It didn’t take long for members of the Improved Benevolent & Protective Order of the Elks of the World to make their impact on New Orleans.

The IBPOEW held their 120th Grand Lodge and 116th Grand Temple International Convention in New Orleans, all activities taking place at the Hilton Riverside Hotel.

IBPOEW, one of the largest African-American fraternal organizations in the world, was started in 1898 by two African Americans from Ohio.

The group of more than 2000, led by Grand Exalted Ruler Leonard J. Polk Jr., Esq. and Grand Daughter Ruler Margaret D. Scott, gave back to the Crescent City during their annual convention.

The organization was in town Aug. 2-8. While in town they got straight to the work of making a difference. During the grand opening ceremonies, Mayor Latoya Cantrell was given the “Grand Exalted Ruler’s Award of Prominence” for her contributions to the city. Also, State Rep. Joseph Bouie (District 97) was honored with Elijah P. Lovejoy Award during the Civil Liberties luncheon.

Bouie said, “I offer my humble appreciation to this historic organization for this honor,” Bouie said.

Elks members visit Central City Senior Center as part of a day of community service.

In addition to giving local leaders special recognition, the IBPOEW visited the Central City Senior Center for a great lunch, bingo and hours of fellowship. About 100 members spent the afternoon enjoying the local seniors and making new friends.

Also while in town, members of the organization contributed to cancer organizations, the Light house for the Blind, provided financial assistance to a family crisis organization, and worked with local agencies to help feed the homeless.

The IBPOEW also awarded a $10,000 scholarship to the winner of its oratorical contest.

This year’s convention was chaired by Louisiana State President Rev. Ellsworth Harris, Jr., and co-chaired by former state senator Diana Bajoie.

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