Marsala Cultural Fund established to Promote Italian Heritage

Editor August 24, 2015 Comments Off on Marsala Cultural Fund established to Promote Italian Heritage
Marsala Cultural Fund established to Promote Italian Heritage

Charles Geno Marsala with Frank Maselli, Honorary Italian Consulate of New Orleans, at the Annual Opera in the Pizza.

For the last three months cameras have been rolling in South Louisiana to document Awesome Italians and the events around them.

Three videos have been produced so far documenting Vincent Liberto receiving the Italian Republic Day Award at the Italian Bocce Club in Metairie, The June Opera in the Piazza, and Mary Clare Bruscato Davis cutting the ribbon in honor of her husband at the Frank Davis Bridge dedication.

The videos are posted on under Awesome People.  They can also be seen on the Facebook page:  Italian Events in New Orleans.

Funding has come from a Donor Advised Fund established with the Northshore Community Foundation in memory of Joseph Peter Marsala and his parents Charles Sr. and Josephine Feraci.

The advisor to the fund is Covington based businessman Charles Eugene Marsala, whose weekly column “6 Steps to Financial Legacy” is being turned into a book.  Marsala is licensed as a Financial Advisor and Insurance Representative, with LPL Financial. He is a Mortgage Broker through Mandeville based Alpha Mortgage.

Marsala noted that the Community Foundation has numerous vehicles to provide for the “Legacy” part of remembering someone.   Marsala is an advisor to the Krewe of Awe Fund, which is a Field of Interest Fund also based out of the Northshore Foundation.

The Krewe of AWE Fund provides for Education on Vanishing Species and Restoration efforts in Lake Pontchartrain and the Gulf of Mexico.

The next video concept under consideration is a South Louisiana Italian Dining video, to inform visitors to the area of the breadth of fine Italian Cuisine.

Italian pride was instilled in Joe Marsala, through his dad, Charles Vincent Marsala, Sr. who was a leader in the Louisiana Italian Community during the 1950-1970s.

Charles Sr. lead an organization of six Italian Social Clubs in the State of Louisiana known as the Progressive Mens’ Club, headquartered in Monroe.  A staple of the organization was the annual state conference held every Labor Day weekend.

Charles Senior’s experience and organization skills were used throughout the Southeast and resulted in his receiving the Cavaliere Award from the Italian Republic government.

Joe Marsala built many St. Joseph Altars, marched in the Italian French Quarter Parade, taught Bocce at San Genaro Festivals, and dreamed of visiting Sicily.  The MCF is considering a scholarship program towards a cultural trip to Sicily.

Filming and editing of the video’s has been by Joey Harmon, who is working with Charles Geno Marsala to produce the October documentary on WLAE TV called: “Awesome Wildlife Effort”.

Designed by the Krewe of AWE,  “Awesome Wildlife Effort” opens with the message of St. Francis of Assisi and Pope Francis towards animals.  Local artists and local sanctuary operators are interviewed on later episodes.  After each episode an African Wildlife film is shown on the Vanishing Species of Rhinos, Lions, and Elephants.

The concept of a video of NOLA Italian dining is to document the great Italian chefs of New Orleans and encourage visitors to be aware of the high quality of Italian dining New Orleans offers.

Charles Marsala remarked, “NOLA once had an area called “Little Palermo”  along Decatur Street, near the wharf where immigrantrs arrived. That has ended long ago and NOLA no longer has a “Little Italy”, “North Beach”, or “North End.” Many visitors do not know of the dining quality and heritage of Sicilians to developing New Orleans and Louisiana.

“The original restaurant was opened by my maternal grandfather Geno and grandmother Rosalie Bruscato in 1964 in the Original Italian part of Monroe. It reached 50 years old last year and through the efforts of my aunt and uncle still provides great food and family dining.  Whenever there I am fascinated to here the stories of grandparents that had their first date at Geno’s or became engaged.  I call it “Love at First Bite!”

The stories of the first, second, third, and now fourth generation Italians can be told though the legacies of restaurants in Louisiana.

Geno was an active member in the Knights of Columbus, which  nationally created an insurance funds for widows and orphans around the turn of the century.   The mission statement of the Knights reads: “The ceremonial of the Order of the Knights of Columbus teaches a high and noble patriotism, instills a love of country, inculcates a reverence of civic duty and holds up the Constitution of our Country as the richest and most precious possession of a Knight of the Order.

We are working with Honorary Italian Consulate Frank Maselli of New Orleans to show our films in the museum part of the American Italian Cultural Center which has a wonderful Fountain, gift shop, ancestry research department, and organizational displays.

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