The Pythian Temple
The architecturally acclaimed Pythian Temple building at 234 Loyola Avenue (formerly South Saratoga) is one of New Orleans' storied landmarks. From 1908 to 1941, members of the Knights of Pythias, under the leadership of Smith W. Green, served as a beacon of pride for African Americans during the segregation era of Jim Crow. In June of 1908, the Pythians laid their cornerstone at Gravier and Saratoga Streets. In August of 1909, Green opened the Pythian Temple at a cost of over $200,000. The dedication ceremonies featured orchestral music and selections by the St. James A. M. E. choir and glee club of the Dryades Street YMCA. Black lawyer, J. Madison Vance – a 1912 delegate to the Republican National Convention-engendered frequent applause as he spoke of the Power of Organization and its effects upon Civilization. The Times-Picayune described the Pythian Temple as the biggest business enterprise ever attempted by the colored race in the United States."
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Many of the masonic and social lodges held meetings in the Pythian Temple. The Temple's seven-story structure contained office suites, a combination theater and auditorium, and a rooftop garden for dancing.
Architectural Art and its Allies recognized it in its March 1908
Smith W. Green, became leader of the Grand Lodge, Colored Order of the Knights of Pythias of Louisiana. He was a former slave, who became wealthy as a grocer, and subsequently became president of the Liberty Independence Insurance company. He was also on the executive committee of the local NAACP in New Orleans and worked closely with famed New Orleans lawyer, A. P. Tureaud, as they lobbied for a new hospital for veterans. He was elected Supreme Chancellor of the Knights of Pythias of Louisiana in 1908. The Pythian Temple was Green's crowning achievement.
Erected by Plessy and Ferguson Foundation, GCE, ERG Enterprises, CCCLT INC, Studiowta, Landis Construction.
Location. 29° 57.206′ N, 90° 4.538′ W. Marker is in New Orleans, Louisiana, in Orleans Parish. Marker is on Loyola Avenue near Gravier Street, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 343-349 Loyola Avenue, New Orleans LA 70112, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Jazz (within shouting distance of this marker); The Clarinet (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Louisiana Spanish-American War Monument
More about this marker. Located in the south west corner of Duncan Plaza.
Categories. • African Americans • Fraternal or Sororal Organizations • Notable Buildings •
Credits. This page was last revised on April 7, 2018. This page originally submitted on April 7, 2018, by Cajun Scrambler of Assumption, Louisiana. This page has been viewed 69 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on April 7, 2018.