Patricia Rice

Patricia Rice is a freelance writer based in St. Louis who has covered religion for many years. She also writes about cultural issues, including opera.

In South St. Louis
File photo | Robert Joiner | St. Louis Beacon

Mehnaz Afridi was astonished to learn that half of this area’s Muslims are Bosnians. The Muslim scholar will be in the area March 31 to give the Lee Institute lecture on the issues faced by Muslim women. For many in St. Louis, one of the main issues is correcting misperceptions.

The great majority of Bosnians resettled here between 20 and 11 years ago to escape the former Yugoslavia’s devastating war of religious persecution in 1992-95. Members of the new generation, born in St. Louis, are now graduating from high school.

Civica Raccolta Stampe Bertarelli Milan | Wikipedia

The mad scene in Donizetti’s opera “Lucia di Lammermoor” helped Joan Sutherland, Maria Callas and Nellie Melba soar to stardom. This weekend at Winter Opera, St. Louis soprano Gina Galati will sing the title role with its famous aria "Il dolce suono.”

“Lucia” opens Friday evening at 8 p.m. at Chaminade’s Skip Viragh Center for the Arts, 425 S. Lindbergh Blvd., and will also be presented at 3 p.m. March 9.

Wikipedia

In St. Louis’ first few years, more longtime residents of Cahokia, Prairie du Rocher, Mine La Motte, Old Mines, Mo., Ste. Genevieve and the area moved to Laclede’s fur trading post. Land-owning small farmers, fur traders, miners, merchants from the region’s French settlements all came to Laclede’s settlement.

“Religion was a very strong reason. They just didn’t want to live under the English,” said Margaret Kimball Brown, author “History as They Lived It: A Social History of Prairie du Rocher.”

Private Collection / courtesy Kodner Gallery

As all in the area should know by now, 14-year-old Auguste Chouteau and his band of 30 “mechanics” unloaded their boat a bit south of the legs of today’s Gateway Arch 250 years ago on Feb. 15*. People may not know that this middle stretch of the upper Mississippi Valley was already rich with French settlements on both sides of the river. Residents, especially the younger generation, of those settlements would help St. Louis grow quickly.

Provded by Winter Opera

Andrew Stuckey, in town to sing the title role in Verdi’s “Falstaff” with Winter Opera,  stopped his car along Arsenal Street last week. The baritone grabbed his cell phone and snapped a selfie in front of a faded Falstaff beer ad.

A map of St. Louis in 1780
Archives in Seville, Spain | Wikipedia

A respected historian is as excited about three maps he found as if they were treasure maps. They lead to special sort of "gold," the earliest known description of what has become St. Louis and north St. Louis County.

Carl J. Ekberg believes a French citizen already had settled in what now lies within the today’s St. Louis city limits before Feb. 14, 1764, the auspicious day 14-year-old Auguste Chouteau oversaw the beginning of the construction of a fur trading post for Pierre Laclede Liquest.

The vocally challenging and fun-filled "La Fille du Regiment" by Donizetti will be taking the stage at Union Avenue Opera.  Then, starting Aug. 20, the atmosphere turns much darker with Tchaikovsky’s three-act tragedy “Pikovaya Dama.”

Daughter of the Regiment

As Haitians look back on the earthquake devastation that remains and look ahead to the hurricane season, they clearly see that a lot of work remains.

About 1.5 million Port au Prince residents (out of the country’s population of 8 million) still sleep in tented camps and spend part of each day standing in line for purified water. Coordination among aid organizations that have been in Haiti for a long time is going well, but that’s not the case with many of the organizations that first came in after the quake.

Dr. Pat Wolff at a clinic.
Provided by Washington University

Six months after Haiti's devastating earthquake, some Haitian institutions are planning for a "new normal."

The tragedy in Haiti has steeled the determination of several seasoned St. Louis volunteers to educate, mentor and help more Haitians become self-sustaining. Haitians must serve their own people and run their own hospitals, schools and society, they said in interviews this week.

Expansions are planned in Haiti for two St. Louis-founded institutions.

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