Grand Commandery of the South Crest



The GCS, represented by Confrere Tom Forbes, Hospitaller, presented a grant to Padua House, represented by Ashley Bellant, in aid of Padua’s Community Services. Padua offers comprehensive, specialized care for children and adults with disabilities through its Residential Program and Community Homes. Care includes residential sites for clients, in-home care and adult day health care.



Confreres and Consoeurs of the GGS marched in procession in the mantles of the Order during the April 28,2018 inter-faith service in St. Louis Cathedral Basilica commemorating the 300th anniversary of the founding of New Orleans. Two members of the GCS, New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond and Father “Buddy” Noel, were instrumental in the historic event, with His Excellency leading the service and Fr. Buddy organizing.

The presence of the Order of Saint Lazarus in what was then the French colony of Louisiana predates the founding of New Orleans by at least eight years, with Chevalier Jean Baptiste de Valigny noted as supplying 25 men, protection and subsistence at Dauphin Island (in present-day Alabama) in 1710. At least 20 pioneer French Louisiana families had members who were knights of the Order and many more were descended from Lazarites who ministered in medieval France and the Holy Land.


The congregation of St. Mary of False River church in New Roads welcomed at the 11 a.m. Liturgy on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 8, 2018 as pilgrims and advocates of the Lord’s mercy members of the Imperial Calcasieu Delegation (ICD), joined by GPA Chancellor Hugh Straub and Vice-Chancellor of Administration Mary Ann Straub of the GCS.

The cup used in the Offering of the Liturgy was the church’s oldest known relic of the faith: the chalice dated 1696, which was a gift of Jean Rene Bouwens van der Boyen, Baron de Neeryssche, nobleman of present-day Belgium, from whence several of the congregations’s ancestors hailed.

GCS members Straub, Straub and Costello joined ICD on pilgrimage to St. Mary in New Roads.


The Grand Commandery of the South recently received a first-hand view of the Order’s “Rising Star” mobile clinic ministry in India, through the eyes of Vice-Commander Michie Bissell. Until her full report, she states: “An amazing place. Can’t wait to share it with the Commandery!”


Consoeurs and Confreres of the Grand Commandery of the South observed the commencement of the 2018 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity through participation in and forming a guard of honor for the 11:30 a.m. celebration of the Mass, Sunday, 21 January, at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church (historic Mortuary Chapel) in New Orleans.

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is a century-plus devotion in which Christians around the world have taken part in an octave (eight days) of prayer for visible Christian unity. In doing so, the faithful proceed toward fulfilling Jesus’ prayer at the Last Supper “that they all may be one” (John 17:21).

In addressing the congregation during the Mass, GPA Commander Hugh Straub expressed his appreciation of the Our Lady of Guadalupe’s Eucharistic presence and its celebrated diversity of communicants, which he deemed a true representation of the city.

A delectable lunch and the customary GPA camaraderie followed at Restaurant Antoine.


The GCS, with the benefit of a matching grant from the American Association, recently donated $,1000 to Saint Michael Special School, a local Catholic school near downtown New Orleans which has for years provided education to special-needs children. Our donation will allow the purchase of a new on-site electronic defibrillator to replace the old one which had become too expensive to maintain. The new machine will allow Saint Michael to keep one of its buildings open since the “AED” is a required item for schools.

In the accompanying photo are three of the students, St. Michael President/Principal Tish Sauerhoff , and GCS Hospitaller CDR Tom Forbes.

Hoping this is helpful, and extending best Christmas wishes,

[CDR] Tom Forbes
Hospitaller, GCS


The GCS, with appreciation to the American Association for their matching grant, delivered a gift of $1,000 to Trinity Christian Community Center (TCC), a Christian community outreach organization of long standing in New Orleans’ Hollygrove neighborhood, where they provide among many other services an after-school haven for local children, with many activities and programs. Last year we donated funds for a karate program instructor. This year’s donation goes toward providing a computer programming instructor for the center’s Tech Lab, which is now under construction and will open in January 2018. Through this program, the students will learn how to write computer code. We are glad to get in on the “ground floor” of this valuable new program.

Shown in the accompanying photo are Jarvain Bingmon, TCC Executive Director, GCS Hospitaller CDR Tom Forbes, and two of the future Tech Lab students.

We hope this is helpful, and extend best Christmas wishes,

[CDR] Tom Forbes
GCS Hospitaller


One of the Grand Commandery of the South’s beneficiaries, Grace at the Greenlight, sent its 1,300th person home on Saturday evening, December 16, at New Orleans’ Union Passenger Terminal, transitioning a father from the streets of New Orleans home to Raleigh, North Carolina.

Matthew Benson was conveyed home to his wife and four children just in time for Christmas. Matthew came to New Orleans to help rebuild homes and buildings in New Orleans East. He was staying with the construction crew in a hotel on Bullard Avenue when he lost his job over a dispute in pay. He was kicked out of the hotel and walked from New Orleans East to the Downtown Bus Terminal looking for help. Terminal personnel put Matthew in touch with Grace at the Greenlight.

“We believe that everyone deserves the chance to go home again,” says Sarah Parks, the organization’s Executive Director, “and are thrilled to make Matthew’s Christmas wish come true.”

According to the January 2017 Point in Time Survey, the city’s annual measure of homelessness, there are 469 men, women and children sleeping on the street in New Orleans on any given night. In an April 2017 interview with the New Orleans Advocate, Mayor Mitch Landrieu noted that just “one chronically homeless person on the streets costs taxpayers $20,000 to $50,000 per year in services, including dozens of encounters with EMS, NOPD or jail.” In comparison, Grace’s I’m Going Home project costs an average of $250 per person to reunite the homeless with their loved ones.

In addition to the I’m Going Home project, Grace at the Greenlight has helped to tackle our city’s homelessness problem by serving over 75,000 meals and distributing nearly half-a-million bottles of water since opening in June 2014. “Sometimes, the path home begins with a hot meal in a clean, indoor setting that offers comfort, dignity and respect,” Parks says, “the meals we serve are the heart and soul of our program, building the trust we need to provide the casework that reunites a family.”

The I’m Going Home project is a voluntary family reunification program. Parks, a trained social worker, coordinates communication between the homeless person and a family member who is willing to provide a place to live and the support they need to get back on their feet. She personally meets each homeless person at the transportation hub before their journey to send them off with sandwiches, snacks, drinks, a list of aid agencies available to them in their new city and other resources to help them resettle. The organization provides extensive follow up at one week, one month and 3 months. At the 3-month follow-up, less than 4% of the persons sent home have returned to the streets. “The key,” she says, “is not just that they have somewhere to go, but that they have someone to go home to”.

Sending number 1,300 home is a tremendous milestone for this young organization. Grace at the Greenlight is aiming to send 750 people home each year to loved ones. Similar programs in larger cities, such as Portland, OR and Nashville, TN, reunite an average of 200 families per year. The majority of programs around the country are funded with city and state tax dollars.

The Grand Commandery of the South is honored to have helped Grace at the Greenlight through monetary support.

Atavis et Armis!


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 Krutz, 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. Leah 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 Mary Ann 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.