By Sharon Harris
Grand Lady of Court 290
New Orleans was the place to be in August 2009 when the Knights and Ladies of St. Peter Claver came together and celebrated their 100th anniversary of this noble order.
This was a double celebration for me. First, it was my first visit to New Orleans. And second being able to take part in this historic occasion was a blessing.
I attended this convention with Marion Johnson, Ramona Thomas and Ann Leavenworth. We were fortunate to be able to get into New Orleans a few days early, so I was able to take in some sights and tastes of New Orleans. As I walked the streets of the French Quarter, I had the choice of many shops and restaurants to visit. I tasted my first beignet with my morning tea. This is a popular breakfast pastry. The lines were long but people were willing to wait and so was I.
As I continued to walk the streets of the French Quarter I saw very old buildings with beautiful flowers hanging from their balconies, horse drawn carriages with passengers and a beautiful old cathedral.
I was able to visit a flea market and across from there was a jazz festival remembering Louis Armstrong. People, young and old, were dancing in the street and others were tapping their feet to the beat. I also got to see a marching jazz band which I’ve only seen before on television. No matter where you went, that jazz sound was loud and clear.
The icing on the cake came when all of my Claver brothers and sisters finally came together on Sunday for the opening Mass of the convention.
Before Mass there was a parade of banners from the different courts. They held their banners high and proud and in the midst was the Holy Family Court 290 from Springfield, Massachusetts with Marion and Ramona carrying our flag and taking their turn to march in the parade. We were blessed to have Mass every day of the convention. What a way to start the day.
On the first day of the women’s session of the convention there were five past Supreme Ladies in Chambers.
They shared some words of wisdom with us and today’s Supreme Lady. The Ladies were so moved that they chanted “Yes We Can!” I wondered if St. Peter Claver heard us up in heaven as we vowed to continue his work in our homes, churches and in our community for the next 100 years.
We took care of business, but also got a chance to renew old and make new friendships at the Banquet or Masquerade Ball.
At the closing of the Convention, the Mayor of New Orleans graced us with his presence. The Honorable Ray Nagin welcomed us to New Orleans and said a few words. I remember him saying that he would think about joining Claver after his term ended.
Yes, God is good and we got our work done and arrived home safe. That will be a meeting to remember for a long time.