SECRET ORDERS OF NEW ORLEANS.
SECRET ORDERS have thrived in New Orleans since the opening chapter of The city's history. Masonry came with the early refugees, and the latter day fraternal organizations were, as a rule, introduced here soon after their inception. For over a hundred years the Masons have had lodges in New Orleans, and, with the exception of a few years prior to the civil war, they have enjoyed continuous progress and prosperity. Odd Fellowship gained a foothold in New Orleans a few years after the city became part of the United States, making rapid strides during the forties, when many new lodges were formed. The Knights of Pythias began organizing lodges immediately after the civil war and successfully combated the evil political influences which prevailed in those trying times, and to-day this organization is one of the strongest in the State. The labor and trade organizations were not so prompt to get a foothold here, but once established, their growth has been rapid and substantial, and indications are that within the next few years labor organizations will have become firmly established and will embrace in their membership rolls all trades and occupations. In the last few years many organizations, such as the Elks, which now has handsome headquarters, the T. P. A., etc., have been organized in New Orleans, and the membership and work of the various orders is generally satisfactory.
Masonry was introduced into Louisiana during the latter part of the eighteenth century, its establishment being hastened probably by the hostility of Spain to the order, for while the Masons in New Orleans were mostly Frenchmen and few in dumber, and while they were compelled to act cautiously and with considerable circumspection in order to avoid giving offense to the authorities and becoming amenable to process of law, yet these restrictions only resulted in bringing the brethren closer together and strengthening their bonds of union, a most natural result of any form of tyranny or oppression. Masonry had for many years existed in San Domingo, introduced by the French, and when a number of refugees came to New Orleans from the West Indies, it was but natural that they should seek their own countrymen here, and that the natives and immigrants should seek to strengthen further the bonds of friendship by the organization of lodges of their own order.
Hence, in 1793, several Frenchmen, Freemasons, then residing in New Orleans, organized themselves into a lodge, by the name of Parfaite Union, and made application to the Grand Lodge of South Carolina for a charter, which was granted, and they were constituted as "Loge Parfaite Union No. 29," the officers being installed in the York rite, March 30, 1794, by Jason Lawrence, who was specially deputed for that purpose. These first officers were: Laurent Sigur, W. M.; Laurent Chouriac, S. W.; and Andres Wakernie, J. W.
During the same year, 1794, several members of the French or Modern Rite resolved to form themselves into a lodge, under the name of "Etoile Polaire," applying to the Grand Orient of France for a charter; but this application proved futile, owing to the fact that the Grand Orient of France had suspended its labors because of political troubles then agitating that country. This being learned, these members made a similar application to the Provincial Lodge, "la Parfaite Sincerite" at Marseilles, which granted them a provincial charter in 1796, entrusting it to Dominique Mayronne with power to constitute the new lodge and to install its officers. Polar Star Lodge was, therefore, duly constituted and its officers installed under the French rite, December 27, 1798, with officers as follows: Duprelong Peytavin, W. M.; Chev. Desilets, S. W., and F. Marc, J. W.
The Grand Orient of France, having in 1803 resumed its labors, took action on the petition of the members of the Polar Star Lodge, sent in 1794, and in 1804 granted a charter and deputed Ch. Tessier to carry it to them and seal their work. Under this charter Polar Star Lodge No. 4263 was reconstituted and its officers installed November 11, 1804, by A. Pinard and A. Marmillion, specially deputed for that purpose by the Grand Orient. The first officers under this charter were A. B. Chastant, W. M.; A. Marmillion, S. W.; and J. Pinard, J. W.
Some time previous to this latter date certain residents of New Orleans, and former members of Candor Lodge No. 12, of Charleston, S. C, which had become extinct, resolved to revive their old lodge in this city, and made application for a charter to the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, which was granted May 18, 1801, the lodge receiving the name of Candor Lodge No. 90, and having for its first officers, N. Definiels, W. M.; Gaspard Debuys, S. W.; and Pierre D. Bcme, J. W. Under this charter it is thought by the best authorities on Masonry in New Orleans that no organization was effected, for the reason that its Worthy Master was the same as Charite Lodge No. 93, which was chartered March 1, 1802, but did not receive its charter until 1804, on May 13 of which year the lodge was duly constituted and the officers installed in the York Rite by Eugene Dorsiere, specially deputed for that purpose by the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. Its first officers were: N. Definiels, W. M.; D. Baron, S. W., and J. Carrick, J. W.
Louisiana was admitted to the Union April 30, 1812, a political change
which had a corresponding effect on Masonry in the Territory, now changed to a State. Measures were immediately taken to form a Grand Lodge for the new State, the movement being initiated by Perfect Union Lodge No. 29, each of the lodges in the State sending three delegates to a meeting held in its hall at the corner of Camp and Gravier streets, New Orleans, April 18, 1812, the lodges represented being as follows:
The Grand Royal Arch chapter of Louisiana was formed March 8, 1813, by Concord and Perseverance Royal Arch Chapters, working under charters from the Grand Chapter of Pennsylvania and attached to lodges of the same name, and on March 13, the Grand Officers were elected and installed as follows : P. F. Dubourg, G. H. P.; Moreau Lislet, D. G. H. P.; J. Soulie, G. K.; and Thomas Urquhart, G. S.
It should be stated that when the Grand Lodge was organized two of the lodges then in existence failed to participate, viz.: Louisiana No. 1, and Harmony No. 122. Up to the close of the year 1818, the Grand Lodge had granted nine charters, only three of which were for lodges in Louisiana, and none of the three in New Orleans. But the three new lodges, together with the five which united in forming the Grand Lodge, made eight lodges in the State acknowledging its jurisdiction. Louisiana Lodge had gone out of existence and Harmony Lodge, No. 122, was still working under its charter from the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania and there was another lodge in the State of which the Grand Lodge had no knowledge until years afterwards. From this time on until 1846 there was a great deal of confusion in Masonry in the State, lodges being formed under jurisdictions other than the Grand Lodge of the State, as under the French Rite, under the Grand Lodge of Mississippi, and other bodies; but since 1850 there has been little or no conflict of authority, all of the lodges having come under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana. For a detailed history of Masonry in Louisiana the reader is referred to the "Rise and Progress of Freemasonry in Louisiana," by James B. Scot, who had unusual facilities for writing a book of this kind, and did his work well. The following is a list of the Masonic lodges in New Orleans, together with the dates of their organization:
Perfect Union No. 1, organized 1793, date of present charter August 15, 1812;
Under the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the State are the following:
In connection with the history of the Louisiana State Lottery it should be mentioned that a lottery was authorized by the Legislature for the purpose of erecting a Masonic temple in New Orleans; but under that authority it is not now remembered that any action was taken. But in 1859 the Masons of the city determined to erect one of the finest temples in the country, and purchased for $60,000 the ground known as the Carrollton Railroad Depot, included between St. Charles, Carondelet, Calliope and Delord streets, with the exception of a small angle at Carondelet near Calliope, upon which stood a couple of houses. Upon this ground the foundations of a temple were laid at a cost of $30,000, the design being to erect a building to cost $250,000, but the project was abandoned because of the great expense. Land was sold off to the amount of $80,000, and the old Commercial Exchange building, standing at the corner of St. Charles and Perdido streets, was purchased for $56,000, the building being used as a temple until about 1890, when the erection of the present temple was begun, the comer-stone being laid October 20, that year. The building was completed in 1892 at a total cost of about $110,000.
INDEPENDENT ORDER OF ODD FELLOWS.
Odd Fellowship was founded in Louisiana by the organization of Louisiana Lodge No. 1, under a charter granted by the Grand Lodge of the United States, February 20, 1831, the lodge being instituted May 23, following. The Independent Order of Odd Fellows was introduced into the United States in 1806, and in 1819 some persons who had been members of English lodges established a lodge at Baltimore which soon received a charter from the Manchester Unity. Thomas Wildey, who was one of the promoters of the Baltimore lodge, was largely instrumental in organizing the Grand Lodge of Louisiana, a charter for which was granted by the Grand Lodge of the United States, in an adjourned meeting held at Baltimore March 5, 1832, the Louisiana branch being proclaimed instituted January 6, 1833. Eleven years later the State Legislature passed an act incorporating the body, the charter extending over a period of fifty years. The first encampment of the patriarchal branch was named Wildey, No. 1, and was organized under a charter from the Grand Lodge of the United States, granted March 6, 1832, to be located at New Orleans, and instituted by Grand Sire Wildey, December 24, 1832. Afterward other encampments were organized in different parts of the State. The Grand Encampment was organized under a dispensation issued October 2, 1847, to Wildey, No. 1; Louisiana, No. 2, of St. Francesville; Hobah, No. 3; and Magnolia, No. 4, of Baton Rouge, the Grand Encampment to be located at New Orleans, and known as the Grand Encampment of Louisiana. The preliminary meeting to act upon the dispensation was held January 13, 1848, the same being accepted and the meeting adjourned on the 10th of the month following. Under Grand Lodge authority to establish Rebekah lodges, Naomi Lodge, No. 1, was instituted May 16, 1874, at New Orleans, and other lodges of the same degree were soon afterward organized at other places in the State. To the jurisdiction of Louisiana belongs the credit of originating and carrying to success three important adjuncts of the order, viz.:
The home of the Odd Fellows in New Orleans was formerly located at the comer of Camp and Lafayette streets, where now stands the Fisk Free and Public library building. Here the corner-stone of the first Odd Fellows' Hall was laid April 26, 1850, and the building was dedicated November 23, 1852. It was destroyed by fire July 4, 1866, and the present Odd Fellows' Hall, situated on Camp street, between Lafayette and Poydras streets, was built in 1867-68, and dedicated November 10, of the latter year.
In 1862 the Grand Lodge and the Grand Encampment effected a separation from the Grand Lodge of the United States and assumed independent authority. Fraternal relations were restored in the early part of 1865.
During the great epidemics of yellow fever in New Orleans the Odd Fellows, as did all the older fraternal orders, accomplished many noble deeds in relief work.
Prior to 1840, charters were granted to the following New Orleans lodges:
The subordinate lodges of Odd Fellows now in existence, together with the date each was instituted, follow:
The colored' organizations of Odd Fellows are as follows:
KNIGHTS OP PYTHIAS.
The Knights of Pythias organized lodges in Louisiana as early as 1868, but shortly thereafter, in fact as soon as the Grand Lodge had been got in shape, the political corruption which was then tearing the State from center to circumference, invaded the organization and an effort was made to control the vote of the members. This quickly caused a revolt and the Grand Lodge was practically disorganized. The next effort of the order was made in 1876 when on April 15 of that year Orleans Lodge, No. 1, was organized under a charter granted five days previously. In May of 1880 Supreme Chancellor S. S. Davis, of Maine, came to Louisiana and reorganized the Grand Lodge at Monroe. The Endowment and Uniform Ranks were also organized about this time, and since then the order has flourished here. The Louisiana branch of the K. of P. bears the distinction of having had at one time an orthodox Catholic priest as prelate of one of its lodges. The headquarters of the Grand Lodge are now located at New Orleans, with the following officers: P. A. Capdau, G. C.; W. A. Knapp, G. V. C.; W. L. Erwin, G. P.; T. C. Will, G. M. of E.; John A. McLean, G. K. of E. and S.; W. C. Davis, G. M. A.; P. J. Chappuis, G. L G.; P. J. Alexander, G. 0. G.; J. Zach Spearing and Henry Bernstein, Supreme Representatives. The lodges of the Knights of Pythias, together with the date each was organized, are as follows:
|Orleans, No. 1, April 10, 1876||Crescent, No. 3, Aug. 31, 1878.|
|Royal Arch, No. 8, March 28, 1879.||Samaritan, No. 9, Aug. 25, 1879.|
|Paragon, No. 16, May 14, 1880.||Ivanhoe, No. 22, Jan. 14, 1881.|
|Tivoli, No. 25, March 8, 1881.||Alma, No. 42, Oct. 12, 1883.|
|Dionysius, No. 45, April 17, 1884.||Myrtle, No. 47, July 5, 1884.|
|Perseverance, No. 48, July 12, 1884.||Syracuse, No. 50, Oct. 2, 1884.|
|Columbia, No. 52, Feb. 3, 1885.||Manhattan, No. 53, May 25, 1885.|
|France, No. 56, September 16, 1885.||Eagle, No. 57, Oct. 13, 1885.|
|Minerva, No. 58, Oct. 28, 1885.||Kenilworth, No. 69, Nov. 6, 1885.|
|American, No. 62, Dec. 10, 1885.||Hercules, No. 68, April 3, 1886.|
|Halcyon, No. GG, April 10, 1886.||Garibaldi, No. 72, Oct. 21, 1886.|
|Excelsior, No. 74, Oct. 30, 1886.||Lexington, No. 73, Nov. 4, 1886.|
|Washington, No. 75, Dec. 2, 1886.||Samson, No. 80, April 25, 1887.|
|Jefferson, No. 81, April 26, 1887.||Virginius, No. 88, April 27, 1889.|
|Audubon, No. 90, June 3, 1889.||Ivy, No. 93, Nov. 3, 1889.|
|Onward, No. 95, Dec. 6, 1889.||E. E. Lee, No. 99, March 14, 1891.|
|Empire, No. 112, April 9, 1892.||James G. Gregory, No. 117, April 29, 1893.|
|Apollo, No. 127, March 22, 1894.||Metairie, No. 126, March 24, 1894.|
|Beauregard, No. 128, May 17, 1894.||Confidence, No. 131, July 7, 1894.|
|Virginia, No. 136, June 15, 1895.|
KNIGHTS OF HONOR.
The Knights of Honor became established in Louisiana July 8, 1881, with the organization of Alpha Lodge, No. 2501, at Shreveport. The first New Orleans lodge was Pelican, No. 2511, which was formed July 25, 1881, with forty members. The prime movers in the organization of this lodge were Dr. S. M. Angell, F. H. Robinson and D. J. Searcy. The lodge has been a popular one ever since it was chartered, and at the beginning of 1900 had a membership of 140. There are at the time of this writing 18 lodges in New Orleans, with a total membership of 1676. The Uniform Rank was established in the State December 6, 1887, by the formation of Eagle Commandery, No. 9, which was afterward changed to the Crescent City Commandery.
ANCIENT ORDER OF UNITED WORKMEN.
The Ancient Order of United Workmen was not introduced into Louisiana until eighteen years after the order was founded at Meadville, Pa., in 1868. The first Louisiana lodge was established at Gretna in 1884, under the title, Jeflferson Lodge, No. 12, but, due to the prejudice then existing against New Orleans because of epidemics, the order was kept out of the city proper until 1894, when Corinthian Lodge, No. 19, was organized, and duly chartered with 87 members. Just prior to the organization of this lodge, the Southern Jurisdiction, embracing Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas and the Indian Territory, which had existed from 1884 to 1892, was changed to embrace Arkansas, Louisiana and the Indian Territory, with the Grand Recorder's headquarters at Bentonville, Ark., and it was due to this change that the ban against New Orleans was removed. While being one of the largest in point of membership of all the fraternal organizations in this country, the Ancient Order of United Workmen does not appear to have gained a particularly strong foothold here. The lodges in the city proper are: Corinthian, No. 19; Lafayette, No. 20; and Crescent, No. 22. The Louisiana representatives to the Supreme Lodge are J. H. Shepherd, Shreveport; W. W. Whittington, and W. J. Calvert, Alexandria.
AMERICAN LEGION OF HONOR.
The American Legion of Honor gained a foothold in New Orleans through the organization of Chalmette Council, No. 801, in the latter part of 1881. The days of greatest prosperity for the order in this part of the country were between the years 1885 and 1890, when the membership in the State reached about 2,500. The membership is not so large now. The next meeting of the Grand Council will be held in New Orleans in May, 1901.
Among the other orders represented in New Orieans are the following:
The Ancient Order of Druids, with the following groves:
The Templars of Honor and Temperance with two organizations — The Grand Temple of Honor of Louisiana, and Howard Temple, No. 2. Besides these there are the New Orleans Catholic Total Abstinence Association, the St. Joseph's Total Abstinence Society, St. Alphonsus Total Abstinence Society, and the Woman's Christian Temperance Union.
The Catholic Knights of America have the following branches in New Orleans: Numbers 271, 278, 291, 311, 343, 352, 356, 394,. 416, 467 and 506.
The Woodmen of the World have the following camps:
The Patriotic Order Sons of America has the following camps:
The Patriotic Order of Americans has the following camps: Martha Washington, No. 1; No. 2; and No. 3.
The Independent Order of B'nai B'rith has the following lodges: