Summer may be over, but for Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral — known for New Orleans’ annual Memorial Day Greek festival — this year the party is just beginning.
On Friday, Oct. 10, Holy Trinity Cathedral will kick off a weekend of celebration honoring its 150th birthday with “An Evening on the Bayou.”
“It’s going to be like a more intimate, upscale version of the Greek Festival,” said Ginny Zissis, who is co-chairwoman of the event with Vickie Catsulis.
For a $50 donation, attendees will be welcomed to the grounds of the Cathedral on 1200 Robert E. Lee Blvd. starting at 6:30 p.m. with an ouzo toast and then quickly drawn in by the sumptuous smells of homemade Greek cuisine.
“All of the food will be made by members of our community, and I can tell you we have some truly excellent cooks. Some have had, or do have, their own restaurants,” said 150th Anniversary Committee Chairwoman Barbara Stavis Wolf.
In addition to traditional Greek favorites, Zissis says the event will also feature a little something unique — a Greek take on the British staple fish and chips that features a special garlic sauce.
While free to graze the wide collection of culinary fare and enjoy a cash bar stocked with popular Greek wine and beer, attendees will be treated first to the jazz/soul stylings of the Crescent City Soul and then to the Enigma Greek Band, visiting from Detroit.
Festive dancing — both from professional Hellenic dancers and the more amateur — will be an integral part of the evening.
At 9:30 p.m., attendees will enjoy a VIP view of a grand fireworks display worthy of the oldest Greek Orthodox church in both North and South America.
Advance tickets for “An Evening on the Bayou” are strongly recommended.
The following day, there may still be a few seats available for “Greeks on the Bayou,” a three-hour bus tour on Saturday, Oct. 11, that departs from Holy Trinity Cathedral at 9 a.m.
The tour bus will wind its way through New Orleans’ most famous sites while tour guide Magdalene Spirros Maag, chairwoman of Holy Trinity’s Archives Committee, shares the fascinating Greek history of the city — from the story of the first known Greek arrival in 1760 and his involvement with forming New Orleans’ first educational system, to the site of Holy Trinity’s first church on Dorgenois Street. Tickets for the “Greeks on the Bayou” city tour are $25.
Just a few hours following the completion of Saturday’s bus tour, Holy Trinity Cathedral will open from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. so that the public can enjoy a rare, and free, glimpse of more than 100 historical objects, artifacts and religious icons from Holy Trinity’s archive.
“We have everything from Bibles to artifacts used in religious ceremonies, to priestly vestments,” Maag said. “There will also be a series of panels telling the story of the church, which was first organized in 1864.”
For information on all the weekend festivities and to purchase tickets to “An Evening on the Bayou” and the “Greeks on the Bayou” city tour, visit www.gfno.com or call (504) 282-0259.