Members of the American Society of Italian Heritage celebrated the Festa di San Guiseppe, or Feast of St. Joseph, during a recent dinner at Benedict’s Plantation in Mandeville.

President Frank Simoncioni welcomed the group and led in prayer, and members enjoyed a buffet-style feast including a variety of meatless, Sicilian-style dishes. Many wore red in honor of St. Joseph, one of the most beloved saints among Italian-Americans.

The society, which includes about 75 members, holds events throughout the year to commemorate the customs of Italy and to socialize. The society also recently started a scholarship program that will award $500 to an area student each year.

Other board members are: Andrew Greco, treasurer; Sylvia Greco, secretary; Ornella Barras; Sam Bella; Mary Lee Bernard; Fred Estopinal; and Ron Mangipano.

The society is open to new members and all are welcome — not just those of Italian descent. “We need people to join us that are willing to carry on the traditions,” Simoncioni said.

For information, visit or email

Female artists in spotlight

The Atrium Gallery at Christwood held an opening reception for its “La Femme” exhibit showcasing the artwork of more than 40 St. Tammany Parish women.

The reception drew a crowd of art enthusiasts who viewed a variety of selected works, socialized, and enjoyed wine and hors d’oeuvres. Curator for the show is Don Marshall, executive director of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival Foundation, a founder and first director of the New Orleans Contemporary Arts Center, and a former director of the St. Tammany Art Association.

“It is an eclectic celebration of color, form, harmony and dissonance,” Marshall said of "La Femme."

The show will run through April 26 at the gallery, 100 Christwood Blvd., Covington. For information, visit