History of Gamma Rho
Gamma Rho Chapter was founded on April 14, 1962. Eleven young energetic men from the Westbank who had recently graduated from college and had began to get together on holidays and other social activities. They began to meet in the back of Brother Johnny Mckinnies’ home on Whitney Avenue. Believing that men of like attainment and similar ideals should bind themselves together to utilize their talents and make a difference in their community, these young men saw the need for another chapter of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. The idea surfaced that since the Mississippi River was a natural boundary between the East and West banks of the New Orleans area, and there was already a chapter on the East bank, that National Headquarters might consider chartering another chapter in the area, on the Westbank. The request for a new chapter was granted. The new chapter in the New Orleans area located on the Westbank of the Mississippi River would be named Gamma Rho.
On April 14, 1962 at the Ninth District Meeting at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Gamma Rho was presented its charter. Gamma Rho’s founders were: Rev. John A. Brooks Sr., Charles W. Clark Jr., Milton L. Crosby Sr., the late Wilfred Crosby, Curley Fontenberry, Edward Harrison, Jr., the late Harry Jennings, the late Rev. Robert B. Lewis, Rev. Johnny McKinnies Sr., Ernest Shiloh, and Joseph Williams. The first elected officers of Gamma Rho were: Rev. Robert B. Lewis-Basileus, Rev. Johnny McKinnies-Vice Basileus, Joseph
Williams-Keeper of Records and Seal, Wilfred Crosby-Keeper of Finance, Ernest Shiloh-Keeper of Peace, Curley Fontenberry-Parliamentarian, Rev. John A. Brooks-Chaplain, and Charles W. Clark-Reporter.
Gamma Rho began to grow immediately with its first pledgee, Alvin Williams Sr. in 1962. In the early years of Gamma Rho, the brothers, quettes, and brothers from throughout the entire New Orleans area would get together and fraternize on holidays. Gamma Rho brothers and quettes and wives organized an Annual Debutante Ball. The first balls were held at the Pride of Algiers Masonic Temple for many years until the event became such a gala affair and participation was so great until the ball sites were moved to grand ballrooms in local hotels. Gamma Rho brothers were active in the community, church, and schools. They issued scholarships to high school students going to college. After the death of one of the chapter founders, Brother Wilfred Crosby, the scholarship was named in his honor, “The Wilfred Crosby Scholarship”;. In a span of 38 years, this community has seen and benefited from the strong love and desire of these men and others who have joined them to implement their principles and ideals among those with whom they live. Currently, Gamma Rho’s activities include a variety of social activities, an Adopt a Family program,
Project Manhood, which is a program to mentor young boys, and the Annual Scholarship program. Brothers of Gamma Rho have been visible in the fraternity on the local, district, and national level. Several brothers of Gamma Rho have been named the “9th District Omega Man of the Year and have been assigned duties
on numerous national and district committees. District and National offices held by Gamma Rho brothers have been District Representative, District Keeper of Records and Seal, District Keeper of Finance, District Counselor, District Keeper of Peace, 1st Vice Grand Basileus, and Grand Counselor. Currently, our
brother Ed Robinson serves as the District’s Keeper of Peace and brother Ryan Lloyd serve as the District’s State Rep for Louisana. Today Gamma Rho continues to grow and we continue to dedicate ourselves to Omega’s commitment to uplift the lives of those who are less fortunate. For all are called to utilize their
talents for all, and we do not shun that responsibility. The men of Gamma Rho look forward.