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Family secrets Italian style


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“One day, you’re gonna write a book about my family, and it won’t be so pretty. Why all the secrets? Why all the lies?”

These fateful words were spoken to Jay Wilkinson by his mother, who had recently discovered a small piece of the secret history of their Italian family. After 12 years of extensive research, Jay Wilkinson disentangles the complex history of his family in New Orleans and Sicily in the book “A Lie Will Suffice: A DiGiovanni Family History”. Jay’s family had strong links to organized crime and all the drama that goes with it: Atlantic Ocean crossings, murder, extortion, vendetta, bootlegging, hostage-taking Fascists cracking down on Sicilian Mafiosi, labor influence on the New Orleans banana docks, two criminal trials, a secret interment in the family burial vault, the Great Depression and World War II. This book includes an extensive bibliography that supports and helps unravel and explain the sometimes difficult-to-discern, complex, but ultimately triumphant DiGiovanni-Guinta family history. It ends with the opaque revelation to the author by his Godfather, ten months before his Godfather’s death, of the most closely held family secret. 

“Picchi didi a verita farfantaria cia basta.”

(Why tell the truth when a lie will suffice.)

Join Ciao Asheville, Metro Wines, and author, Jay Wilkinson, for a presentation and book signing of Jay’s dramatic family story. This event will take place on Friday, November 3, from 2-3:30pm at Metro Wines, 169 Charlotte Street, Asheville. The event is free; however, registration is required. Books will be available for purchase and signing by the author. Wine by the glass will be available for purchase. Please call Metro Wines at (828) 575-9525 or register online here (ADD LINK WHEN SET UP).

Note for attendees: Please park at the back of the parking lot at Metro Wines. 

About Jay Wilkinson

Jay Wilkinson was a United States Magistrate Judge at the federal trial court in New Orleans for 25 years until his retirement in 2020. Before his judicial appointment, he was a lawyer for 15 years and a newspaper reporter for two years. 

He is a life-long product of Louisiana and an honors graduate of the Tulane University School of Law (1980), the Louisiana State University School of Journalism, now the Manship School of Mass Communication (1976), Archbishop Shaw High School (1973) and Christ the King School. He is a husband, father and grand-father; great-grandson of Gaetano “Don Tano Baioco” and Angelina Bucaro DiGiovanni and the grandson of Natale and Antonia (Lena, Nia) Guinta. He is extremely proud of his Sicilian heritage and loves his extended DiGiovanni-Guinta-Wilkinson family more today than ever before. He lives with his wife Sue in Gretna, LA.