Historic Moments: Rotary in New Orleans
Stage at the 1976 RI Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. Rotary Images
T he history of Rotary in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, can be traced back to an early visit by a Chicago Rotarian to one of the city's insurance representatives.
Charles A. Newton, then of the Rotary Club of Chicago, visited William J. Bovard, a New Orleans resident working in the insurance field. Impressed by Newton’s account of Rotary in Chicago, Bovard proposed the idea of launching a Rotary club in New Orleans to several friends. On 23 February 1910, the club’s 26 charter members met and adopted a constitution and bylaws.
Three days later, Bovard shared the good news with Newton, writing that “it is the desire and sense of this Club to become a member of the National Organization.” Newton forwarded the letter to Paul Harris, who responded, “Perhaps it will not surprise you if I inform you that New Orleans has been the one point of all others, which I have wanted to see brought into the fold.”
Harris later recounted in My Road to Rotary that he had spent time in New Orleans after graduating from the University of Iowa law school in 1891 and before settling in Chicago in 1896. He returned to the city in January 1943 and spoke to the club.
In 1976, 13,935 Rotarians from 92 countries and geographical areas journeyed to New Orleans for the 67th annual RI Convention.
On 21-25 May, New Orleans will again host the convention. Register by 15 December for early-bird pricing. Learn more about the venue and events.
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