Louisiana native Charles Marsala has done a lot to promote the history of Italian life in the Bayou State. From creating hours of documentary videos to a mobile app that provides a free walking tour of over sixty Italian American points of interest in and around the Crescent City, the President of the American Italian Federation of the Southeast never rests in his efforts to promote the immense Italian heritage of his home state.
His latest project is one that clearly has a special place in his big Sicilian heart because Charles is one of the many Louisianans who can claim an ancestor amongst the 60,000 Sicilian immigrants who were recruited between 1870-1920 to work as sugarcane harvesters on the plantations and farms of South Louisiana. And now, this proud descendent of those tireless laborers is returning to one of the area’s historic sugar plantations with plans to build a monument in their honor.
In this week’s episode, Charles returns to the Italian American Podcast to tell us the story of the proposed monument to the Sicilian Sugarcane Harvester. Designed by Franco Alessandrini (creator of New Orleans’ beloved Monument to the Immigrant), this stunning piece of public art will forever memorialize the Sicilian experience on the grounds of a former sugarcane plantation.
Charles explains how this monument will be located in the heart of the “river parishes” in Louisiana and why sugarcane, the cash crop of the post-Civil War south, attracted so many Sicilian immigrants to a life of back-breaking toil.
We’re discussing remembrances of our ancestors and why each generation stands on the work-weary shoulders of those who came before.
If you are interested in contributing to fundraising efforts for this monument, visit www.sugarcaneharvester.org.
This episode is sponsored by Mediaset Italia.