New Orleans’ premiere boutique hotel, International House, has continuously offered since their doors opened in 1998, locals and visitors alike to experience the rites and rituals that heighten daily life in this most spiritual city. On the evening of Tuesday, March 19, 5:30PM-7:00PM, the hotel honors one of the most undisclosed customs celebrated in springtime, the Italian Feast for San Giuseppe, known as St. Joseph’s Day, with complimentary accordion music, Sicilian Sfincione [pizza] by chef Emeril Lagasse’s team, breads by Angelo’s, a sidewalk café, and chalk art.
Like the extensive Sicilian community in New Orleans, who practice this ritual in their own homes and neighborhood churches, International House pays tribute to St. Joseph and his day with an altar installation representing New Orleans’ culinary and cultural societies. Just inside the hotel, great artistry unfolds with a whimsical display of varied Italian cookies from Angelo Brocato; hearty loaves of bread from Angelo’s Bakery; Sicilian Pizza compliments of chefs Emeril Lagasse, David Slater, and Jeremy Fogg; and handcrafted statues, artifacts, and symbolic relics. Additionally, a chalk artist will be at work creating purposeful, temporal sidewalk art on the steps and sidewalk of the hotel, illustrating that life is a gift.
Italian aperitifs and cocktails like Saint Rosalie and the Belucci are the perfect choices to imbibe. “The Limone di Sorrento [Sorrento Lemon] is the secret ingredient in the award-winning limoncello served at Loa. It is made each year from the lemons grown in our Bywater garden. The first sip will transport you to the hillsides of the Amalfi Coast,” said Alan Walter, creative director at Loa.
The soul of New Orleans is shaped by the contours of its rituals—rituals inherited from the earliest immigrants who settled in New Orleans. Central to this offering is the altar and its creativity that permeates the celebratory gifts. No one tells the story better than the altar-makers, master bakers, and New Orleanians that keep these traditions alive.