilots, and photographers to ten people to maintain social distancing in the hanger.

The pilots and flight crew of the Big Easy Wing with Archbishop Aymond. The chapter is led by David Capo on the far left. Left to Right David Capo, Robert Claypool, Harold Buchler,
Jeff Segner behind Archbishop’s hand, Archbishop Aymond, Jim Shaw behind Jim Helms hand, Jim Helms, Terry Clausing Pilots Jim Helms and Jim Shaw are second and third from the right.

New Orleans is 35% Catholic with over 100 parishes and churches. During the period of the Corona Virus-19 pandemic social distancing is being practiced and thus the churches are closed.

Pilot Jim Helms installed a Go-pro to video the flight as Archbishop Aymond blessed the city with Holy Water from the River Jordon, where Jesus Christ was baptized.

Archbishop Gregory Aymond blessing New Orleans from a PT-17 Stearman on Good Friday.

The Archbishop prayed for all government leaders, first responders, and care givers.

Pilots Jim Shaw and Jim Helms (on ground) with Archbishop Aymond.

Following the Archbishop’s flight, Rabi Alex Erdheim did a spiritual flight to bless New Orleans. The Big Easy Wing is a Unit of the Commemorative Air Force and was founded in 2017. The CAF was founded in the 1950 and has over 150 planes in its flying museum.

The Big Easy Wing is part of the Commemorative Air Force.

The event was arranged by BEW Commander David Capo who titled the concept “Spirit Flights” and stated: “People could just come out of their houses and get a blessing from the air.”

New Orleans’ high percent of Catholics is due to several reasons. One is the 1885-1915 migration of over 60,000 Sicilians to work on the river plantations, the shipping docks at the port of New Orleans, and build the railroads of the south.

Sicilians are a spiritual group known for the annual celebrations around St. Joseph’s Day to whom they prayed to end a multi-year draught. The tradition is marked in New Orleans with altars to feed the poor and celebrations of thanks for the blessing Sicilians enjoy.

St. Rosalia  is the patron saint of Palermo in Italy, and three towns in  Venezuela. She is especially important internationally as a saint invoked in times of plague. Today she is being invoked by the citizens of Palermo to protect the city from Covid-19.

In 1624, a plague beset Palermo. During this hardship Saint Rosalia appeared first to a sick woman, then to a hunter, to whom she indicated where her remains were to be found. She ordered him to bring her bones to Palermo and have them carried in procession through the city. An annual procession for St. Rosalia is held in Kenner Louisiana, a neighboring town of New Orleans on her July 14th Feast Day.

St. Rosalia in Palermo

The hunter climbed the mountain and found her bones in the cave as described. He did what she had asked in the apparition. After her remains were carried around the city three times, the plague ceased. After this Saint Rosalia was venerated as the patron saint of Palermo, and a sanctuary was built in the cave where her remains were discovered

Saint Expeditus. Oil painting in Palermo

There is a Statue of St. Expediate in Our Lady of Guadeloupe Church in New Orleans. the Church was built in 1827 for victims of Yellow Fever. His feast day in April 19th.

Saint Expeditus is seen as a saint capable to expedite and achieve any secular end, especially success in trade, in examinations, and in lawsuits. Of the four scenes on the sides of the painting in Palermo, the upper left one shows a sick-room, with a patient in bed, very ill, three bystanders making gestures of despair, and a statue of Saint Expeditus in a wall-shrine. The upper right one shows a sick-room with a patient in bed, a physician taking the patient’s pulse, four bystanders in prayer, and a wall-shrine bearing a figure of Saint Expeditus. 

Commemorative Air Force Videos

The Big Easy Wing invited AWE.News exclusively to be inside the hanger due to a limit of 10 individuals. Joey Harmon and Charles Marsala of AWE News filmed and posted on their You Tube Channel and photographed the event. AWE News was created to report on people and organizations doing “Awesome” such as honoring veterans. Previously AWE News has done video stories on other planes of the Commemorative Air Force including the C-47 “That’s All Brother” and the B-29 “Fifi.

The Commemorative Air Force is a flying museum of over 150 World War II planes with units in many states. Frequently the CAF supplies the planes for vintage air shows.

Mother Cabrini arrived in New Orleans in 1892 to help with Yellow Fever Epedemic

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Mother Cabrini opened an orphanage in the French Quarter in 1892

As a Yellow Fever Epedemic was leaving many orphans in New Orleans, Mother Cabrini arrived.

In 1904, she received $75,000.00 from Captain Salvatore Pizzati to build a new orphange which is became Cabrini High School in 1959.

Mother Cabrini Statue at Harrison and Canal Blvds.

Records show that 7,849 people died in New Orleans in 1853 due to yellow fever. The total between 1817 and 1905 was in excess of 41,000. As yellow fever was very easy to diagnose (in the latter phases of the sickness at least), these figures exclude other causes of death.

Although this year represents the highest single-year figures, death tolls in previous and subsequent years throughout the 19th century often approached the levels of 1853. Studies will also show that the vast majority of victims were of immigrant stock; as yellow fever is a viral infection, previous infection by a less deadly strain would (mostly) serve to inoculate against future infection.

The last known epidemic of yellow fever in the United States occurred in Louisiana in 1905. Due to the intensity and frequency of these epidemics, it was often referred to as the “saffron scourge.”

The first case of yellow fever to strike Louisiana occurred in 1769, but the first epidemic transpired in 1796 when 638 people (out of a population of 8,756) died from the disease, translating into a mortality rate of 72.86 per thousand. In the 100-year period between 1800 and 1900, yellow fever assaulted New Orleans for sixty-seven summers.

Its main victims were immigrants and newcomers to the city, and for this reason it was also referred to as the “stranger’s disease.” The worst epidemic years coincided with some of the highest levels of Irish and German immigration into the city: 1847, 1853, 1854, 1855, and 1858.

It was not until 1900 that researchers discovered the cause of yellow fever. Before this discovery, many different “cures” were tried. Physicians most often relied upon bloodletting, blistering, purging, leeching, vomiting, and mercury.

Many New Orleans residents dismissed the threat posed by mosquitoes. Open wooden cisterns were the norm for collecting drinking water and, unfortunately, perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

In 1905, Italian immigrants unloading a cargo ship of bananas in New Orleans contracted yellow fever. Soon the fever spread, and the city asked the federal government for assistance. Orders were issued to fumigate New Orleans as well as to close all open sources of water and screen in cisterns. Residents were fined if they failed to comply. This dictate even included the holy water receptacles located at the entrances of Catholic churches after Archbishop Placide Louis Chapelle died from yellow fever. This final yellow fever epidemic in the United States ended in New Orleans in October 1905 with a total of 452 deaths.