Grand Commandery of the South Crest


The Grand Commandery of the South of the Order of Saint Lazarus celebrated the feast day of its patron with Advent Lessons and Carols and remembrance of departed consoeurs and confreres at historic Our Lady of Victory Church in New Orleans’ Old Ursuline Convent, Wednesday evening , 6 December 2017. Welcome and opening prayers were offered by the Most Rev. Gregory Aymond, Archbishop of New Orleans and a Senior Chaplain of the Order; five readings by confreres; and a homily by the Rev. C. Dana Krtuz, Executive Director of the Louisiana Interchurch Conference. The necrology of deceased consoeurs and confreres was read by the Rev. Jean McCurdy Meade, a Senior Chaplain of the Order. During the service, Mr. William J. Falk was presented a Member of Merit award for meritorious service in the GCS’ citizenship program.

Dinner followed at Dooky Chase’s restaurant, with a special appearance by Mrs. Lena Chase, mother of Chevalier Edgar L. Chase III. Despite unusually cold and wet weather conditions, the service and dinner were largely attended, in testament to the GCS’ signature commitment to communal worship and fellowship.

Deo Gratias – Atavis et Armis!


Good morning, all.

The first batch of photos from the 2017 GPC are posted in the Members area of the GPA website ( under Grand Prioral Council Meetings (, PHOTOS tab. Please inform your membership.

Many thanks,
Mary Ann
[Dame Grand Cross MaryAnn P. Straub, Vice Chancellor)



Hundreds of Catholics and Protestants of various denominations observed the 500th anniversary of the Reformation with a Common Prayer service on Monday evening, October 23, 2017 in New Orleans’ historic St. Louis Cathedral-Basilica. H.E. Archbishop Gregory Aymond and Rev. Bishop Michael Rinehart presided, with a score of clergy and religious assisting.

In addition to his role as spiritual leader of the 520,000-plus communicants of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, Archbishop Aymond is an Ecclesiastical Count of the Holy Roman Empire, Grand Prior of the Southeastern Lieutenancy of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, and a Senior Chaplain of the Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem.

Bishop Rinehart is Bishop of the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and lives in Montgomery, Texas with his wife and children.

Participants in Monday evening’s service included representatives of the Grand Commandery of the South of the Order of Saint Lazarus, the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, Knights of Saint Peter Claver and Ladies of Grace, and Knights of Columbus, all of whom processed in their respective mantles.

The service included scripture readings and invocations by participating clergy and religious and homilies by Archbishop Aymond and Bishop Rinehart, with intervening music rendered by the Archdiocese of New Orleans Gospel Choir, St. Louis Brass Quintet, and soloists.

“Lutherans and Catholics for greater than 500 years been on a journey from conflict to communion,” Archbishop Aymond stated. “With joy, we have come to recognize that what unites us is far greater than what divides us. While on this journey, mutual understanding and trust has increased.”

On his part, Bishop Rinehart stated: “This evening as we gather together in the joy of the Gospel, we come with abundant gratitude and thanksgiving, yet we have some lament for the distance that still lies ahead. In repentance and sorrow for our division we gather in thanksgiving, confession, common witness, and commitment.”

Intercessory prayer was offered on behalf of those suffering in war-torn regions, the ill, dispossessed, the excluded and those who have suffered from natural disasters. Prayers of petition were made on behalf of refugees, the homeless and defenseless, abandoned children, the environment, the persecuted, and those suffering from the painful memories, complacency, indifference and ignorance which hinder reconciliation.

Common Prayer was developed by The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU) and The Lutheran World Federation (LWF), in cooperation with noted theologians, to mark the 500 years of the Reformation in a number of liturgical services this year.

Immediately preceding the October 23 Common Prayer service, many attendees, including those of the Grand Commandery of the South of the Order of Saint Lazarus, enjoyed dinner and fellowship in nearby French Quarter restaurants.

Deo Gratias – Atavis et Armis !


  • New Orleans, LA


  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi

The Grand Commandery of the South supports a wide range of charitable activities. Our efforts largely focus on outreach within our Commandery’s geographic boundaries. In addition, members of our Commandery generously support the national and international charitable efforts of the American Association of the Order of St. Lazarus, the charitable arm of the Grand Priory. The Grand Commandery of the South consistently leads in giving through the annual Pentecostal Appeal.

In the healthcare arena, the Grand Commandery of the South is a long-time supporter of Luke’s House Free Medical Clinic which provides healthcare for the poor and underserved in Central City, New Orleans. Originally sponsored by Rayne Memorial United Methodist Church, Luke’s House has evolved into an ecumenical effort. The Grand Commandery of the South has donated patient examining tables, ceiling-mounted patient enclosure curtains, a replacement laptop computer, and a year’s worth of i-Stat diagnostic cartridges for the accompanying hand-held blood analysis device. Our Commandery also helped supply Ochsner Clinic Foundation with a patient mobility aid known as the “Rifton TRAM”, a lift-ambulate-transfer-mobility device which gives gait training, sit-to-stand transfers, and seated transfers, to patients who have a physical disability or who are recovering from the effects of a stroke.

The Commandery is involved with community outreach. We have supported All Souls Episcopal Church and Community Center in the lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans which offers programs for children ranging from summer-camp violin classes to after-school sewing classes. Our Commandery funded two refrigerators for St. Michael Special School which assists special-needs children of all faiths. Members generously supported the construction of the Fr. Val Ambrose McInnes, OP, Center for Catholic Life at Tulane University. For several years, through our American Citizenship Project, our Commandery members have provided one-on-one instruction to documented immigrants in their journey to become American citizens.

We continue our interest in prison ministry. The Grand Commandery of the South supports Kairos-LCIW prison ministry for the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women in St. Gabriel, Louisiana. Annually our Commandery donates funds to Cornerstone Builders, sponsored by Associated Catholic Charities, to provide bus transportation for family members to visit incarcerated loved ones on the Saturday before Christmas.

Extending beyond New Orleans, the Grand Commandery of the South has helped provide laptop computers to St. Mary’s Home Trailblazer Academy Program in Mobile, Alabama, serving middle and high school students from disrupted and troubled families. Our Commandery has supported Arkansas’ Logan County Single Parent Scholarship Fund, Tangipahoa Parish Food Bank, and Saint Mary of False River Church in Pointe Coupee Parish.

Our Commandery is an associate member of the Louisiana Interchurch Conference, our statewide council of churches, which represents diverse communions by holding assemblies and other means of cooperative prayer to promote the cause of Christian unity, while speaking to the state in the united voice of the churches.

The Grand Commandery of the South is the champion sponsor of two endeavors supported by the American Association of the Order of St. Lazarus: funding the keynote address at the National Workshop for Christian Unity and AMAR International Charitable Foundation, providing humanitarian assistance to displaced women and children in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Having its base in historic New Orleans, Louisiana, the Grand Commandery of the South comprises a region and population well known for its Christian commitment, chivalric traditions and charitable undertakings. The first recorded instance of a knight of Saint Lazarus was noted in 1710 in what was then the French colony of Louisiana. More than twenty pioneer French Louisiana families counted members who were knights or officers of the Order, while many of their ancestors were active Lazarites in the Holy Land and France during medieval times.

New Orleanians’ care of sufferers of Hansen’s disease (then known as leprosy) began in Spanish colonial times and accelerated through the period of Americanization with the founding of the National Leprosarium at Carville, Louisiana. With the official establishment of the Order of Saint Lazarus in Louisiana in the 20th century, its membership commenced its continuing support of Hansen’s disease research and diagnosis.

Only five years after the Order of Saint Lazarus inaugurated its Grand Priory of America, New Orleanians formed the Southern Delegation in the American bicentennial year of 1976. Principal founders were Delegate Harold Stream, Almoner Charles Gresham, Grand Prior Monsignor Patrick Ryan, and Bailiff Dr. Hans von Leden. On January 30 of that year, 14 postulants were invested in New Orleans’ historic Saint Louis Basilica. Archbishop Philip M. Hannan of New Orleans delivered the homily and was created a Grand Prelate of Merit. Two days later, members made the 75-mile trip up the Mississippi River to the National Leprosarium at Carville for celebration of Sunday Holy Mass.

The Delegation of the South rapidly grew to a Commandery and to a Grand Commandery, comprising the contiguous states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas, all of which had been part of the old Louisiana province. On January 11, 2003, the Grand Commandery of the South formally celebrated its reaching 100 members.

Several years after the organization of the Commandery, a prominent local banker, J. Luis Baños, joined the Order, and it was he who proposed locating the National Shrine in Our Lady of Victory Church in the Old Ursuline Convent. Also, very early in the life of the Commandery, Father Val McInnes became one of our chaplains. Notable among the members was Dame Grand Cross Corinne “Lindy” Claiborne Boggs (1916-2013), a United States Representative, champion of equal rights, and Ambassador to the Holy See during 1997-2001.

Over the Commandery’s approximate forty-year history, a number of New Orleanians have served as Commander: Harold Stream, Ernie Carrere, Truman Woodward, William H. Johnston, George T. Schneider, C. Fredrick Dahlberg, Jr., Kenneth E. Newburger, Herschel L. Abbott, Jr., Hugh R. Straub, and currently, James R. Jeter, Jr.

The Grand Commandery of the South has several annual events and marks dates of special import. Guests are always welcome. Beginning in January, members observe the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, followed by the White Mass held for the medical profession, and a Spring Retreat led by a Commandery Chaplain. Subsequently, there are a Healing Service, spring commodities collection and social gathering, several Scripture Study meetings in members’ homes, and a lessons and carols service in celebration of Saint Lazarus Day on December 17. Most of the events are followed by luncheons or dinners, with a black tie dinner following the Saint Lazarus Day service.