Among the oldest social clubs in the city of New Orleans is the organization known as The Louisiana Club. The formation of this society was effected in 1879 and it is a social club in every respect. The officers are Paul Gelpi, president, and W. A. Brand, secretary. The club now has on its rolls 153 members, with its rooms at No. 122 Carondelet. Regular meetings are held each month, but the quarters are always open to the members.
French Opera Club.
The French Opera Club is an organization of the stockholders of the French Opera, which was formed during the season of 1868-69. At the time of organization, Mr. Frellsen was elected president of the club and Louis Burthe, secretary. Since then there have been several gentlemen who have held the office of president, but Secretary Burthe has served in the capacity of his office since the day of his election. Judge G. H. Theard is now the president. The club has its rooms in the French Opera House, and during the performances the members are entitled to seats in the club box. The membership numbers about 120.
The Era Club, the membership of which is composed of leading women of New Orleans, was established in 1896 as an offshoot of the Portia Club, which has since disbanded. It was founded by Mrs. Evelyn W. Ordway. one of the faculty of the Sophie Newcomb Female College, for the purpose of advancing woman's suffrage, and since its organization has brought the question into some local prominence. It was through the efforts of the Era Club that the Women's League for Sewerage and Drainage was formed, and the women taxpayers did much toward securing the improvements for the city. Mrs. Ordway is the president of the club. The first president elected after organization was Miss Bell Van Horn.
THE HARMONY CLUB.
The Harmony Club was organized during the early seventies by a number of the more prominent young Hebrews of the city. Its objects were purely social, but the close relations of the early members with the members of the Deutsche Company, an organization in a flourishing condition at that time, soon resulted in consolidation. Mr. Joseph Magner was the first president of the new organization, and with wise forethought, seeing that the Fourth District was destined to grow and improve rapidly, advocated building an up-town club-house, and succeeded in taking the club as far up as Delord street. Some time thereafter the younger members secured a removal to Canal street. Years after, under the presidency of Judge
I. D. Moore, the club was again moved up town, and now has magnificent quarters in its own handsome building at the corner of St. Charles and Jackson avenues. It is one of the finest buildings in the city. The Harmony Club membership is open to Jew and Gentile and is one of the centers of culture among the Hebrews of the city. The club as it stands to-day is in a large measure the natural outgrowth of the trying times of the Civil War, for it was through consolidation with the Deutsche Company that it became possible to carry out the broad objects which have made it so successful.
The Deutsche Company had its origin in a meeting of seven, all of whom were prominent in Jewish and German circles, in the latter part of 1862. This meeting was presided over by Mr. Sol Marks. The suggestion of the formation of a club was his and plans were put on foot with that idea in view. In April, 1863, a meeting was held with forty members present, and organization was effected. Mr. Marks was elected president and M. L. Navra, secretary. The stated object of the society was to cultivate sociability and to foster art and science. Soon after the new club was formed the two were brought together into one strong organization. The Harmony Club is noted for the magnificence of its entertainments. The interior decorations of the club-house are superbly grand. The membership includes many prominent Gentiles, who stand high in their stations of life.
CHESS, CHECKERS AND WHIST CLUB.
The Chess, Checkers and Whist Club is one of the youngest, yet strongest, institutions of the city. The foundation of the club is ascribed to Charles A. Maurian, Charles F. Buck and James D. Seguiu, who, in 1880, founded a small club for the study and cultivation of the game of chess. Their first domicile was a single room in the building at No. 138 Gravier street. At the first meeting, held July 21, 1880, Mr. Maurian was elected president and Mr. Seguin secretary. The club records show the attendance at this meeting to have been twenty-seven, some of whom were represented by proxy. In the twenty years of its existence the membership has increased to 800, the present limitation.
The early history of this club clearly demonstrates the invincible power of a movement based on sound principles and popular demand. It is essentially a young men's club, but its membership lists include a large number of older men — men who have become prominent in business life, in the practice of the law and in the various other professions. Nearly every chess-player of skill residing in the city is a member, and the games of whist, checkers, etc., are indulged in. But the club has other objects than the encouragement of scientific games and the occasional entertainment of its friends; for, not infrequently, the informal discussions of the members turn on deep subjects and a wide range of topics of general interest and importance are taken up by men whose knowledge specially fits them for an intelligent expression of opinion. The chronicle of the club's rise from an humble origin to the powerful institution of to-day is interesting. Less than ten days after the first meeting a second was held, at which it was found the membership had about doubled. In October of the same year the membership had grown to 110, and larger quarters being required the club moved to No. 168 Common street, and two months later to larger rooms next door. The membership had reached the number of 150 January 24, 1881, and, the belief then existing that the club had reached its climax, so far as membership was concerned, the initiation fee was placed at $3, and an entire floor at the corner of Common street and Varieties alley was leased for club rooms.
Captain George H. Mackenzie, the renowned chess-player of St. Louis, visited New Orleans in the year 1881 and was the guest of the club from February 28 to March 10. He gave several exhibitions, displaying wonderful perception and great facility for rapid combination. President Maurian and Mr. James McConnell made even games on even terms with the visitor, but the others were easily defeated. The visit of Mr. Mackenzie was the beginning of the visits of a great number of distinguished chess-players who have come to this city since then. The list of great players who have been guests of the club includes such names as
Zukertort, Lee, Steinitz, Pillsbury and others. The series of tournaments, which to-day are a leading feature of the club, was inaugurated during the first year of the club's existence.
For two years the club enjoyed a substantial and healthy growth, and in 1883 the present quarters at the corner of Canal and Baronne streets were secured. Fire destroyed the building in 1890 and nearly all of the club's records were lost. In place of the old building a modern club-house was constructed, and this is the domicile to-day. Paul Morphy, whose fame as a chess-player is second to none in the history of the game, was a constant attendant at the club until his death, and in memory of him there is a bust of fine workmanship in the club-rooms. One of the most highly prized possessions of the club is a unique set of chessmen
of Swiss workmanship, presented by E. Block on February 21, 1881. Block was a contemporary of Morphy's in the early days of chess-playing in New Orleans. Mr. Maurian was succeeded as president by Charles F. Buck. The other presidents have been: Hon. Ben C. Elliott, Samuel Stafford, Thomas E. Roach, Hon. George H. Vennard and Charles J. Theard, who has been president since April, 1893. The popularity of the club is best attested by the list of applicants, which contains almost as many names as does the membership list. Applicants must wait for resignations before their applications are acted on.
The Pickwick Club was organized in 1857 in the parlor over the famous
ante-bellum Gem saloon, the Pickwick Club and the Mystick Krewe being for
many years, so far as was visible to the public eye, one and the same thing. At length, however, it became impossible to conceal the fact that they were so closely related, and the duality was dissolved. Comus became an independent organization and the Pickwick Club so amended its charter as to render the club an absolutely close one. But still, even down to the present day, Comus is the favorite of the members of the club. In its palmiest days the home of the club was the fine building at the corner of Carondelet and Canal streets, a four-story brick-and-stone building of Queen Anne architecture, which, prior to its partial destruction by
fire in 1894, was one of the most stately buildings ever erected in New Orleans. The ladies' cafe, which from 1884 to 1894 was one of the chief prides of the club, was primarily for the use of the ladies of the families of the members, but it was never a financial success, and when the present quarters of the club on Canal street, near Rampart, were erected, no provision was made for a dining-room for ladies. There is, however, a banquet hall, in which dinner parties are frequently given, and in this hall the captain and the other officers of the United
States cruiser New Orleans were entertained when that vessel paid her visit to this city in the spring of 1899.
The origin of this famous club is in a certain way attributable to Mobile, but to enter into the full particulars of this connection would require more space than can be spared in this work. Hence it is necessary only to state that seven gentlemen called a meeting for January 3, 1857, over the old Gem saloon. Thirteen responded other than the six of the seven that answered the call, and these nineteen members adopted the name of the Mystick Krewe of Comus. Within the next few weeks sixty-three additional members were added to the original number, and on February 24, 1857, Comus electrified New Orleans with the first illustrated procession: "The demon actors in Milton's Paradise Lost." Proceeding to the old Gaiety Theater, "the grotesque maskers made much fun and merriment and enjoyed quizzing their sweethearts and wives to their hearts' content without revealing their identities. At 12 o'clock precisely the captain's whistle sounded and the Krewe marched without lights to No. 57 St. Charles street. On the third floor of this store a bounteous banquet awaited them, the experiences of the night were told in wine and wit and much enjoyment until early morning ended the first festival of the Mystick Krewe of Comus."
Later a social club was organized named the Pickwick Club. The two lower stories of the store at No. 57 St. Charles street, were rented and fitted up for club rooms. Colonel A. H. Gladden was president from 1858 until the breaking out of the war, and fell at Shiloh. The Pickwick gave its check for $1,000 toward the support of the families of those who had gone to the war, and was then virtually for a year or two disbanded; but it was in a measure kept alive by such men as Hon. John Q. A. Fellows, and was afterward fully resuscitated and reorganized on the return of peace. The quarters of the club were at the corner of Canal street and Exchange alley up to 1881, when they were moved to the Mercer building, now the Boston Club, where they remained until 1884, when they were removed to the corner of Carondelet and Canal streets. In 1894 this building was burned, and the club removed to the other corner of the same two streets, later to the old No. 4 Carondelet street, and finally to its present magnificent quarters. When the club was on Canal and Exchange alley it entertained, one Christmas night, General W. S. Hancock, then in command of the military department here. This club has rendered efficient service on more than one occasion, having in 1874 aided in the overthrow of negro domination, and in 1878 having done much to relieve distress occasioned that year by the great epidemic of yellow fever. In 1879 the clubmen organized themselves into what was known as "The Dietetic Association," and distributed beef tea and soup for the sick and delicacies for the convalescent from the door and windows of the club in Exchange alley.
The presidents of the club have been as follows: Charles H. Churchill, General A. H. Gladden, Adam Giffen, Edward Barrett, W. H. Crafts, T. C. Herndon, E. B. Briggs, Octave Hopkins, James G. Clark, Jules C. Denis, C. M. Soria, Paul Capdevielle, William Blake, Hon. E. B. Kruttschnitt, James G. Clark (second time), S. L. James, Frank B. Haynes and Reuben C. Bush, present incumbent. The present quarters of the club are exceedingly handsome, no expense having been spared in fitting them up and furnishing them to suit the taste of the members. In the rear of a white marble vestibule stands the familiar figure of Mr. Pickwick, and on the same floor are the club's office, the billiard room, the lounging room, and the bar. On the second floor are the main hall, the reading room and the card room, and on the third floor are the dining room and the private card rooms of the club. The entire building in its fittings and its furnishings is one of the finest in the South.
The Boston Club was organized in 1841 by a small coterie of gentlemen for the purpose of playing "the game of Boston," and is the oldest social club in New Orleans. From the beginning of its existence it has been famous as a rendezvous for army and navy officers. Of its original members none survive, and of those who were members previous to the Civil War but few are still alive. The club was incorporated in 1843 for a period of twenty-five years, and its first rooms were on Royal street; but in a short time these rooms were exchanged for rooms on the south side of Canal street, next to Moreau's restaurant, at first only a part of the building being used, but later the entire building. About this time other games than Boston began to be played in the rooms. During the Civil War the rooms were closed by order of the Federal authorities, but on August 5, 1865, they were again opened, on Royal street. Later the club moved to Carondelet street, and finally to its present quarters, on Canal street, between Carondelet and Baronne streets. Many of the prominent business men are members of this club, and in past days many very prominent men were members, such as Judah P. Benjamin, A. C. Meyers, and John R. Grimes.
Originally the number of members was limited to 150, and from the beginning the initiation fee has been $100, with annual dues of $100. When the club was reorganized after the Civil War the limit of membership was raised to 250. Among the presidents previous to the war was P. N. Wood, and since the war the following have been the presidents of the club: W. A. Avery, 1865; Judge Victor Burke, 1866-68; Gen. "Dick" Taylor, 1868-73; Dr. S. Choppin, 1873-80; A. P. Mason, 1880-83; Thomas J. Semmes, 1883-92; ex-Justice Charles E. Fenner, 1892 to the present time.
The present quarters of the club contain the following rooms: A parlor and a billiard and pool room on the ground floor, the parlor being 55 feet deep and of harmonious width. The cafe is also on the ground floor, built out from the billiard room, and is 20x50 feet in size. The card room occupies the entire front of the second story and is 30x55 feet in size, and the lunch room in the rear of the card room is 30x50 feet. On the third floor in front is another card room and to its rear are the store rooms, bath-rooms, servants' rooms, etc. All the apartments are handsomely furnished and the home is in all respects an ideal one for club purposes.
NEW ORLEANS PRESS CLUB.
Of all the clubs in New Orleans, the one finally launched with the greatest promise of potentialities for the good of the city was the New Orleans Press Club. Various attempts in previous years had been made to establish a press club, but they had all failed for one or another reason.
The longest lived of any endeavor on the problem was the last; and it represented possibly the best planned and best executed of the attempts. It found its original motive in the recognition, by some members of the newspaper fraternity, of how hopelessly separated the reportorial brethren on the different papers were.
The first form of organization was a "call club." It had no domicile. It had no dues, no assessments, no cares, no obligations. It consisted in a dinner once or twice or thrice a month, at 2 or 3 o'clock a. m., when every one but the pressmen had left the newspaper shops. Henry Rightor was the first president of this body; Harry Hester, the first promoter of the plan. The first dinner took place at the Grunewald Hotel at 2 a. m. There were thirteen newspaper men present. Day was dawning when the club adjourned. It was a genuine success despite the unlucky number. The fun ranged from national subjects to Hester's famous discussion as to which side of a bluebird's eggs had the greatest number of spots — the north or the south side.
The initial number of the dinners made the little club famous. At the next dinner, at Forrestier's, corner Decatur and Madison streets, there were twenty-six members of the newspaper fraternity present, and an international complication, between a representative of the German press and one of the French, arose. It tended to increase interest in the club, and from that time on the Press Club dinners grew in popularity.
It existed as a call organization for about one year, when a meeting of all the members was held at the St. Charles Hotel, on the 17th of August, 1897. At this meeting, one of the most memorable in the early history of the club, in that the vast majority of the workers of the local press were present and enthusiastic, it was resolved to domicile the club. The following plan was adopted: There were to be two kinds of membership — active and associate. In the former, to keep the club always a real press club, was to be lodged the power of voting on everything except eligibility to membership, on which all members could vote. If a newspaper man went out of the business he ipso facto became, unless he were a charter member, an associate member. If an associate entered the business he became an active member. Dues and privileges were to be uniform. Active membership was unlimited by reason of the comparatively small number of newspaper men, but associate membership was limited to five hundred.
Under this plan of operation the club's new domicile was opened at No. 320 St. Charles street, a few months after its organization, under the new plan. It was conservatively estimated that 6,000 guests passed through its rooms, partook of its hospitality and heard some part of its programme. The opening programme, indeed, lasted for twenty-four consecutive hours, from 4 p. m. one afternoon to the same hour the next afternoon. It was opened by prayers and addresses by such conspicuous men as Dr. B. M. Palmer, I. L. Leucht, E. B. Kruttchsnitt, on behalf of the governor. Mayor Walter C. Flower, etc. Pages of the local press were
devoted to the club's opening. It was one of the great events of the year in New Orleans. This was in the early part of 1898.
Two causes led to the club's ultimate dowTifall — primarily, dissension among the newspaper men; a floating indebtedness too heavy for the plan and budget of the club.
The first cause weakened its influence and checked its immense original momentum. As a result, the club could never reach the high-water mark possibilities of its budget. It consequently went into liquidation in January of 1900.
Its first president was Henry Rightor, who resigned and was succeeded by Mr. Armand Capdevielle, editor of the New Orleans Bee. Its next president was J. M. Levuque, at the time of the Times-Democrat. Norman Walker was the last president of the club, being elected August 17, 1899.
Many famous men and women have been entertained, and have entertained, at the Press Club. Bryan, Ingersoll, great actors and actresses, musicians, singers, etc., etc. Its programmes have varied over a range extending from maccaroni dinners to evenings of original music.
THE MILITARY CLUB.
This organization was formed in 1895-6, as an offshoot of the Southern
Athletic Club. Companies A and B of what is now known as the Fourth Battalion were members of the S. A. C, but decided to withdraw, and the result was the formation of a social and military club under the title of The Military Club. Quarters were established at Exchange alley and Canal street, and J. M. Baldwin was elected president. He was succeeded by J. M. Huger and after about two years of varied prosperity the organization disbanded.
LOUISIANA HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
The Louisiana Historical Society, domiciled in New Orleans, has made many valuable compilations of historical data concerning the city of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana. The society was organized January 15, 1836, in Baton Rouge. At the meeting at which organization was effected. Judge Henry A Bullard was elected president, ana Mr. Harrison and Louis Janin, secretaries. The prosperity of the new society was not of long duration and it was soon disbanded. However, several years later, several gentlemen who were members took an active interest in the work, reorganized the body and in 1846 elected the eminent jurist and historian, Francois Xavier Martin, president, with John Perkins, J. D. B. DeBow, Edmund J. Forstall, Charales Gayarre, General Joseph Walker and Alfred Hennen, members. One year later the society was incorporated and Judge Bullard was re-elected president. Judge Martin having died in December after his election to the office. At this election John Perkins and J. D. B. DeBow were chosen secretaries.
For the next half decade the society prospered and by an act of Legislature in January, 1860, it became a State institution, insomuch as it was decreed that "in the event of a dissolution of the Historical Society, all books, maps, records, manuscripts and collections shall revert to the State for the use of the State Library."
At this time Charles Gayarre was elected president, but until 1877 there was little interest shown in the work and nothing of importance was done by the organization. In April of that year a new charter was obtained from the Legislature and the domicile of the society was transferred from Baton Rouge to New Orleans. Then the work was revived.
From the time of his election. President Gayarre held the office for 28 years, resigning in 1888. He was succeeded by Judge W. W. Howe, who served until February, 1894, when the present officers were elected. During this time interest in the work of the society was greatly revived and the members accomplished much good work in the way of collecting historical data. The membership increased and much outside interest was shown.
The present officers of the Louisiana Historical Society are: Alcee Fortier, president; Gustave Devron, first vice-president; John E. Ficklen, second vice-president; J. W. Cruzat, treasurer; Grace King, secretary; and Charles G. Gill, assistant secretary. As there is no provision made by the State for the support of the society, an annual sum of $3 has been decided upon as dues, and these funds are used to preserve the historical collections of documents and relics of the early life and growth of the State. The society is in good financial condition and the
work is being carried on with great enthusiasm.
LA VARIETE ASSOCIATION.
La Variete Club, the real title of which is La Variete Association, is the owner of the Grand Opera House, and has its club rooms under the foyer and orchestra circle of that theater. The association was organized in the early part of 1849, through the efforts of Thomas Placide, who proposed to a number of prominent men a plan for the erection of a new theater "for the purpose of producing burlesque, vaudeville and farce." Mr. Placide's idea was to form an association of thirty members in order to raise $15,000 for building purposes. This plan was carried out, but the stock was increased, forty-two subscribers having been secured.
Mr. Placide agreed "to build a theater equal, if not superior, to any in this country," and "to spare no exertion to produce the proposed entertainments with the best talent, costumes, scenery and appointments that could be procured."
A stockholders' meeting was held May 29, 1849, and organization was effected with Peter Conere, Jr., president; C. W. Cammack, secretary. N. Wilkinson, treasurer. Mr. Placide was placed in charge under an agreement which provided that the stockholders should receive 8 per cent on their investment; the association was to receive half the profits at the end of the season; the members were to have two seats, with a retiring room for their exclusive use, and the theater should be known as Placide's Variete. The building was commenced in June, 1849, and the corner-stone was laid on the 9th of that month. The site was the corner of Gravier and the narrow passage-way in the rear of the Cotton Exchange, to which the name Varieties alley was given.
The theater was opened December 7, 1849. The first season proved highly successful. The second season opened with J. H. Calder the lessee. The stock company then billed included among its members Fred N. Thayer, Ben DeBar and Mrs. Charlotte Howard. At that time French opera was being successfully produced, as were also good plays at the old St. Charles theater. The Academy of Music had very little standing as a theater in those days. Fire destroyed the theater April 25, 1855, and when rebuilt was enlarged considerably. The name was changed to Crisp's Gaiety in 1856 and at the commencement of the Civil War the house was closed. It was reopened in 1863 and after one season Lawrence Barrett took charge. The house again burned December 1, 1870.
The association then decided to rebuild on Canal street, and at a cost of $320,000, erected the present structure, known as the Grand Opera House. The souvenirs kept in the club room are interesting, as, included among them, is probably one of the finest collections of photographs of theatrical celebrities in the country. An oil painting by Joseph Jefferson is also one of the treasures there displayed. The rules of the club provide that non-residents may be admitted to the privileges of the club rooms without membership privileges in the theater except when introduced to the stockholders' seats on extra stock shares. The stockholders are and have been leading men of New Orleans.
YOUNG MEN'S GYMNASTIC CLUB.
The Young Men's Gymnastic Club is the oldest organization of its kind in the South and to-day is one of the best equipped institutions in the country. The club was organized September 2, 1872, under the name of The Independent Gymnastic Club, and had at the beginning a limited membership of 14, made up as follows: J. C. Aleix, A. Rehage, J. A. Rehage, C. G. Collins, F. J. Aleix, C. Weinburger, J. Roca, F. Kunz, L. A. Nicaud, C. Burkhardt, J. Burkhardt, A. D. Hofeline, F. Claiborne and Wm. Frederichs. At the first meeting J. C. Aleix was elected president. Among the members who have since served in this capacity are Val. Merz, William Frederichs, James Flynn, Ed J. Guoringer, A. M. Delavallade, W. A. Briant, James J. McCann, George G. Bohne and James J. Woulfe. The name of the club was changed a short while after organization was effected and on September 13, 1883, it was incorporated under its present title. In 1888 the organization was reincorporated.
From the beginning the object of the club has been to foster and promote work in the gymnasium. The quarters now occupied by the club are at No. 224 North Rampart street. The buildings and furnishings are in keeping with the prosperous condition of the institution. Besides the gymnastic department, which is the principal feature, there is every convenience of the modern social club — reading rooms, billiard and pool rooms, cafe and all accessories. In connection with the gymnasium is a salt-water bath, which is supplied from an artesian well sunk to a depth of 1,350 feet. The bath-rooms are equipped with every convenience and there is a large swimming pool, in which the water is kept at the proper temperature at all seasons. The club is incorporated as a stock company, and to become a member it is necessary to hold one share of stock. The present officers are: James J. Woulfe, President; Vic. LeBeau, Vice President; William H. Heyl, Secretary, and Hyp. Garrot, Treasurer. The affairs of the club are managed by a board of directors, who have full control.
SOUTHERN ATHLETIC CLUB.
Almost since the day of its organization the Southern Athletic Club has been a leader among the organizations of its kind in the South and it has established records both on the field and in the arena which stand ahead of any similar club records south of Louisville. The S. A. C. was formed under the name of the Crescent City Athletic Association and incorporated June 19, 1888. The first President elected was S. P. Walmsley, with J. C. Campbell, Vice President; G. S. Smith, Treasurer; W. L. McGary, Financial Secretary; W. H. Churchill, Recording Secretary, and Joseph Sehlesinger, Corresponding Secretary. The founders and first members on the club rolls were: L. E. Bowman, 0. S. Smith, G. S. Smith, H. D. Higanbotham, P. S. Campbell, T. J. Kohl, Theo. Holland, C. Janin, W. H. Churchill, D. H. Hoffman, W. J. Henderson, John J. Thomas, C. B. Churchill, P. A. Cooney, P. J. Kennedy, B. Chew, L. T. Tarleton, M. S. Waterman, Maurice McGraw, J. B. Waterman, J. Sehlesinger, James C. Campbell, Abe Kottwitz and H. P. Smith.
The formation of the club took place in what was then known as the "skating rink" on the corner of Prytania street and Washington avenue, but in December the building, which had been erected by the club across the street, was completed and taken possession of. It was at this time that the name of the organization was changed to the Southern Athletic Club. President Walmsley was elected to serve a second term in 1889, and was succeeded by W. S. Parkerson the next year.
About this time the S. A. C. Battalion, which afterward became the Fourth Battalion, was formed. President Walmsley was elected Major of this branch of the organization. President Parkerson succeeded himself to the office at the next election, as did James C. Campbell, who was elected in 1892. During President Parkerson's term of office, the club was reorganized into a stock company and about the same time the spring games, in which the S. A. C. has always distinguished itself, were inaugurated.
During the next two years the club made many improvements and J. P. Baldwin and John Clegg served as presidents. In 1896, T. L. Bayne was elected and served two terms. In 1898, James C. Campbell was again elected, and 1899, John E. ConnifT, the present chief officer of the club, succeeded him. The other officers are: John F. Brent, Vice President; C. H. Charlton, Jr., Financial Secretary; Edward Rightor, Recording Secretary; T. J. Council, Corresponding Secretary; Dr. J. Moore Soniat, Captain, and E. W. Alleyn, Lieutenant. These officers, together with the following gentlemen, compose the Board of Directors: D. E. Buchannan, Chas. F. Stott, B. P. Sullivan, Geo. Fuchs, E. S. Lamphier, Pierre Crabites, H. C. McEnery and A. H. Dumas.
The equipment of the S. A. C. quarters is second to none of its kind in the South, and the club is represented on every football, baseball or other sport field in which the other clubs of the Amateur Athletic Union appear, and has in nearly every meet retired as victors.
AMERICAN ATHLETIC CLUB.
The American Athletic Club, at one time the strongest organization of its kind in the South, was formed in the early spring of 1890 and flourished until 1898, when it was disbanded. Among the organizers were: S. Odenheimer, E. H. Rosenfeldt, Charles F. Alba, Henry Zeller, J. U. Landry, Thos. L. Ross and J. 0. Reinecke. M. T. Elfert was the first president and served two terms. He was succeeded by Mr. S. Odenheimer, who served until the election of T. C. Loret, Sr.; and it was during the latter's term of office that the organization disbanded. For several years after the club was organized it was in a very prosperous condition and at one time had a membership of 1,300. Ground was purchased on the
corner of Napoleon avenue and Constance street, and a club-house erected. The quarters were furnished completely for athletic and social purposes and were considered equal to any in the South. During its life the American Athletic Club was a staunch member of the Southern Amateur Athletic Union.
SOUTHERN YACHT CLUB.
The Southern Yacht Club is the second oldest yachting organization of this country. It was formed by the members of what was known as the Stingaree Club, an exclusive social organization of New Orleans, in 1849. It was the custom of this club to take cruising trips along the southern coasts, and after one of these excursions along the coast of Mississippi it was decided to place the surplus money in the treasury in new boats, and the result was the organization of the Southern Yachting Club, July 21, 1849. The first commodore elected was Harry Rareshide. The annual yachting season opened in May, and until the Civil War great interest
was taken in the events. During the war the club was practically disbanded, but afterward the sport was revived, and regattas have been held each season since. In 1878 the club-house on Lake Pontchartrain was erected and E. J. O'Brien, a wealthy cotton broker, was elected commodore of the club. He served until 1882, when Arthur Ambrose Maginnis succeeded him to the office. Mr. Maginnis served until 1884, when Commodore O'Brien was re-elected and held the office until the election of Commodore R. S. Day, who served from 1887 until 1891. During the next year the office was held by Commodore W. A. Gordon, and he was succeeded by Thomas Sully, who served as commodore until 1894. Commodore Lawrence O'Donnell was then elected and held the office until the spring of 1897, and Walton Glenny was elected for the two succeeding terms. In 1899, the fiftieth anniversary of the organization of the club. Commodore Albert Baldwin was elected. During this year it was decided to build a new club-house at West End, on Lake Pontchartrain, as a lasting memorial of the semi-centennial anniversary of the S. Y. C. The building is a model of modern club-house architecture, and was formally opened at the spring regatta in May, 1900.
Among the prominent racing boats which have been associated with the
Southern Yacht Club, have been Charles P. Richardson's 40-foot sloop "Nepenthe," which defeated the "Wasp" of the New York Yacht Club, in a 40-mile cruising race in New York harbor. Vice-Commodore Alex. Brewster's open 25-foot sloop "Mephisto" is another of the old boats which has established records. She has engaged in over thirty races and has each time been victorious. Of the new boats owned by members of the club, there are several very fine steam yachts. Among these are the "Semper Idem," owned by Commodore Baldwin and Ed. Schleider. She was designed and built here and her engines are of New Orleans manufacture. The "Semper Idem" is the largest boat of her kind ever built in the South. The steam yacht "Oneida," recently sold to the Mexican government, was formerly attached to the club's fleet. The sloop "Florence," now in commission in these waters, was designed by Commodore O'Donnell, after Hereschoff's creation, the "Gloriana," but was afterwards remodeled with spoon bow and modern stern after the style of the cup-racer "Defender."
There have been many interesting races given under the auspices of the S. Y. C. in past seasons. In 1888 the "Silence," afterward known as the "Brown," came from the New York waters to sail against the "Lady Emma," and was defeated by the latter. The race was a match for $3,500 a side.
Commodore O'Brien's flag-ship, the "Zoe," was one of the best sloops of her day. She is a 25-foot boat with cabin and is still in commission, and has been every season for the past twenty-five years.
The Southern Yacht Club rules are accepted as authority in all regattas in Eastern Gulf waters. The club has a membership of 500 and there are 75 boats of all descriptions in the fleet — steam yachts, motor launches and sailing boats.
During the summer months regattas are in progress on the Southern circuit, under the auspices and rules of the S. Y. C. The clubs which take part are the Mandeville Club, Mandeville, La.; the Pass Christian Club, of Pass Christian, Miss.; the Biloxi Regatta Association, Biloxi, Miss.; the Pascagoula Yacht Club, of Scranton, Miss.; the Bay-Waveland Yacht Club, of Bay St. Louis, Miss.; and the Point Clear Yacht Club.
SOUTHERN AMATEUR ROWING ASSOCIATION.
Prior to 1893, the amateur rowing clubs of New Orleans and vicinity were banded together and known as the Pontchartrain Rowing Association, but in the spring of that year the association was disbanded. Two of the clubs which had been members of the association — the St. John Rowing Club and the Louisiana Boat Club — founded what is to-day known as The Southern Amateur Rowing Association, and all of the local clubs which were formerly members of the Pontchartrain Association have, at different times since, applied for membership and have been admitted into the new organization. The association now includes the St. John Rowing Club, the Louisiana Boat Club, the West End Rowing Club, the Tulane Rowing Club, and the Young Men's Gymnastic Rowing Club, all of New Orleans; and the Southern Racing Club, of Pensacola, Florida.
After the reorganization in 1893, the first officers elected were: Commodore, George Maspero, of the Louisiana Boat Club; Vice Commodore, T. E. Richardson, of the St. John's Rowing Club; Secretary, A. C. Norcross, of the same club; and Treasurer, Jules M. Wogan, of the Louisiana Club.
Afterwards Gus Ritzen, of the Pensacola Club, was elected Commodore; J. J. Woulfe, of the Y. M. G. C, First Vice Commodore; W. B. Vail, of the West End Rowing Club, Second Vice Commodore; 0. Lagman, of the Tulane Rowing Club, Treasurer; and Ed Rodd, of the St. John's Club, Secretary. A constitution was drawn up and adopted and every season regattas are held under the auspices of the association. Since the reorganization of the amateur oarsmen in New Orleans, the races have been held on Lake Pontchartrain, with the exception of those of 1898, which were rowed at Pensacola, Fla. The races have attracted much attention and the prizes have been sufficient to cause sharp competition among the local oarsmen and some records have been established.
The rules of the association governing the races are very explicit and are accepted by the oarsmen of this part of the country. It is a distinctly amateur association, an amateur oarsman being defined as follows, and no person who does not come under these requirements is allowed to compete in any of the events: "We define an amateur oarsman to be one who does not enter in an open competition; or for either a stake, admission money or entrance fee; or compete with or against a professional for any prize; who has never taught, pursued, or
assisted in the pursuit of athletic exercise as a means of livelihood; whose membership of any rowing or other athletic club was not brought about, or does not continue, because of any mutual agreement or understanding, expressed or implied, whereby his becoming or continuing a member of such club would be of any pecuniary benefit to him whatever, direct or indirect, and who has never been employed in any occupation involving the use of oar or paddle; and who shall otherwise conform to the rules and regulations of this association."
LOUISIANA BOAT CLUB.
The Louisiana Boat Club was organized August 29, 1879, and is one of the oldest corporations of its kind in the city. The first officers elected after organization were: E. B. Musgrove, President; J. H. Lafaye, Vice President; George Maspero, Secretary; J. A. Boze, Treasurer; E. J. Soniat, Captain; F. M. Boze, First Trustee; S. F. Lewis, Second Trustee; E. Coutourie, Third Trustee. The club had an active membership of 67 at this time, with two honorary members on the rolls.
On May 11, 1883, the organization was incorporated under a charter for
twenty-five years, and since that time has figured prominently in all the regattas of the Southern Amateur Rowing Association. In 1894, the season following the organization of the association of amateur oarsmen, the members of the Louisiana Boat Club won thirteen of the sixteen medals offered. At this regatta the champion four were W. G. Ellis, George Maspero, C. M. Wogan and Alfred Archinard. James C. Harris, of this club, won the medals for both the junior and senior single sculls in the regatta of '95.
The officers last elected were: J. A. Boze, President; H. J. Lafaye, Vice President; H. Tremoulet, Treasurer; M. C. Monroe, Secretary; H. B. Daborel, Captain; and Hugo Fernandez, Lieutenant. The club has grown in membership, and, while not the oldest, is one of the strongest amateur rowing clubs in the city.
WEST END ROWING CLUB.
The West End Rowing Club was formed after the old organization known
as the Orleans Rowing Club had disbanded in 1880, and the membership at the start comprised many of those who had belonged to the old club. The new organization was incorporated May 9, 1890, and has among its members amateur oarsmen who are among the more prominent contestants at the annual regattas of the Southern Amateur Rowing Association. This club won the pennants for 1896, '97 and '98. The officers are Thad. G. Stehle, President; Dan Edwards, Vice President; D. J. Manson, Treasurer; John Bigler, Jr., Financial Secretary; John C. Weber, Recording Secretary; and A. J. Hamilton, R. L. McCormack and Albert Ducombs, Trustees.
YOUNG MEN'S ROWING CLUB.
This organization was known as the Crescent Rowing Club prior to the regatta of 1898, which was held at Pensacola, Fla. Several months before this event it was decided to organize a new club known as the Young Men's Gymnastic Club's Rowing Club, being a branch of the Y. M. G. C. of New Orleans. The club-house is on Bayou St. John, where many of the local rowing clubs have been formed. Members of this club have made good records at the annual meetings and won the pennant for 1899. The officers of the club, who were elected when it was organized and have served since, are: John B. Cefalu, President; F. 0. Reinecke, Vice President; E. J. Reiss, Treasurer; Paul Landry, Financial Secretary; Nat. Dreyfus, Recording Secretary; John Wells, Captain; and W. Demoruelle,
The Washington Artillery was organized in 1839, through the influence of General Persifer F. Smith, as a battalion under the command of C. F. Hoxey, with J. B. Walton as adjutant. February 22, 1840, it was reorganized as the right flank company of the Washington regiment, Colonel Persifer F. Smith, this regiment being the only military organization in the American quarter of the city. In 1844, J. B. Walton was Lieutenant Colonel of this reigment, and in 1846, when it entered the service of the United States, Lieutenant Colonel Walton was in command of the regiment. After serving under General Taylor on the Rio Grande and returning to New Orleans, Colonel Walton was elected Captain of the artillery battalion, so remaining until 1861, at which time the command was increased to four companies or batteries, and moved immediately to the seat of war in Virginia. However, a reserve force of twenty men in charge of Lieutenant W. I. Hodgson, of the fourth company, was left at home to recruit a fifth company, which company was mustered into the service of the Confederate States, March 6, 1863, and on the 8th of the same month left for the seat of war. Having served through the war the organization returned to New Orleans, leaving 139 of its members on the
various battle-fields, who had been killed or who had died in the service, and here it was practically disbanded. In 1875 it was reorganized, with Colonel Walton in command, he serving until 1877. The full list of the colonels in command of this military organization is as follows: J. B. Walton, May 26, 1861, to July 8, 1864; B. F. Eshleman, July 8, 1864, to April 9, 1865; J. B. Walton, July 22, 1875, to May
17, 1877; W. M. Owen, May 17, 1877, to February 22, 1880; and John B. Richardson, from that date to the present time.
The battalion has erected in Metairie cemetery a large and handsome tomb and monument, above which stands at ease a Confederate artilleryman in uniform, and upon the four sides of which is a roll of the dead of its members. The arsenal originally owned by the command, located on Girod street, was confiscated and sold during the war, and in 1880 Colonel Richardson purchased its present large and commodious three-story brick building on St. Charles street, between Girod and Julia streets, and extending through to Carondelet. The command has its own cannon, rifles, sabers, equipment, uniform and ammunition, and also a shooting range in the building. The walls of the building are ornamented with a fine
painting by Julio, "The Last Meeting of Generals Lee and Jackson," at Chancellorsville, and a large number of other pictures and relics of the Civil War.
The command was incorporated under the laws of the State March 15, 1878, and on June 26 following decided to enter the Louisiana State National Guard. The battalion is composed of some of the best known men of the city, is open-hearted and open-handed to all old soldiers of the Civil War, whether of the Confederate or Federal side, and has extended courtesies to numerous military organizations from all parts of the United States.
UNITED CONFEDERATE VETERANS' ASSOCIATION.
The United Confederate Veterans' Association of Louisiana is composed of sixty camps, located in various sections of the State, five of the principal camps being in New Orleans. These five are the Benevolent Association of the Army of Northern Virginia, Camp No. 1; the Association of the Army of Tennessee, Camp No. 2; the Confederate States Cavalry Association, Camp No. 9; the Washington Artillery Veterans' Association, Camp No. 15; and the Henry St. Paul Battalion, Camp No. 16.
These camps were organized soon after the close of the war, as benevolent associations, for the purpose of caring for unfortunate comrades, who were sick, wounded or destitute and burdened with debt. Several of them have built tasteful tombs in the new Metairie cemetery for the interment of their deceased members, among which are the beautiful vault of the Army of Northern Virginia at the lower end of the cemetery, surmounted by a tall granite shaft, upon whose summit stands a statue of General Stonewall Jackson; and an attractive tomb of the Army of Tennessee, located at the right side of the entrance to the cemetery, surmounted by a magnificent equestrian statue of General A. S. Johnston, and the tomb of the Washington artillery, which presents an imposing appearance in the center of the grounds.
Through the instrumentality of these city camps a soldiers' home was established in the year 1882, and is located on the banks of the historic Bayou St. John, known as Camp Nicholls, in honor of the warrior statesman, governor, now supreme judge, Francis T. Nicholls. This home has been a grand boon to the crippled and otherwise unfortunate among the Confederate veterans, as it has comfortably housed and fed thousands since its establishment. Until 1899 it was managed by officers of the Army of Northern Virginia and the Army of Tennessee; but inasmuch as the State of Louisiana has regularly made appropriations to sustain the institution it is now managed conjointly by the officers of the camps of
veterans in New Orleans and a number of appointees by the governor of the
State. The building has a capacity for 150 inmates, and the board of directors, in addition to improving the grounds, have built in one of the cemeteries a substantial stone tomb for the interment of the dead. On the 6th of April each year, when memorial exercises are held at the Confederate monument, the veterans' associations form a line and visit each of the tombs named above, fire a military salute and listen to addresses appropriate to the occasion.
The Ladies' Confederate Memorial Association,
the oldest association of the kind in the South, was organized immediately after the war for the purpose of collecting the remains of the fallen heroes of the Southern cause and securing their interment in a spot over which now stands the first Confederate monument ever built, and known as the Confederate monument, in Metairie cemetery. It is of marble and supports a tall shaft upon the top of which stands a private soldier at parade rest. On four sides of its base are likenesses of four of the principal leaders of the Southern armies, viz.: General Robert E. Lee, General Stonewall Jackson, General Albert Sidney Johnston and General Leonidas Polk. Mrs. Sarah Polk Blake, daughter of General Polk, has for many years been the President of the association, Mrs. J. Y. Gilmore being the Recording Secretary arid Miss Daisy Hodgson the Corresponding Secretary.
The Daughters of the Confederacy
have within the last two years effected an organization in Louisiana with Mrs. J. Pinckney Smith, President of the Louisiana Division, U. D. C, and Miss Cora Richardson, Secretary. The New Orleans Chapter is presided over by Mrs. W. H. Hickson.
The United Sons of Confederate Veterans
have also effected an organization throughout the State, this taking place during the year 1899, with W. H. McClelland commander of the Louisiana Division, the camp in New Orleans being named Beauregard.
These several organizations co-operate with the Louisiana Division of the United Confederate Veterans, which division at its last convention, held at Baton Rouge, July 3 and 4, 1899, elected J. Y. Gilmore, Major-General, for the ensuing year, and he appointed Colonel Lewis Guion Adjutant-General and chief of staff:. This division is in the department of the Army of the Tennessee, of which General Stephen D. Lee is the Commander, and is under General John B. Gordon as Grand Commander, who has been at the head of the organization since the formation of the Confederate camps of the South into one grand association at a convention of such bodies of organized Confederate veterans, held at New Orleans in
1889. Commanders of the Louisiana Division, beginning with 1892, of the United Confederate Veterans have been as follows: W. J. Behan, 1892; John Glyn, Jr., 1893; J. 0. Watts, 1894; B. F. Eshleman, 1895; W. G. Vincent, 1896; John McGrath, 1897; C. H. Lombard, 1898; W. H. Timnard, 1899; and J. Y. Gilmore, 1900.
For more than twenty years, in the exercises of the Confederate Veterans, the organizations of Federal Veterans in New Orleans have participated, reciprocating a similar courtesy shown them on their Decoration day by the Confederate Veterans, thus doing on both sides what they can to assuage the once bitter feeling of the war.
GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC.
The Grand Army of the Republic was first organized in Louisiana in 1867, with H. C. Warmoth, department commander; but as little attention was given to reports at that period the records furnish but meager information as to the number and strength of posts. Then, too, the unsettled condition of affairs in the State hastened a general breaking up of the organization.
A reorganization of the Grand Army was effected in the State in 1873, Joseph A. Mower Post, No. 1, being chartered April 10, that year. As this was the only organized post in the State for a number of years it performed a good deal of work among the Federal soldiers who had settled in Louisiana and adjoining States, and the friendly association of its members with similar organizations among the Confederate soldiers aided largely in allaying the bitter feelings that had been engendered by the war.
The first encampment of the Gulf was held in New Orleans, May 15, 1884, with William Roy commander. By general orders dated June 13, 1884, the title was changed to the Department of Louisiana and Mississippi. Early in 1890 nine posts were chartered by Commander Gray, whose motives in thus suddenly bringing into existence these new posts, composed, as they were, largely of colored members, were seriously questioned, and in the department encampments of 1890 and 1892 these newly created posts were allowed no representation. The case being brought on appeal before the national encampment, the principle was clearly enunciated, by two national encampments, that the colored ex-soldier was entitled to all the privileges and benefits enjoyed by the white ex-soldiers, in the Grand
Army of the Republic. Orders having been issued by Commander-in-Chief Palmer for the recognition of these new posts by the department, a special department encampment was convened in March, 1893, and the department organization was dissolved and the charter forwarded to national headquarters, while five of the eight white posts also surrendered their charters. Past Department Commander A, S. Badger was appointed commander, and the charter returned to him, with instructions to reorganize the department. A temporary organization was effected and
a department encampment held in August, 1892, at which encampment the department was again regularly organized with twelve posts and a full complement of officers. Charles W. Keeting was elected department commander at the annual encampment held in March, 1894, and has been annually re-elected to the same office ever since. The department now has forty-nine posts, with an aggregate of 1,000 members.
Following are the names of the posts located in New Orleans: Joseph A.
Mower, Post No. 1; Andre Cailloux, Post No. 9; C. J. Barnett, No. 10; U. S. Grant, No. 11; John H. Crowder, No. 12; Oscar Orillion, No. 14; Ellsworth, No. 15; R. G. Shaw, No. 18; Farragut, No. 21, — the average membership being somewhat more than thirty.
THE JOCKEY CLUB.
The Jockey Club is on Esplanade Avenue, near Bayou Bridge. It was a private residence and occupies a whole square of ground on the lower side of the street. It is one of the most attractive spots in New Orleans. The house is of the French style of architecture and opens upon a beautiful terrace, in one of the wings is a bowling alley. The mansion stands in the midst of a garden. On gala occasions these gardens used to be illuminated with Chinese lanterns and electric lights, presenting a scene of enchanting beauty. Admission is by card from members.
Crossing Bayou Bridge, the Louisiana Boat Club and the Crescent Boat Club have quarters on the bank, and hold an annual regatta here.
During the year 1904, a Country Club House, to cost approximately 115,000, is to be erected by the St. John Land Company on Bayou St. John near the Esplanade Avenue Bridge.
L'Athenee Louisianais was incorporated January 12, 1876, at which time a constitution was adopted and officers elected. The founders of this society were: Dr. Labin Martin, General G. T. Beauregard, Dr. Armand Mercier, Dr. Just Tonatre, Dr. Alfred Mercier, Colonel Leon Queyrouze, Dr. Charles Turpin, James Auguste, Oliver Carriere, Paul Fourchy, Dr. Jean G. Hava and Judge Arthur Saucier. The objects of this society were to cultivate the study of the French language, to disseminate the results of literary research and to encourage local talent. The latter two objects were accomplished by the establishment and publication of a
periodical called the Comptes Rendus de I'Athenee Louisianais. As the members of this society were and are men of education and ripe scholarship, they have, for the years during which the society has been in existence, prepared and published many papers on a great variety of subjects, valuable in a local and general way, but too numerous to present even a list of them in this work.
L'Union Francaise, or the French Union, was organized in 1872, and incorporated October 5, of that year. Its object was to aid such natives of Alsace and Lorraine as might desire to leave their native land rather than live under the German government, those two provinces having been taken from France by Germany after the war of 1870-71. However, it resulted that there were fewer of such people seeking Louisiana as a home than had been expected, and the Union turned its attention to the succoring of those needing aid because of the yellow fever epidemic of 1878, the society caring for 845 persons, of whom only 58 died, and spending in its benevolent work $16,807.65.
From the great aggregation of a single club of 6OO members, each one of which has had to stand a severe test of qualification, down to the little Dinner club of five, whose dinners, served under the long shadows of the old French market where the choicest of viands are to be had, is the great range, the two extremes between which there are hundreds of organizations of all classes and varieties. From the earliest days in the history of the city similar conditions have existed. Lack of space precludes the possibility of a review of the organizations which flourished in years that are gone, or, in fact, even mention of all that are now in existence, hence this chapter is confined to those of greatest prominence of the present day.