Carville Star

Directeur             TOM ADAMS 



2020 Carville Star Pin - honors the Daughters of Charity who arrived in Carville in 1896 to care for patients and ultimately serve in varied roles at the hospital.  On the pin they are greeting a new patient arriving by ambulance.

Click Here to view all the available copies of The Star magazine.

Hansen's disease (leprosy) is named for the Norwegian scientist that discovered the causative agent, a bacteria that closely resembles the bacteria that causes tuberculosis.  For centuries, Hansen's disease (HD) patients have been shunned and ostracized by society. 

In the US and elsewhere in the world, no other disease has ever led its victims to comparable extremes of isolation, confinement, discrimination and stigma.

In 1894, the first HD patients were transported up the Mississippi River by barge from New Orleans to a dilapidated plantation home, the centerpiece of a former sugar cane plantation.  No one would have believed that this site would ultimately become a US Public Health Hospital, where effective treatment of HD would be discovered and thousands of HD patients would be rehabilitated and afforded education and training opportunities enabling a return to the world outside the hospital. 

However, it was an arduous journey that took many years to get to the point where HD patients could enjoy freedoms of communication with the "outside" world, unrestricted travel, the right to vote, and even get their deposits back on bottles of Coca-Cola. 

Remarkably, reaching that point is where veterans organizations made a big difference.  In 1931, 20 Spanish-American War and World War I veterans formed a Post of what was for many years the parent organization of the Forty and Eight.  Working on behalf of the welfare of veterans, for the first time all hospital patients were to benefit from "outside" advocacy.  Improvements in recreational activities came first, followed by legislative activity that resulted in an initiative to build a state-of-the-art hospital and new patient quarters. 

Carville patient Stanly Stein began publishing a patient newspaper The Star in 1931 for the purpose of airing patient grievances and reaching the outside world.  One of its campaigns was to promote use of "Hansen's disease"  instead of "leprosy" and to halt the use of the word "leper."  Stein recognized the Forty and Eight as the third veterans organization to appear at Carville.  He notes, “I hesitate to think what the hospital would be like today if veterans had not been committed here, for it was through the vets that the national organizations became interested in Carville as a whole.”

The first documented contribution of the Forty and Eight at Carville occurred in 1943, when a voyageur from Arkansas contacted the 40&8's Grand du Louisiana regarding the need for a printing press for The Star.  In December 1943 the Grand presented a press and all its accessories as a Christmas present to Stanley Stein and The Star.   

While the influence and activity of its one-time parent organization at Carville waned with the passing of the years and diminished demand for advocacy of patient grievances, 40&8’s support to Carville remained steadfast.  The Carville Star Program is currently one of the 40&8's seven major programs. As such it funds publication and distribution of The Star, keeping alive the legacy of "radiating the truth about Hansen's disease."  . [Because there are no longer patients at Carville - The Star is now edited by a former patient.  Now the magazine has as its purpose to: 1) Promote an educated public opinion of Hansen's disease. 2.) Serve as advocate for those who have experienced or been impacted by HD. 3) Foster self-empowerment of those who have experienced HD.] 

The Carville Star Program funds projects for the Carville Historic District, including the cemetery and the museum.  Recently the Program installed interpretive signage throughout the District for touring visitors.  The National Hansen's Disease Museum at Carville, the beneficiary of 40&8 support, houses displays to tell the story of 40&8’s involvement at Carville.   

The 40&8 is a proud organization with Carville tightly bound into its history and tradition.  No other veterans organization has as a declared mission to disseminate information to promote understanding of a disease.    

La Societé is an organization filled with traditions incorporated into our rituals and our programs like the Carville Star Program.  In the musical Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye addresses the importance of tradition when he says "Because of our traditions, we have kept our balance for many, many years...we have traditions for everything...You may ask, how did this tradition start? I'll tell you. I don't know. But it's a tradition. And because of our traditions, every one of us knows who he is, and what God expects him to do. Traditions, traditions. Without our traditions, our lives would be as shaky as... as... as a fiddler on the roof!"  And so it is with La Societé with our traditions insuring our identity - who we are and what we stand for."