On October 4, 1900, in the hall of Electa Chapter #16 Alexandria, La., a preliminary convention was called by Brother Nathaniel A. Gearhart, Most Worthy Grand Patron of the General Grand Chapter. The purpose of this convention was to charter a Grand Chapter in Louisiana. Brother Gearhart appointed Sister Kate C. Breckner of Iowa as Special Grand Deputy of the Most Worthy Grand Patron to preside over the meeting.
The chapters in Louisiana were:
- Rob Morris No. I, chartered April 17, 1894, New Orleans
- Rebecca No. 2, Welch
- Louise L. McGuire No. 6, Monroe
- Alice No. 7, Morgan City
- Harmony No. 9, Coushatta
- Evangeline No. 10, Farmerville
- Gordy No. 14, Ruston
- Jennings No. 15, Jennings
- Electa No. 16, Alexandria
All had representatives except Rebecca No. 2 and Evangeline No. 10. A letter was read from Sister Hattie E. Ewing, Most Worthy Grand Matron, authorizing that all Worthy Matrons, Worthy Patrons, Associate Matrons or legally appointed proxies, Past Matrons, and Past Patrons be entitled to seats and membership in this convention and to take part in the organization of the Grand Chapter of Louisiana.
Sister Mary S. Herring was elected Worthy Grand Matron and Brother John S. Alfred was elected Worthy Grand Patron. There was no Associate Grand Patron until legislation passed in General Grand Chapter a few years later. The officers were installed, and the Grand Chapter proclaimed duly instituted.
The first annual session was then held at the same location on the same date. The chapters were renumbered consecutively according to date of organization. The Worthy Grand Matron, by the advice of the Worthy Patron, authorized an assessment on the chapters to defray expenses of the Grand Chapter.
The next annual session was held at Rob Morris No. I in New Orleans on June 6, 1901. At this time, the Grand Chapter was constituted to be known as “Grand Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star of the State of Louisiana,” and the Penal Code was adopted. Sister Kate Brechner, Special Deputy of the Most Worthy Grand Patron, appointed twenty Grand Representatives. It was recommended by the Worthy Grand Matron that the subordinate chapters revise their bylaws to conform with the regulations of the Grand Chapter.
In the Worthy Grand Matron’s report, she requested the Grand Chapter to arouse the interest of the members to establish a home where the aged and dependent members may find haven of rest and that this subject be also agitated in the Masonic Lodge, and if the Grand Lodge built a home, they would find support from the Order of the Eastern Star in Louisiana.
After the fifth annual session it was again discussed about the Eastern Stars aiding in the maintenance of a Masonic Home when and if one was erected.
In I 908 the state was divided into ten districts and a deputy appointed by the Worthy Grand Matron for each district to give instruction in the ritual and secret work of the Order.
The Grand Lodge of Louisiana built and dedicated a Masonic Children’s Home in Alexandria in 1926. The Grand Chapter of Louisiana gave $15,000 toward the erection of an Infirmary Building for use of the children. An additional $10,000 to be forthcoming to complete this project. The building was later converted to a home where house mothers could go on their days off for relaxation.
In 1927 a nest egg was started and dedicated toward an “Eastern Star Home for the Aged and Infirm and Destitute.” This fund has been increased by donations from members and chapters through the years. Several times committees have been formed to study the feasibility of building a home, but nothing has materialized.
The Worthy Grand Matrons in 1934 started a Home Coming for Eastern Stars at the Masonic Children’s Home. The event continued until the Home was closed.
After the hurricane in Cameron, in 1957 and Triumph, in 1969 the Grand Chapter extended financial support to those unfortunate members who lost everything. A Fraternal Assistance Fund was started in 1969 to give aid to destitute members by request and recommendation from their chapter. A board of three members was elected to review these applications and upon their approval the monies are disbursed.
Louisiana Grand Chapter has been given many appointments in the General Grand Chapter, the highest recognition being the election of Brother Everett H. Newman lo the office of Most Worthy Grand Patron. Brother Harless I. Creech followed in his footsteps.
The members in Louisiana are indebted to those early pioneers for their dedication and perseverance under the most adverse conditions so that Eastern Stars in this Grand Jurisdiction now enjoy this beautiful heritage.
Sister Terrie C. Castay, PGM, depicted as her motto “Our Treasured Heritage.”
This truly depicts Louisiana’s history.