Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Louisiana Eats: Altars, Beans & Cuccidati

St. Joseph.jpg
Poppy Tooker

March 19th might be just another day in other parts of the United States, but here in New Orleans it's a day when revelers take to the streets in honor of the Feast of St. Joseph. The tradition of food altars dedicated to Jesus' foster father came to the Crescent City in the late 1800s with immigrants from Sicily, where Joseph is the patron saint. What was called Mi-Carême (or Mid-Lent by the Creoles) was a day when fasting was suspended and festivities abounded. On this week's show, we explore the holiday and join in on the celebration.

Tony Marino's family were faithful followers of St. Joseph, and today, he keeps the tradition alive at his Bourbon Street home in New Orleans' French Quarter. We sit down with Tony to hear what it takes to pull off his annual street party, complete with altars and a life-sized statue of St. Joseph.

Then, Arthur Brocato, third generation of Angelo Brocato's Ice Cream and Confectionary, joins us to share his family's history and explain the special role Brocato's has played in the St. Joseph's Day celebration. Founded in the French Quarter in 1905, the gelateria and pasticceria continues those traditions today on Carrollton Avenue in Mid-City.

Finally, historian Laura Guccione joins us to reveal what she's discovered about the fancy dress balls that were once part of the St. Joseph tradition and to explain the mystical tie between the feast day and the Mardi Gras Indians.

For more of all things Louisiana Eats, be sure to visit us at

Poppy is the host and executive producer of the weekly show, Louisiana Eats! Food personality, culinary teacher and author, Poppy Tooker is passionate about food and the people who bring it to the table.