Work underway on historic Jardine organ
at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in New Orleans
Roy Redman, with assistance from members of the New Orleans Chapter of OHS, has been working on the Jardine and Sons organ at St. Joseph Church in New Orleans. The organ, which is in need of total restoration, was brought back to playing condition for the 1989 OHS convention held in New Orleans. Since then, it had again fallen into unplayable condition. Recently, throught the continuing efforts of the OHS chapter, repairs are being made to again have the organ at least playable until such time as funds can be raised for a full restoration.
The2 manual, 14 rank instrument, which dates to 1877, has decorative indications of having been originally built for a Jewish institution. It has resided in the loft of St. Joseph Catholic Church on Tulane Avenue for well over a century. Thanks to the work of Roy and the members of our chapter, the organ is now being played for occasional weddings.
See the latest issue of the "Swell Shoe"
MEMORIAL TO DR. ALBERT BARRY HENRY
a true New Orleans friend of the pipe organ
Albert Barry Henry, MD., a noted New Orleans radiologist and theatre organist, passed away on September 23rd after a long battle with cancer. Dr. Henry is best known in organ circles for his work with City Lights, a group he formed to save the New Orleans Saenger Theatre when it was in danger of demolition. In addition to being a physician and graduate of Tulane Medical School, Dr. Henry was a trained pianist and organist, and his passion was saving the 26 rank Robert Morton Wonder Organ housed in the New Orleans Saenger. With his own funds, he restored the organ to playing condition in the 1970s after E.B. Basile purchased and restored the theatre. Barry often played the Morton for Saturday afternoon recitals that were held in the early '70s. In addition to his work at the Saenger, he also financed and restored an early 1900's Anton Gottfried organ that was installed in St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in New Orleans, and he was an active participant in the restoration and enlargement of the Wicks theatre organ at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Ponchatoula, and the Wurlitzer organ located at the Republic of West Florida Museum in Jackson, Louisiana. During his life, Dr. Henry preserved many artifacts that were being discarded from the Saenger during its various ownership changes, and his home had become a private museum honoring the life of Julian Saenger and the Saenger theatre chain.
Barry also created a website, along with fellow organist and historian Bill Hooper, which honors the history of the entire Saenger chain. It remains in his memory at www.saengeramusements.com.
Rare Debierre Organ Saved
The OHS extant list in the 1970’s indicated that an organ by the French builder, Louis Debierre was in Moreauville, LA. The organ was seen by Roy Redman and later by Rachelen Lien and Sydney Boner. At. that time the organ was in the possession of Monsignor John Timmermans. He tells us the amazing story of this organ in his own words:
“The old organ was in the choir loft of St. Peter Catholic Church in Bordelonville, LA. The pastor was Monsignor Isidore Dekeulaer, who was from Belgium. When I was visiting him (around 1960) he
showed it to me and I was very impressed. Monsignor Dukeulaer retired in 1969 and went back to his native country to take care of his older and blind brother (also a priest). He died unexpectedly in 1971.
“To my great surprise, he left the organ to me in his will. One of his successors (Fr. James Aroy) called me around 1978 to get some people to move the organ out of the choir loft because they were restoring the church. I moved the organ to my workshop for preservation. I found that in the history of that church several priests were from Belgium. I feel fairly certain that Fr. Henry Jacquemin who was an excellent musician and organist brought the organ to this country. It resided in my garage until March 2012.
Roy Redman expressed an interest in restoring this organ, and in March 2012 he acquired the organ. It now resides in his shop in Fort Worth. We are grateful to Father Timmermans for keeping this organ from destruction.
Here are the organ’s particulars:
Mechanical Key & Stop Action
67 keys FFF to b” – transposing 7 half-tones
Completely enclosed with swell shades on top of the organ operated by a knee lever.
16’ Quintaton Ten. C, divided
8’ Bourdon, divided
4’ Flute, divided
8’ Diapason, treble
8’ Violoncello, treble
Organ 60” x 39” x 56”
Louis Debierre, the son of a carpenter, was born in Nantes in 1842. He built his first organ in Nantes at the Church of Our Lady of All Joys. This instrument was followed by many others. The firm built over 600 organs. Many were small choir organs such as the one found in Louisiana. Much information about Debierre is available on line. Although the writing is all in French you may request an English translation.