Posted by Kerry Byrne on 31 MAY 2005 20:59:19
Below is an article from 4/30/2002, by "Blake Ponchartrain" (the New Orleans know-it-all), regarding the old Druids' hall on Camp Street (now Ozanam Inn).Here's the URL:
Every time I hear about the Ozanam Inn at 843 Camp St., I think about when I was a teenager. (I'm now in my 70s.) I used to go dancing there. It was called the Druids Hall, and there was a dance hall on the top floor. In recent years, I haven't heard any more about it. Can you give me the lowdown on this? I had great times dancing there!
The Ancient Order of Druids was one of the first fraternal orders established in Louisiana. The organization -- a moral, social and beneficial organization -- moved into its new home on Camp Street in February 1911. To celebrate, there wa s an enormous "housewarming" attended by more than 4,000 folks.
The Druids had purchased the 10-room, three-story building, renovated it and added an adjoining modern building, 80-by-51 feet and built of steel and brick. There were parlors, banquet halls, a billiard room, reading room, large and small lodge rooms, and drill grounds.
The Druids were still there when they celebrated their 75t h annual May Festival in 1931. Like the Druids of ancient Britain, they celebrated the advent of spring with elaborate secret rituals and public rejoicing. The local group invited the general public to the grounds of Holy Cross College to spend an afternoon and evening of games, sports, speeches and dancing, with a special visit by the Supreme Arch of the Druids of the United States.
The Druid s, who had their first Carnival ball in 1897 and paraded from 1921 to 1934, moved out of their home on Camp Street about 1957, as I recall. Ozanam Inn was a few doors down the street and eventually took over that property as well.
I hope you have found a new place to dance!