Corpus Christi Credit Union

The_Courier_Father_Kelly_Corpus_ChristiThe initial pastor of Corpus Christi Parish in New Orleans, the Reverend Father Samuel Joseph Kelly, S.S.J., was a man of incredible zeal and vision, who served his large flock in downtown New Orleans for a decade, from 1916 to 1926. He personally founded the Josephite parishes which exist along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, before arriving in the Crescent City.

With the largest colored parish in the country and hundreds of parishioners who were seeking to build up their Seventh Ward neighborhood, Father Kelly was able to develop initiatives which reached far beyond the church grounds. These initiatives included a cooperative grocery, newspaper, and plans for a real estate company and credit union, the latter of which would later materialize with much success.

In 1922, Father Kelly began the Corpus Christi Grocery Store at the corner of Saint Bernard Avenue and North Johnson Street, which was a co-operative grocery store managed and supported by parishioners of Corpus Christi. The grocery offered staple and “fancy” groceries, as well as a confectionery department which served ice cream and other treats. The store was managed by Mr. Joseph V. Nicholls.

The store was readily advertised in The Courier, which was a newspaper within the parish, beginning in 1922 as well. The paper was published each week on Fridays with yearly subscriptions being .25 in advance. The newspaper was not simply a large-scale parish bulletin – it featured notices of births, marriages, and funeral notices. Advertisements were accepted from a wide variety of businesses. News of local church parishes, political news, and coverage of baseball games and boxing matches were included as well.Oslenda Ferrouillet - Copy whose greatest achievement, the Corpus Christi School Building, still stands. The next week’s issue (28 March 1924) highlighted the confirmation of Walter L. Cohen as Comptroller of Customs at New Orleans, an influential political office.

With a masthead motto of “With Malice for None and Charity Towards All, ” The Courier reported a special meeting between the Reverend Henderson Howell Dunn and other colored leaders with school board officials, to address concerns that the sciences and other college preparatory subjects would not be offered in the city’s sole colored public high school, McDonogh No. 35. Items were reported from as far away as Natchez, Mississippi (Holy Family Parish), which had its own column of community news.

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