by Christopher Hodapp
Last year while everybody (including myself) was distracted by the Grand Lodge of Louisiana's recognition and establishment of amity with the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Maryland, but not Louisiana's (for very good reasons), most of us missed another interesting development in that unique Masonic jurisdiction.
The GL of Louisiana issued a charter for their own Goose & Gridiron Lodge 1717, named for the London alehouse and the lodge that met there in the churchyard of St. Paul's Cathedral when the premiere Grand Lodge of England was famously formed in June 1717.
Back in October of 2018, I posted a story announcing Ohio's chartering of Goose & Gridiron Lodge 1717. That interesting 'observant-styled' lodge was established with the unique (for the United States) mission of studying and working English Emulation Craft degree rituals. Back in 2001 when we were establishing Lodge Vitruvian 767 in Indiana, getting dispensation from our Grand Lodge to work the English Emulation Craft rituals had been an elusive dream for us for many years until we finally dropped the subject out of frustration. Despite their widespread use throughout the United Kingdom and the rest of world's UGLE lodges, they are rarely seen in this country.
But Louisiana's new lodge won't be following the lead of the Ohio brethren. Their Goose & Gridiron Lodge 1717 joins ten other lodges within the Grand Lodge of Louisiana that currently are permitted to work the Scottish Rite Craft degree rituals descended from the earliest French lodges that predated statehood. These are often mistakenly referred to by American Masons as Louisiana's 'Red Lodge degrees' (as opposed to our usual 'Blue Lodges').
In addition to Louisiana, these Scottish Rite Craft degrees are also worked upon occasion in certain lodges in California, Hawaii, New York and the District of Columbia. But Louisiana's are by far the best known in the U.S.
According to Mike Poll, editor of the Journal of the Masonic Society, Louisiana's Goose & Gridiron 1717 is the first lodge to be chartered by Louisiana's Grand Lodge in a century permitted to work these rituals.
Speaking of Michael, he will be delivering a Zoom presentation to the lodge's festive board tomorrow evening, Saturday, July 30th at 7:30PM (central). From their Facebook page:
Master Masons are invited to come learn more about Louisiana's peculiar Masonic history and the Scottish Rite Ritual and Degrees unique to our state, most specifically the New Orleans area.
Visiting Master Masons will be presented with education regarding the Scottish Rite esoteric work in lodge, with an open presentation to follow at the Festive Board.
At 7:30PM, W∴B∴ Michael Poll, P∴M∴, Masonic Historian and Publisher, will present "The Other Scottish Rite Degrees: A little of what we know and don't know about the Louisiana Scottish Rite Craft Lodges" to those assembled as well as online viewers via Zoom at this link bit.ly/GG1717_SRTALK
NOTE: This will be a public talk and nothing will be discussed that is the reserved for a properly tilled lodge.
There will be a catered meal for $15 a plate for those who would like to eat during the Festive Board. If you plan to attend in person please RSVP at this link: bit.ly/GG1717_RSVP1
Goose & Gridiron No. 1717 is the only lodge in Louisiana outside of the 16th Masonic District working in this ritual, and the only Traditional Observance lodge in the US designated as a "Scottish Rite Craft Lodge."
Tickets available HERE.