Photography by John and Kathleen DeMajo

5212 S. Claiborne Ave. at Jefferson Ave. New Orleans, LA. 70115

The building above, which dates to 1950, was originally built by a congregation called First Evangelical And Reformed Church. First Evangelical And Reformed Church began in 1825 as one of the first reformed German speaking churches in New Orleans. Their previous locations were centered around land on Carondelet Street and Clio Street in the Dryades area of the city. The first two churches were destroyed by fire, and a third church, located on Carondelet Street, was opened in 1907.

Following a merger with the Church of Christ, the congregation elected to build the church above in 1950. Another merger took place later in the 1960's and in 1992, the congregation again merged and became First Trinity Evangelical United Church of Christ at which time they moved to Metairie, Louisiana. In conjunction with the 1992 move, the South Claiborne Street building was turned over to the Unitarian Church which still operates in the building shown above.



When the 1950's building was planned, the church ordered a 3 manual Wicks organ to replace the original Barkhoff organ that was located in the Carondelet Street church. Pipe work from the Barkhoff instrument was incorporated into the new Wicks which bore Wicks Opus # 2935. The organ was first installed in the Carondelet Street church and then moved to the new church in 1950. In the late 1950's, an expansion was done by Wicks, and the Opus number 4010 was then assigned.

The church was turned over to the First Universalist Unitarian congregation in 1992, but the organ remained with the building and was used by the Unitarian church.

The organ was damaged in 2005 as a result of Hurricane Katrina related flooding. It was removed from the building, prior to flood repairs, after the congregation decided that it did not wish to repair or restore the instrument. Salvageable parts of this instrument are presently playing as additions to several other organs in the area. Four ranks of pipes are now included in WIcks Opus 838 in St. Joseph Catholic Church in Ponchatoula, LA. and additional pipe work is now installed in the organ at St. Mary's Nativity Church in Raceland, LA.

Wicks Opus 2935/4010, 3-manual organ, originally of 20 ranks, purchased on August 19, 1948, for $13,900.00.  Some of the metal pipes were reused from the old organ.  These are shown below with an asterisk. 

8' Open Diapason 61p
8' Melodia 61p
8' Dulciana 61p*
4' Principal 61p
4' Flute Harmonic 61p*
2 2/3' Twelfth 61p*
2' Fifteenth 61p*
III Mixture 183p
Blank (prep. for Chimes)
16' Bourdon 73p
8' Geigen Diapason 73p
8' Stopped Diapason 73p
8' Viole de Gamba 73p
8' Viole Celeste 73p
4' Fugara 73p*
4' Flute d'Amour 73p
2' Flautina [Fugara] 12p
8' Trompette 73p
4' Clarion [Trompette]
CHOIR (prepared only)
8' Violin Diapason 73p
8' Concert Flute 73p
8' Violin Cello 73p
8' Dulciana [Great]
8' Unda Maris TC 61p
4' Open Flute [Concert Flute]
4' Violin [Violin Cello]
8' Clarinet 73p
8' French Horn 73p
Harp 49n
16' Sub Bass 44p
16' Bourdon [Swell]
16' Violone 56p
8' Flute [Sub Bass]
8' Viola [Violone]
4' Viola [Violone]
16' Trombone 12p [ext. Swell]
8' Trompette [Swell]
4' Clarion [Swell]
It had the full 24 couplers.
The old organ was a 1907 Barckhoff 2-manual of 17 ranks, apparently tubular-pneumatic.  It had a 27-note Pedal.  The existing casework and facade pipes (which became non-speaking) remained in the 1948 project, with a fill-in panel added where the attached console originally was.  The flue pipes were on 4 inches of pressure, and the reeds on 6 inches.  The stop list was designed by Prof. Dr. Howard Kelsey of Washington University, St. Louis, MO.  Installation was completed in July, 1949.  Dr. Kelsey lauded the organ in a letter dated October 14, 1949.
The blower motor was repaired on January 31, 1950.  Later in 1950 the Church was considering building a new building and moving the organ.  This move actually occurred in December 1951.  In 1953 there was more blower trouble, and it was replaced in early 1954.
In 1962 a 37-note Vibra Harp was purchased for $2,350 and installed at the end of that year.  In 1986 a new blower and rectifier were installed.  Our file ends in 1991, when the Replacement Value of this organ was quoted at $160.853.00.

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