On the Saturday before March 19th (Saint Joseph Day) each year Anne Dale Jeweller transforms her jewelry store from diamonds to pasta… a festive cultural event that is uniquely New Orleans.
The 2013 Saint Joseph Altar was the largest to date, being featured on WLAE-TV and WYES-TV created at times standing room only as people enjoyed the food, history, singing and Italian culture in the jewelry store. “It is a group event we start baking Italian cookies by the thousands right after New Year, then Friday the day before the Altar, we lock-up all the jewelry and transform the showroom in a New Orleans style Saint Joseph Altar” – Anne Dale. “I like to describe the altar as “New Orleans style” because it reflects the traditions of many different Sicilian families.
Some of the things placed on the altar we are not 100% sure as to why, blessed lemons, for example do they bring good luck, a husband or a newborn? Many Sicilian families had different beliefs to the symbolism (and sometimes arguments) but to take a line from Fiddler on the Roof “why do we do it – Tradition”. Our altar is a melting pot (a gumbo) of these beliefs and historically accurate (but a lot more fun) where everyone is welcome to a Big Easy style celebration. God willing it will continue for many years to come, we may be overflowing into the parking lot next year or even find a larger venue if it continues to grow but it is said Saint Joseph does nothing small.”