Italian American Digest JT DIGEST Summer 2018 June First (1)
Vol. 45 No. 2
As New Orleans Celebrates Its Tricentennial, the American Italian Cultural Center
Looks Back on 300 Years of Italian Contributions to the City’s History and Culture.
The position of consul has existed since the days of the Roman Republic.
Then, it referred to a chief magistrate. In the modern context, it refers to
an official representative of the government of one state in the territory of
another. Consuls generally act to assist and protect the citizens of the rep-
resented country, and to facilitate trade and friendship
between the people of the two countries.
The Italian people have long had a strong consular
presence in New Orleans, even before they had a uni-
ar offices in
in the 1830s
to assist Ital-
ians in New
further trade connections.
The line of consuls has con-
tinued through the years until the
present day; Frank Maselli now
serves as Honorary Consul for the
Adventurers from all over the world were involved in the exploration of
the Louisiana Territory and the Mississippi River in the seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries, including intrepid individuals from the pre-unification
Henri de Tonti, a soldier from the Kingdom of Na-
ples, served as one of the chief lieutenants of the famed
French explorer Robert de La Salle. De Tonti journeyed
with La Salle on his descent along the Mississippi Riv-
er and his journals and letters serve as the best record
of this groundbreaking expedition. He was later chosen
by colonial administrator Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville
as an ambassador to the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes
and negotiated several treaties.
Over ninety years later, Giacomo Beltrami, an
author and jurist from the Lombardy region of Italy,
led an excursion on the Mississippi, but in the opposite
direction. Beltrami voyaged northwards, searching for
the source waters of the river. He was the first Euro-
pean to make initial contact with a number of Native
American tribes as he approached Canada. He also created some of the very
earliest known maps of these regions along the way. Beltrami subsequently
led another voyage through Mexico, where he collected, classified, and cata-
loged Aztec objects, plants, and animals.
- Enrico Villamaino III
Tricentennial cont. on page 3