The American Italian Cultural Center offers a monthly lecture series exploring a variety of Italian cultural and historical topics. The lectures are free for AICC members and students with a valid university or high school ID. There is a suggested $10 donation for non-members.

Challenging What You Thought About Sicilian New Orleans

Thursday, March 21, 2019, 6:30pm

In this talk, Dr. Justin Nystrom of Loyola University New Orleans will share some of the bigger surprises that came out of the research for his recent book, Creole Italian. This work documents the important role that Sicilian immigrants played in making New Orleans into one of the world’s great food cities.

Justin Nystrom is an associate professor of history and directs the Center for the Study of New Orleans at Loyola University New Orleans. He is the author of New Orleans after the Civil War: Race, Politics, and a New Birth of Freedom and the forthcoming Creole Italian: How Sicilian Immigrants Shaped the Culture of America’s Most Interesting Food Town.


Michelangelo and the Popes

Thursday, March 14, 2019, 6:30pm

All Michelangelo wanted to be was a sculptor, but Pope Julius II had other ideas, as did Pope Leo X, Pope Clement VII, and Pope Paul III.

A long line of Popes with an eye for talent commissioned Michelangelo, often against his will, to create works of art and architecture which the artist accomplished so superbly that the works continue to draw people from around the world to see some 500 years later.

Come see and learn about Michelangelo’s magnificent works commissioned by Popes during his lifetime including the Sistine Chapel Ceiling, the statue of Moses, the Last Judgment and even St. Peter’s Basilica! We will discover how and why the Popes coaxed the great master into the fields of painting and architecture when all he wanted to do was carve marble.

Join Tom Cortazzo at the AICC for this fantastic lecture on Thursday, March 14, 2019!


Poppy Tooker’s Pascal’s Manale Cookbook Signing

Thursday, January 10, 2019, 6:30pm

Poppy Tooker, a native New Orleanian and Louisiana food icon, has created yet another fascinating culinary history and cookbook—this time on Pascal’s Manale, the second oldest continually operating family-owned restaurant in New Orleans, second only to Antoine’s. Join us on Thursday, January 10, 2019 for a book talk and signing with Poppy! She will present the cookbook and we’ll learn about the history of Pascal’s Manale.

Cookbooks may be pre-ordered or purchased the night of the event.


Trivia Italian Style

Wednesday, November 28, 2018, 6:30pm

What food was considered scandalous if consumed by women in public during the Renaissance? Why is carpaccio called carpaccio; the Bellini, the Bellini? Who saved the Ponte Vecchio from certain destruction during World War II? How did the Colosseum get its name?

A special super fun “edu-taining” program for anyone curious about (or already in amore with) Italy and its delicioso cuisine and astonishing culture. Carla Gambescia, author of La Dolce Vita University: An Unconventional Guide to Italian Culture from A-Z – an eclectic compendium all things Italian: food, wine, history, architecture, art, style, anecdotes, attitude – will be our “MC” and guide as you test your knowledge while discovering surprising new facts and insights about “The Boot”.

Join us and bring your “Inner Italian”!


A Conversation on Turandot with New Orleans Opera

Thursday, September 13, 2018, 6:30pm

Join the AICC and Todd Simmons of New Orleans Opera for Puccini’s TURANDOT: a conversation about the composer, the times, and the opera.
Turandot is Puccini’s final opera, which was unfinished at the time of his death and was completed by Franco Alfano. The opera is set in China and tells the story of Prince Calaf, who falls in love with the cold Princess Turandot. In order to receive permission to wed her, the suitor must solve three riddles – any incorrect answer results in death. Prince Calaf sings Nessun dorma, one of the most famous tenor arias in opera. While the score has many Asian touches, it is clearly influence by Italian tradition; characters are based on those from Commedia dell’arte.
Explore this fantastic opera at the AICC and then see the show at Mahalia Jackson Theater on September 28 or 30.


The Spirituality of Classical Italian Cinema

Thursday, August 9, 2018, 6:30pm

Was Roberto Rossellini’s Rome, Open City a retelling of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount? Did Fellini accomplish the condensation of thousands of years of spiritual cycles in the first few minutes of his famous film, La Dolce Vita? And how is it that Pier Paolo Pasolini, and avowed atheist, rendered one of the greatest retellings of the St. Matthew Passion ever seen on film?

I’m Dan Beck, a New Orleans-based spiritual consultant and astrologer who has been lucky enough to live with many of the great films handed down to us through the masters of Italian Cinema. Through this lecture, I will go one step further and argue that not only are the great Italian films works of incredible artistry and ingenuity but that several are critical spiritual and cultural documents that deserve sacred treatment.


Italian Influences on New Orleans Area Cemeteries
Thursday, July 19, 2018, 6:30pm

Join Emily Ford of Oak and Laurel Cemetery Preservation, LLC and discover the influences that Italians had on cemeteries in New Orleans and in Metairie! This lecture will draw from the historic landscapes of all local cemeteries and from Ms. Ford’s ongoing research into the preservation of Italian heritage. We will explore the Metairie Cemetery row of Italian society tombs; the influence of 1850s Italian sculptor Americo Marozzi on Bywater cemeteries like St. Vincent de Paul and St. Roch; and hidden Florentine masterpieces in Cypress Grove. Emily will also present lesser-known Italian burial places and society tombs, including those in Odd Fellows Rest and Valence Street Cemeteries, and some curious tales of Italian-Americans buried in historic New Orleans cemeteries.


Bebop, Swing and Bella Musica: Jazz and the Italian American Experience

Friday, June 22, 2018, 7:00pm

Authors Bill Dal Cerro and David Anthony Witter will present their book, Bebop, Swing and Bella Musica: Jazz and the Italian American Experience. Italian Americans such as Frank Sinatra, Louis Prima, Louie Bellson, Lennie Tristano, Tony Bennett, Buddy DeFranco, Flip Phillips and Joe Lovano, and many others have enriched the jazz genre since its inception in New Orleans though the big band, swing, bebop, and into the modern era. This book features interviews with musicians and illustrates the prejudices and stereotypes which Italians faced in pursuit of the American Dream.