Italian American Digest JT DIGEST Summer 2018 June First (1)

Vol. 45 No. 2 Summer 2018 Circulation 20,000 Tanti Auguri, 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. CONSULS 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- fied Italian state! The Italian City States estab- lished consul- ar offices in New Orleans in the 1830s to assist Ital- ians in New Orleans and 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 Italian states. 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 EXPLORERS