In 1752, a French Rite warrant arrived from France to form la Parfaite Harmonie Loge (Perfect Harmony Lodge) at the edge of New Orleans. In 1757, a charter was issued from Bordeaux to Perfect Harmony to also work in the Scottish Rite. In 1763, Loge de Parfaite l’Ecosse (Lodge of Perfection) was opened under the Scottish Rite ritual, and in 1765 a second Scottish Rite Lodge, la Consolante Maconne, received its charter from Bordeaux. With the Treaty of Paris, New Orleans came into possession of the Spanish, and needless to say the predominantly French residents were not happy. In 1766 the residents revolted and threw out the Spanish administrators and the small garrison. In 1767, Spanish official Don Alexandro O’Reilly arrived and quieted the rebellion, executing all of the leaders—most of whom were Freemasons. Spanish rule outlawed Masonry and the Lodges went silent.
In 1793, Parfaite Union (Perfect Union) Lodge was organized by several Masons living in New Orleans and applied to the Grand Lodge of South Carolina for a charter. On March 30, 1794, Loge la Parfaite Union № 29, having been duly constituted as a York Rite Lodge held the first installation of officers. That same year Masons who practiced the French Rite petitioned the Grand Orient of France for Etoile Polaire Loge (Polar Star).
On April 18, 1812, Pierre Francois DuBourg, Master of Perfect Union, issued a call to form a Grand Lodge. Perfect Union № 29 (South Carolina), Charity № 93 (Pennsylvania), Louisiana № 1 (New York), Concord № 117 (Pennsylvania), Perseverance № 118 (Pennsylvania), Harmony № 122 (Pennsylvania), and Polar Star № 129 (Pennsylvania) responded and met as the Grand Communication of Ancient York Masons. On June 20, Perfect Union, Concord, Perseverance, Charity, and Polar Star met again and elected officers with P.F. DuBourg elected as the first Grand Master, Moreau Lislet as Deputy Grand Master, Jean Blanque as Senior Grand Warden, Francois Pernot as Junior Grand Warden, Jean Pinta as Grand Treasurer, Jean Veron as Grand Secretary, Mathurin Pacaud as Grand Orator, Yves Lemonnier as Grand Pursuivant, and Augustin McCarty as Grand Steward. The RW Grand Master was duly, regularly, and in proper form installed and the Grand Lodge of the State of Louisiana issued charters to the Lodges.
When General Andrew Jackson arrived in New Orleans in 1814 and prepared the city against a British invasion during the end of the War of 1812, he came as a Freemason; attending Lodge with Governor Claiborne and holding masonic communications with pirate Jean Lafitte and his brother, General Dominique You. In February of 1847, at a meeting Grand Lodge of Mississippi in Natchez, Grand Master John Quitman offered to charter “certain Ancient York Masons” within the jurisdiction of the “French Grand Lodge” of Louisiana. By 1848, the seven lodges under Mississippi charter organized and formed themselves a rival Grand Lodge—the Louisiana Grand Lodge of Ancient York Masons. A number of Grand Lodges recognized this new body as the legitimate Masonic body within Louisiana. The Grand Lodge of New York, however, came squarely down on the side of the original Grand Lodge and censured the Grand Lodge of Mississippi for creating a rival body within a Grand Jurisdiction. Soon, other Grand Lodges followed New York’s directive —Alabama, Georgia, New Hampshire, The District of Columbia, Connecticut, South Carolina—with Mississippi turning a deaf ear to all. The Louisiana Grand Lodge of Ancient York Masons was firmly established in Louisiana with twenty five lodges. Finally on January 28, 1850 the two rival Grand Lodges met and compromised their differences and reorganized into the Grand Lodge of the State of Louisiana, Ancient, Free & Accepted Masons comprised of fifty-six lodges. John Gedge, who had been Grand Master of the upstart Grand Lodge was elected Grand Master.
A total of seventy-six new lodges were chartered between the creation of the Grand Lodge of the State of Louisiana, F.&A.M. in 1850 and the outbreak of the Civil War. A total of one hundred seventy four lodges had been organized and chartered through the efforts of Masonry in Louisiana from August 15, 1812 to February 16, 1860.
Membership in Louisiana Masonry peaked in 1964 with 51,512 members. Today there are approximately 20,000. While the Grand Lodge has chartered over 490 Lodges since 1812, there are 237 lodges meeting in Louisiana today, the newest being Pipeliners Lodge No. 798, chartered July 1, 2017.Grand Lodge of the State of Louisiana