Elks Tumulus

An ever-watchful bronze elk peeks over the pediment of the tumulus of the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks number 30. Although there are only 18 crypts inside the tomb, the bronze doors secure the remains of dozens of fallen Elks, since the crypts are emptied periodically and the bones are neatly piled elsewhere in the tomb. The tomb was designed by prominent New Orleans monument architect Albert Weiblen in 1912. Weiblen warned the engineer responsible for building the tomb that it needed a beefed up foundation since it was right next to a canal, but Weiblen’s advice went unheeded. The tomb, 75 years later, has a pronounced tilt.

Above the entablature is a clock with its hands frozen at 11:00 o’clock, a sacred time to all Elks. At any Elks ritual the following toast is read: “My Brother, you have heard the tolling of the eleven strokes. This is to impress upon you that the hour of eleven has a tender significance. Wherever an Elk may roam, whatever his lot in life may be, when this hour falls upon the dial of night, the great heart of Elkdom swells and throbs. It is the golden hour of recollection, the homecoming of those who wander, the mystic roll call of those who will come no more. Living or dead, an Elk is never forgotten, never forsaken. Morning and noon may pass him by, the light of day sink heedlessly in the West, but ere the shadows of midnight shall fall, the chimes of memory will be pealing forth the friendly message, ‘to our absent Brothers.’”
Text and photo © Douglas Keister Visit Doug’s Author Page


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