REPORT FROM THE PRESIDENT
The New Orleans Chapter of OHS has worked along with Roy Redman on the cleaning and making playable of the historic Jardine organ at St. Joseph's Catholic Church on Tulane Avenue. The 1875 instrument was featured in a recital by Robert Zanca which was held in late Spring of 2015. Dr. Carol Britt was originally scheduled to perform, but do to her illness, Mr. Zanca was able to fill in. Additional work is needed, and this was not a full restoration, but the organ is at least being used for weddings and other church activities.
The next project of the chapter, with Roy's assistance, has been to bring the organ at First Presbyterian Church back to life. Rachelen Lien played that instrument for eighteen years, and it was later played by May Ball. Katrina damaged the church extensively, but thanks to the church's restoration efforts, and work on the organ, we will be holding a recital there on Sunday, November 29th at 3 PM. The church is located at 5400 South Claiborne Ave., and the specifications and photos of the 1916 Austin instrument can be seen on the New Orleans Churches website at www.NewOrleansChurches.com.
It is also time to remind members that annual chapter dues are due. If you haven't received your dues form and return envelope, please contact Benjie or Bob Branson.
NEWS FROM NAPOLEONVILLE
The friends of Christ Episcopal Church held their annual Holy Communion and business meeting on Sunday, November 7th. LaDonna Alexander played the recently repaired Jardine organ during the service. The meeting immediately followed the service.
The Friends recently agreed to hire Roy Redman to guide them in the repair of this historic organ. For more information, contact Friends Of Christ Church, PO Box 27, Napoleonville, LA 70390. Photos of the church and organ can be seen on www.NewOrleansChurches.com.
See the latest issue of the "Swell Shoe"
Roy Redman reports that Rare Debierre Organ has been restored and is offered for sale.
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. PLEASE CONTACT ROY IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN PURCHASING THIS INSTRUMENT.
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.