This profile was last updated in 2008
The Sikh Society of South was formed in 1979 and the Gurdwara Sahib of New Orleans was built at its current location in 1994. The Gurdwara Sahib of New Orleans was built in dedication to the memory of Sikh Martyrs. All residents of Louisiana, and the residents of neighboring states (Alabama, Mississippi), residing within 200 miles of New Orleans, are eligible for membership in the Sikh Society of South. Moreover, anyone and everyone, regardless of race, creed, or religious affiliation, can be a part of the Sikh fellowship and congregation (i.e. the ‘Gurdwara Sangat’). Sikhism, a monotheistic religion, decries intolerance, tyranny and superstition. It is founded on the belief in human equality, freedom of faith and thought, and respect for all.
Activities and Schedule
The Gurdwara can be visited at any time of the day by contacting the management committee or Bhai Granthi. The worship service (“diwan”) is held from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The communal meal (langar) is served soon thereafter.
Location and Directions
From I-10, take the Crowder exit, turn left and proceed to Morrison Road.
Take a right at the third light onto Morrison Road, a one way street.
You will pass the Gurdwara on the left. It’s the second building from the Crowder-Morrison crossing.
Make a U-turn and return back to the Gurdwara at 8433 Morrison Road.
The brick building has a formidable appearance as it is surrounded by a blue fence and has few windows. A flagpole regularly bears a flag with the “khanda” emblem. After entering the main building, Sikhs and visitors remove their shoes and proceed through the narrow hallway to wash their hands before entering the worship area of the Gurdwara. Men without turbans are provided scarfs to cover their heads before entering. The main prayer hall contains a podium, a low riser filled with harmoniums and tablas, and in the center, an elevated riser which serves as the repository for the Guru Granth Sahib, the collection of Sikh scripture. These accoutrements (bed, awning, fly whisk) are the signs of respect due to honored guests; they also ensure that the Guru Granth Sahib stays absolutely sanctified. The whisk is used by one member to fan the scripture the entire time the book is open. Since the Guru Granth Sahib serves as the community’s guide it is the only elevated object in the room. Upon entering, Sikhs prostrate themselves before the Guru Granth Sahib and place money into an offering box directly in front of it. The offering of money is voluntary, and it is used to keep the Gurdwara maintained as well as to fund projects of the Sikh Society. Sikhs and visitors sit on the ground in respect of the sacred nature of the book. Men sit on one side of the worship hall, while the women sit on the other side. Singing religious hymns (“kirtan”) is accompanied by harmoniums and traditional Indian drums (“tabla”). The distribution of a sweet pudding (“karah prasad”) to all equally represents the egalitarian ideals of Sikhism. A prayer concludes the ceremony, and the Guru Granth Sahib is closed and put back upon its esteemed place. The members then prepare for the communal meal (“langar”) shared by all seated in rows upon plastic mats. After the meal, some Sikhs depart directly but many stay to socialize.