New Orleanian Creates Virtual St. Joseph Altar

Thanks to Dominic Massa, the following appeared on in March 2004:

The creation of former New Orleanian Evann Duplantier, the virtual St. Joseph altar web site explains the history and rituals of the annual tradition, which lives on in New Orleans, thanks to the efforts of Italian-American families, churches, schools and other organizations. The largely Roman Catholic tradition (passed down through generations of Sicilians) includes setting up elaborate altars to St. Joseph, to give thanks for favors granted, or to ask for petitions to be heard. As Duplantier’s web site explains, during a terrible famine, the people of Sicily pleaded to St. Joseph, their patron saint, for relief. St. Joseph answered their prayers, and the famine ended. In gratitude, they prepared a table with foods they had harvested. After paying homage to St. Joseph, they distributed the food to the less fortunate. The tradition continues today, with hours of volunteer work going into the altar, including baking special cookies, breads and pastries, and cooking all of the food that goes onto the altar. Duplantier’s web site includes the history of the St. Joseph altar tradition, a section for prayer offerings and petitions, photos of the traditional foods, and even a listing of several altars in the New Orleans area. Other locations can be found in the classified section of the daily newspaper, in the days leading up to March 19.

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