Grand Commandery of the South Crest


In its latest of financial contributions to worthy causes, the GCS – represented by Consoeur Ann Middleton and Confrere Tom Forbes – on August 27, 2018 made a donation to Bastion Community, a ministry founded by Mr. Dylan Tete for disabled veterans and their families. With a strategy of “Community as the Intervention,” Bastion provides a planned community for veterans and their families alongside other purpose-driven adults to foster neighboring and relationships. The institution’s goal is to maximize independence in the home and age in place. From mentorship to meal preparation, Bastion leverages human capital to provide layers of social and instrumental assistance. Residents are enabled to assist professionals and caregivers in implementing care plans with the result that all residents benefit from helping others, thereby promoting personal wellness and life satisfaction.

Mr. Tete graciously accepted the GCS contribution, which will be used to acquire a laptop computer for use by the wellness center.




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.



  • 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.