Independence Sicilian Heritage Festival

Feb 13, 2020 311

BY: Charles Marsala

Sicilians in Independence Louisiana trace their history to the 1880s. Much like the New Orleans French Quarter, during the period 1885-1915 thousands of Sicilians migrated to Tangipahoa Parish to the railroad towns of Amite, Hammond, and Ponchatoula. The main crop was strawberries.

The first festival was held in 1972 and named “The Little Italy Festival.” In 2008 the name was changed to the “Sicilian Heritage Festival.” A major factor in the continuity of Sicilian Heritage is the orginal Mater Dolorosa Church, which is now the Italian Cultural Museum. Many artifacts have been donated. The Museum is open during the festival, which annually is the second weekend in March.

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