February 2016 Newsletter

After a long absence, we present our first newsletter in 2016!  The 201st Anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans was observed January 8th & 9th, 2016.  Society members supported the St. Bernard Parish Tourism department in manning the official welcome center.  Our usual travelling exhibition was displayed and everyone enjoyed visiting with us.  People from Europe, Asia and the Americas came.  The Society worked with Chalmette High School volunteers who greeted visitors on shuttle buses which ran from the welcome center in the Government Complex to the Chalmette Battlefield. 

The following Friday, January 15th, 2016, the St. Bernard Parish School Board dedicated the Joseph Maumus Center.  School Superintendent Doris Voitier drafted the Isleno Society to serve samples of caldo.  Rhonda Rodriguez Hannan, our president, transformed serving of our delicious caldo into a celebratory extravaganza.  Rhonda cooked the caldo and decorated the class room in which it was served with all the vegetables and herbs she used in the preparation of the soup.  Bill Hyland, Glen Menesses, Carrie Menesses Bernal, Wimpy Serigne and his lovely wife Doris helped to prepare and serve the caldo.  We presented the Society, museum complex and descendants’ community admirably to hundreds of guests.  It was a great opportunity to market what we do and we were delighted to be part of the occasion.


Mardi Gras falls on the second Tuesday of February, the regularly scheduled day of our general membership meeting.  Therefore, our general membership meeting is rescheduled to Saturday, February 13th, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. in the assembly room of Los Islenos Center.  Preparations for Fiesta 2016, March 5th and 6th, 2016, will be reviewed and further developed.

FIESTA 2016   -   Food Preparation Day

Fiesta Co-Chairman Rhonda Rodriguez Hannan has designated Sunday, February 28th, 2016 as food preparation day.  Please meet in the Isleno Center at 12:00 noon.  We will be assembling empanadas with meet filling and pastry shells and cutting fresh fruit for sangria.  Please bring sharp knives to the occasion.


Fiesta Co-Chairpersons Rhonda Rodriguez Hannan and Kathy Serpas Ziegler have moved forward in realizing plans for Fiesta 2016, scheduled for March 5th and 6th, 2016 on the grounds of Los Islenos Museum Complex.  Los Islenos Heritage and Cultural Society was incorporated by Anthony A. Fernandez, Jr in 1976, so 2016 is our 40th anniversary.  Lloyd Wimpy Serigne has succeeded in bringing Los Cabuqueros de Arucas and Los Cebolleros de Galdar to perform during Fiesta 2016.  This will be the fourth visit of Los Cabuqueros and the second visit of Los Cebolleros.

        Los Cabuqueros first participated in Fiesta 2005, slightly less than six months before the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina.  The Cabuqueros are from the beautiful city of Arucas in Gran Canaria.  They have distinguished themselves over decades as leaders in the interpretation of traditional folk dances of the Canaries.  Their dance director, Jorge Guzman Vilegas, has distinguished himself as a sholar and authority on the ancient dances of the islands.  Cabuqueros President Miguel Medina has supported the Islenos of St. Bernard through thick and thin as we have rebuilt our community and museum complex following Katrina.  Mayor Juan Jesus Facundo Suarez of Arucas will accompany the Cabuqueros.

        Los Cebolleros, from the historic City of Galdar, the earliest capital of Gran Canaria, first performed in St. Bernard during Fiesta 2012.  Los Cebolleros is 45 years old and has played the beautiful folk music of the Canary Islands throughout the Iberian Peninsula.  Cebolleros President Moises Rodriguez is both a musician and vocalist.  Nicolas Rodriguez, the former president, will return during this second visit.  Galdar Mayor Teodoro Sosa Monzon and Council Member Julio Mateo Castillo, responsible for cultural programs, will accompany Los Cebolleros.  We welcome many accomplished old friends and distinguished new friends to St. Bernard for Fiesta 2016!

        Donna Mumfrey-Martin is organizing the folk heritage and craft area once more in 2016.  There will be duck decoys, trapping, Native American displays and other folk craft and folk way exhibitions which will tell the story of the Islenos and how they adapted to a new environment in Louisiana.  Presentations in Los Islenos Center will focus on the heritage and culture of the Islenos in the Gulf Coast region of the nation.  Jenny Jacoby will present a lecture about Sebastian Gonzales, a native of Aracena in the mainland of Spain who fought in the Galvez Expedition during the American Revolution, married Canary Islanders and is the patriarch of a huge family in St. Bernard in the 21st century.

        Spanish food is progressing well under the leadership of Rhonda Hannan.  Empanadas (meat pies), croquetas, arroz con pollo (chicken and rice), flan and other Spanish treats will be sold during the fiesta.  The Coconut Island Barroom will function as the ever popular tapas bar this year once more.

        "Friends, Romans, Countrymen" we need your volunteer HELP!  Please call Rhonda Hannan to volunteer for Fiesta 2016 at 504.615.9322 or e-mail her at  Also, Fiesta Co-Chairperson Kathy Ziegler is seeking more crafts people to purchase craft booths during Fiesta 2016 in addition to entrants for the Heritage Program.  Please call Kathy at 504.494.5848.  More information will follow.  Suzie Esteves is organizing the homemade dessert booth this year, as she has for over a decade.  She is soliciting homemade desserts.  Please call or write to Rhonda Hannan or Kathy Ziegler


SATURDAY, March 5th, 2016

11:00 am                          OPENING CEREMONY

11:30 am  - 12:30 pm      HERITAGE PROGRAM

1:00 pm - 3:00 pm          LOS CABUQUEROS and LOS CEBOLLEROS

                                          Canarian dance and folk music

3:30 pm - 6:30 pm          AT FAULT

7:00 pm - 10:00 pm        CATEGORY 6

SUNDAY, March 6th, 2016

11:00 am                           INVOCATION

11:15 am - 12:00 noon    CHALMETTE HIGH SCHOOL BAND

12:30 pm - 2:30 pm        OVI-G AND THE FROGGIES

3:00 pm - 4:30 pm          LOS CABUQUEROS and LOS CEBOLLEROS

5:00 pm - 6:30 pm          THE BOOGIE MEN

7:00 pm - 9:00 pm           GROOVY 7


I thank the membership for its wonderful support during 2015.  Many repairs were made to Museum Complex buildings, relations with the Canaries continued to grow and we had renewed contact with our sister organizations in San Antonio and Miami.  The Canary Islanders Heritage Society in Baton Rouge continued its great support of our community.  Eduardo Cubillo has moved ahead with his Islenos: A Root of America documentary and David Dubos' Islenos Trapper's War garnered much favorable press and general recognition.  Cislanderus is progressing under the able direction of Thenesoya Martin de la Nuez and Anibal Martin.  Please help us to continue the momentum we gathered in 2015!!  We cannot move forward without a successful festival.  Let me see you, one and all, during Fiesta 2016!!!