Lodge History

Beginning 1948-1957

During the regular session at Camp Salmen in the Summer of 1948 there was set aside a period every Friday afternoon when each troop was asked to determine by secret ballot its Honor Campers. Inasmuch as this was the first time such an election of this nature had ever been conducted at Summer Camp, the whole process was somewhat of a mystery. Subsequently, similar elections were conducted in troops throughout the New Orleans Area Council. Although there was some speculation, the real purpose of the troop elections was the formation of an Honor Camping Society. Few knew anything about the Order of the Arrow, as prior to this time, there weren't any Lodges organized in South Louisiana. In March of 1949, those Scouts and Scouters who had been elected during the previous summer and fall were formally notified they were candidates for a National Honor Campers Society - the Order of the Arrow - which was being formed in the New Orleans Area Council. On the weekend of March 25 and 26, 1949, 36 candidates bravely stepped forward to test the bow. True to our heritage, the first Ordeal conducted by the Ordeal Team from Tiak Lodge #404 of Hattiesburg, Mississippi was held in the rain. With the induction of these 36 charter members, Chilantakoba Lodge #397 was born at Camp Salmen. The first Lodge meeting was conducted on the following Wednesday night, March 29, 1949, at the Scout Office then located at 828 Perdido Street. At this time Lodge Officers, the lodge totem and name were chosen. The first officers were: Ralph P. Guerra, Jr., Lodge Chief; Clifford Savori, Jr., Lodge Scribe; Donald Sterken, Lodge Treasurer; Lloyd A. McLaughlin, Lodge Advisor; and Mike Dowd, Staff Advisor. The Lodge adopted the State Bird, the brown pelican, as its totem which translates into Chilantakoba in the language of the Choctaw Indians. The following summer the first Ordeal conducted by members of our Lodge was held at Camp Salmen on the weekend of July 30, 1949, at which time an additional 40 members were inducted.

Subsequently, Chilantakoba Lodge became a member of Region 5 Area E of the Order of the Arrow, a conference which itself had been organized in the fall of 1949. It was at the V-E Conference attended by our Lodge at Camp Wilkes, at Biloxi, Mississippi in 1951, that the first Arrowmen of Chilantakoba were inducted into Brotherhood membership. The next year, 1952, our Lodge hosted the V-E Conference at Camp Salmen. Chilantakoba accepted the challenge to recognize all Honor Campers of the New Orleans Area Council and established the first chapter, Indian Village, in 1954. At the V-E Conference held at Camp Istroma at Greenwell Springs, Louisiana, in 1955, our first Vigil Honor members were inducted. During this period of time the Lodge established a second Chapter - Houmas - in 1957, primarily to serve our Brothers in Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes.

Intermediate: 1958-1992

Later, the Choctaw Chapter was established in 1962 to serve that portion of St. Tammany Parish within the New Orleans Area Council. In 1970, Chilantakoba was completely organized into Chapters. In 1972, the Nation Council consolidated the existing 12 regions into six in the most radical realignment since the establishment of Regions in 1918. Arkansas and Louisiana which had been in old Region 5 for over 50 years were joined with Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas of old Region 9 to form the new Southcentral Region headquartered in Dallas. At this time, the Lodge in Louisiana became known as Nischasch Conclave. In conjunction with the National Council Meeting of the Boy Scouts of America held in New Orleans in 1980, Arrowmen of Chilantakoba Lodge formed a Special O.A. Service Corps for the six day gathering. Among the National O.A. Leadership which visited the O.A. Service Corps headquarters were the Chief Scout Executive, National Chief, and National O.A. Executive Secretary. In 1988, Southcentral Region again reorganized, splitting the State of Louisiana into two sections. This placed our Lodge in Southcentral Region, Section 1 with most of Southern Texas. In 1992 reorganization happened within BSA. We were moved to the Southern Region as Southcentral was disolved. Now we are in Southern Region, Section 1 which is generally the old SC1 region area.

Present: 1992-Present

1998 was a very big year for Chilantakoba Lodge. We celebrated our 50th anniversary with a year long celebration. It started in April with the issuing of 50th anniversary Lodge flaps and other memoribilia and ended in March of 1999 at our Lodge banquet. The lodge published a history which was written by Mike Fulco. 1999 brought even more changes. In June our council name was changed to Southeast Louisiana Council and our Lodge chief was elected Section chief at the Section Conclave.

Over the Years, Chilantakoba Lodge has hosted Area Conferences in 1952, 1958, 1963, 1969, 1979, and 1986 at Salmen Scout Reservation. Among Chilantakoba Arrowmen, 11 have been elected Area Conference Chiefs: James Boone (1952); Cletus Belsom (1956); Robert E. Winn (1957); Harold Loyacano (1959); John Hebert (1960); Randy Bollinger (1963); Dudley Galatas (1965); Alan M. Raymond (1966); Herb Tassin (1979); Charles Salvaggio (1980); Gary Segura (1983); and Jeff Reilly (1985). In 1999, Ben Janke was elected SR1 Section Chief at the Section Conclave. In 2001, Linley Collins was elected SR-1 Section Chief, and Jonathan Pittman was chosen by his fellow arrowmen to complete Linley's term. For the 2002 operating year, Broque Thomas was elected to serve as Lodge Chief. Broque was re-elected in 2003.

In 2004, Matthew Madderra, a past Lodge Vice Chief, was elected the SR-1 Section Chief. Two years after Matthew's election another Chilantakoba Lodge Arrowman was selected to serve as Section Chief, Thomas Lambert served as section chief in 2006 and was reelected in 2007.
Following the conclusion of the 2008 SR-1 Conclave, the Southern Region realigned and Chilantakoba Lodge was relocated into SR-1a (along with Atchafalaya, Comanche, Quelqueshoe, Quinipissa, and Sebooney Okasucca). Matthew Madderra was reappointed Associate Section Adviser, and Thomas Lambert continued his service as the SR-1 Immediate Past Section Chief.