A group of German Catholics formed The St. Joseph Catholic Orphan Society in 1849 in response to Louisville's cholera epidemic, which left behind many orphaned children. St. Joe's operated in two smaller sites before settling into its current home on Frankfort Avenue in Crescent Hill in 1886. Cornelius Curtin, the architect later responsible for the Greco-Roman Louisville City Hall Annex and co-creator of one of Louisville's first skyscrapers -- a 10 story, red brick and sandstone Richardsonian Romanesque-style structure on the northwest corner Fourth and Main Streets -- designed the building.
|image via www.sjkids.org|
Although operated by the Ursuline Sisters of Louisville for 75 years, St. Joe's is now run by individual administrators appointed by its Board of Trustees. Over the years, St. Joe's has served over 70,000 of Kentucky's most vulnerable children. No longer an orphanage, St. Joe's now operates a residential treatment program for abused and neglected children, a therapeutic foster care and adoption program for children from birth to age 21, and a child development center for children aged 6 weeks to pre-Kindergarten. St. Joe's most recent project broke ground just a few weeks ago -- a project to construct four cottages to house the 40 children currently enrolled in its residential treatment program.
St. Joe's throws one of the most popular fundraisers in town. This weekend is the 164th St. Joseph Orphans' Picnic, a tradition that has grown to welcome over 60,000 attendees. Over 3,000 volunteers and 60 booths offer the Picnic's famous fried chicken dinners and other food and drinks like fish, brats, beer, popcorn, cotton candy, frozen lemonade, as well as raffles and other games of chance. This year, Chef Dean Corbett (owner of one of the best restaurants in Louisville, Corbett's) will assist St. Joe's resident chef, but promises only minor changes to the menu. All of the net proceeds go to directly to the programs at St. Joe's. In recent years, the Picnic expanded to include a more low-key event the eve of the main event, with live music and games geared toward adults. Friday Night Live includes performances by Billy Goat Strut Revue, Famous on Friday, and The Epics this year.
The bottom line? St. Joe's exemplifies Louisville's rich history of Catholicism and the Church's commitment to charity. Come join the fun and support a great cause by attending the St. Joe's Picnic!
Friday, August 9th (5-10)
Saturday, August 10th (noon-midnight)
2823 Frankfort Avenue
Parking: free; behind the main building at 2800 Brownsboro Road