Cor Jesu Penance Hall

Cor Jesu’s detention was called Penance Hall.

crusader archives penance hall

Penance Hall on Elysian Fields

Another quick one from the archives. This is the Student Handbook for Cor Jesu High School, the predecessor school to Brother Martin High School on Elysian Fields. It’s a full rulebook, a breakdown of expectations the school had for students. Every school has one, including St. Aloysius and BMHS.

A quick flip through this handbook confirmed that it was indeed your basic set of rules. Then I came across Penance Hall:

Students who violate school regulations are usually assigned to Penance Hall, which begins at ten minutes after dismissal bell.

crusader archives penance hall

Section of the Cor Jesu Student Handbook on “Penance Hall”

Nothing says “Catholic School” quite like institutions like “Penance Hall.” Let’s face it, other schools have detention. “The Breakfast Club” is an entire movie set during a weekend detention session. But penance is so wonderfully Catholic.

I did find a St. Aloysius student handbook, but a quick glance of that booklet didn’t list a detention/penance hall setup. I’ll put it to you Crimson-and-White Crusaders. What did y’all call it?

Evolution to BMHS

The Cor Jesu Penance Hall continued into Brother Martin, but not by that name. It was simply “detention,” when I got there in the fall of 1971. Mr. Louis Levy was Vice Principal and Disciplinarian. Now, even though I never received official school detention, we usually held practice for the Debate team in the “old” hallway, the original Cor Jesu building. That’s also where Mr. Levy held detention. So, we learned the details of the process.

Mr. Levy came in the room (and mind you, I’m paraphrasing) and explained how the hour worked. “Gentlemen, you are going to learn to dance. You will dance by my numbers and by my steps…”

Naturally, detention period became known as “Mr. Levy’s Ninth Period Dance Class.”

I’m not sure what sort of busy work Dance Class attendees did during ninth period. I encourage any alums of Dance Class to share some details!

Archives Update

This booklet is typical of a lot of the things I’ve found in only two weeks of digging in the archival storage rooms. So far, it’s been a blast. I found this first copy in with a bunch of Cor Jesu football programs. Since that first copy, I’ve turned up two more. I took quick photos of the cover and Penance Hall with the phone. By tomorrow, we should have the workspace set up with laptop and scanner, to make full copies of these memories.

BOSH Purple Heart

BOSH Purple Heart

There’s a Purple Heart in the BOSH Alumni archives.

Purple Heart awarded to Richard Warr

BOSH Purple Heart medal

Richard Warr's dog tags, inside a Purple Heart medal box.

I started a project to better organize the Brother Martin High School Alumni archives. Right at the start, I found a box containing a Purple Heart. The box is like the one my dad kept his brother’s medals in. While some folks engrave a name on the rear of a decoration, this one was unidentified. Whomever donated the medal to the school included a set of dog tags. So, it’s on the list of rabbit holes for me to fall into at some point.

The dog tags belong Richard Warr. All I have is the name at this point. D-Day makes a good day to present this, even if Mr. Warr was younger.

“Being wounded or killed…”

The Purple Heart began as the Badge of Military Merit. Washington authorized it on 7-August-1782. He awarded three of the medals. While the Badge of Military Merit wasn’t abolished, it was never awarded again. The military revived the decoration in 1927. MacArthur received the first medal in 1932. The Purple Heart is awarded for. “Being wounded or killed in any action against an enemy of the United States or as a result of an act of any such enemy or opposing armed forces.” The earliest eligibility date for the award was originally set at 5-April-1917. Congress later authorized its award to earlier conflicts dating back to the Civil War.

Given that St. Aloysius opened its doors in 1869, there are a lot of Crusaders and Kingsmen who are eligible for the Purple Heart.

BOSH Honor Roll

I’ve yet to find a list of BOSH alumni who received the Purple Heart, so it’s time we get that started. If you or a relative attended one of the three Brothers of the Sacred Heart schools here in New Orleans and received the decoration, let us know, in a comment, or email me at edward@ebranley.com. Tell us the recipient’s name, which school he graduated from, when he graduated, and any other notes you’d like to add.

Bay to City – BOSH in the 1860s

Bay to City – BOSH in the 1860s

The Brothers of the Sacred Heart moved into Faubourg Marigny during the Civil War, Bay to City.

bay to city

Bay to City

At the beginning of the Civil War, the Brothers of the Sacred Heart (BOSH) stood at a crossroads. The Institute operated St. Stanislaus College in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, since 1854. With secession of Louisiana and Mississippi, the Union Navy blockaded the Western Gulf Coast, anticipating an invasion of New Orleans. The Brothers closed St. Stanislaus to boarders.

To fully appreciate this move, consider a trip from the city to the bay. We’re not talking about an hour’s drive. In 1861, you’d load up a coach or wagon with your boy(s) and their luggage, and head about 100 miles east. That was a eight hour ride. With Farragut’s ships and gunboats, along with Butler’s 30,000 troops on Ship Island, safety was a serious concern. While families understood the concerns, they didn’t want to just give up on a BOSH education for their boys.

To the City

bay to city

Brother Athanasius Faugier, S.C.

So, the BOSH contacted the Archbishop of New Orleans, Jean-Marie Odin, about setting up a presence in the city. Odin agreed, and connected Brother Athanasius Faugier, S.C, of St. Stanislaus, with Father Anthony Durier, pastor of Annunciation Parish in Faubourg Marigny. Fr. Durier helped the Brothers set up shop in the Marigny. This made a lot of sense. Brothers from France worked with a French archbishop to open a school in a very-French neighborhood. Fr. Durier loaned a house to the BOSH. They renovated that house to accommodate twenty-five boarders. They then rented a house on Union Street (now Touro Street) and opened the school. The school was about six blocks away from the boarding house. The 1883 Robinson Atlas segment above shows Annunciation Church in block 492.

bay to city

Fr. Anthony Durier

This arrangement continued through the end of the rebellion. The BOSH packed up and returned to the Bay. It wasn’t long, though, that Archbishop Odin invited the institute to establish a permanent presence in New Orleans. The BOSH purchased the house at Chartres and Barracks Streets in 1869, and St. Aloysius opens.

Thanks to the faculty members of Brother Martin High School, who assembled much of this information for their Day of Experience, “Exploring the Origins of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans.”

St. Aloysius memories for Martin Madness

St. Aloysius memories for Martin Madness

Looking back at St. Aloysius memories for Martin Madness 2024.

st. aloysius memories

St. Aloysius Memories

St. Aloysius memories

ad for St. Aloysius in the Daily Picayune, 24-August-1881

For Day Two of the “Martin Madness 2024” campaign at Brother Martin High School, please enjoy some memories from the Daily Picayune newspaper. Two advertisements for St. Aloysius entice families to come to the school. The first appeared on 24-August-1881. The school opened in the French Quarter, at Chartres and Barracks Streets, in 1869. The Brothers of the Sacred Heart (BOSH) were solidly established at that location by this time,

At top is a watercolor illustration of the original St. Aloysius from 1869. The Spanish built this house for their army during the colonial period. It changed hands from the Spanish to the French just before the Louisiana Purchase. Much of the property owned by the colonial governments passed to the Catholic Church just before the Americans took ownership of the city. Archbishop Odin, recognizing the quality work of the BOSH, invited the Institute to open a permanent school in the city. He sold them this house. The illustration is the “plan book” made to document the sale.

Esplanade and N. Rampart

St. Aloysius memories

ad in the Daily Picayune, 24-August-1892

 

The BOSH outgrew the French Quarter location. They acquired the mansion at the corner of Esplanade Ave. and N. Rampart Streets in 1892. This ad, from 24-August-1892, isn’t much different than the earlier one, with the exception of the location change.

st. aloysius memories

St. Aloysius, 1892

Here’s the original school at that corner.

The Hat

If you haven’t listened to this week’s podcast yet, go! If you have, you heard me mention throwing money into the hat to support the school. While it was meant as a metaphorical hat (you have a credit card/venmo/etc), i really do have a hat. I’ll be at the PJ’s Coffee Shop at 5555 Canal Blvd., tomorrow morning, for Day Three of Martin Madness. Listen to the pod. Think back on your memories of the school, as a student, parent, faculty member. Stop by, say hi, and toss some cash in the hat!

Podcast 42 – Martin Madness

Podcast 42 – Martin Madness

Brother Martin High School’s spring fundraising campaign is “Martin Madness”

martin madness

Martin Madness

Sharing some history, reflections, and thoughts on the influence of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans, from the Civil War to the present.


Here’s the PDF

Go support Brother Martin High!

NOLA History Guy December (10) – Brother Nicholas Geisenberg, S. C.

NOLA History Guy December (10) – Brother Nicholas Geisenberg, S. C.

Our tenth installment of NOLA History Guy December features Brother Nicholas, SC – Brothers of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans (BOSH)

nola history guy december

NOLA History Guy December – Brother Nicholas Geisenberg, S.C.

Brother Nicholas, SC, was a long-time Maths teacher the BOSH Schools. I had the privilege of taking “Senior Math” with Brother as a Junior, in 1974-75. If you’re wondering how that worked, I attended Brother Martin High School as an eighth grader. My maths skills weren’t top/honors, so, I was routed to “regular” Geometry class as a ninth-grader. The honors guys took “Geometry A” with Brother Neal, SC. The “A” track finished Trigonometry in Algebra IIA, as tenth-graders. They took Calculus as eleventh-graders, and went on to UNO for Calc I as seniors. Not me! I took Trig, “Senior Math” in the old terminology. Brother Nicholas (never “Brother Nick” to his face) was a serious teacher who brooked no nonsense in his class. He objected to the number of Fridays I was away from class because of Debate and Quiz Bowl, and regularly chided me about that.

Outside of class, Brother was a nice man. He chaperoned the school trips to Europe in the summers. Brother studied German with Ms. Palmisano. I would say a few words to him, “auf Deutsch” as he left German II and I came in for German I as a sophomore.

nola history guy december

Brother Nicholas, S. C., throwing out the first pitch at a Crusader baseball game.

As we’re doing with all our images for NOLA History Guy December, here’s the caption for the two photos of Brother Nicholas in the book:

“Brother Nick.” Brother Nicholas Geisenberg, S.C., beloved teacher of generations of St. Aloysius, Cor Jesu, and BMHS students. In addition to teaching Math, Brother Nicholas served as assistant principal at Cor Jesu in 1969. After retiring from the classroom, Brother Nicholas remained active on campus, managing the school’s bookstore and as a dedicated fan of BMHS sports, particularly baseball. Above, Brother Nicholas on duty in the bookstore in the late 1990’s. Below, the BMHS baseball team honored Brother Nicholas by asking him to throw out the first pitch of the final game of the 2003 season. (Lower photo courtesy of Mr. Danny Ford, father of Jeremy (’03) and Braeden (’09))

 

The Book

nola history guy december

Brothers of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans by Edward J. Branley

From the back cover:

When New Orleanians ask “Where did you go to school?” they aren’t asking what university you attended but what high school. That tells a native a lot about you. For over 150 years, the Brothers of the Sacred Heart have educated the young men of New Orleans, giving them the opportunity to answer the question proudly by replying St. Stanislaus, St. Aloysius, Cor Jesu, or Brother Martin. Images of America: Brothers of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans showcases photographs, illustrations, and maps tracing the role of the institute in making New Orleans a vibrant and dynamic city, able to overcome even the worst of adversity. From their roots in the French Quarter, moving to Faubourg Marigny, and finally settling in Gentilly, the Brothers of the Sacred Heart continue to make a major contribution to metro New Orleans and Southeast Louisiana.

Available at local bookstores, Walgreens stores, other local shops, Bookshop, and other online outlets. Give history! Support NOLA History Guy December.