Italian American marching club prepares for St. Joseph’s day

NEW ORELANS(WGNO)--The Italian American Marching Club 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. The objective is to keep Italian heritage prevalent in New Orleans, the destination of so many of their forefathers in the 19th and 20th centuries.

On March 18th, the day before St. Joseph's day they will parade in celebration of St. Joseph. 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.

They exchange salutations, hand out silk flowers and fava beans, and dance and sing with the bystanders. They follow the parade with a gala in the grand ballroom of the New Orleans Hilton, where the beautiful, young Italian signorinas are presented. Sipping wine and dancing to the Tarantella all night long, it is not forgotten that St. Joseph once saved the city of Sicily from famine.

"St. Joeseph is the patron St. of Sicily, way way back when there was famine in Sicily they prayed to St. Joseph and the only crop to grow was the fava bean which is where we get the luck bean from, and so we honor St. Joseph every year," said Darryl Cortello. "The feast day is March 19th and every year we have our parade either on that day or the Saturday before."

The organization allows all of the Italian Americans in New Orleans to enjoy the company of one another in a fun and festive environment.