History of Kiwanis International

The name Kiwanis was approved by the membership of the Detroit#1 club early in January, 1915. Articles of incorporation were then filed, and the corporate charter for the state of Michigan was returned on January 21, 1915, which has become known as the official birthday of Kiwanis.  The name Kiwanis comes from"nunc kee-wan-is," an Indian phrase that was translated as "we trade" and "we have a good time” and “we make noise." 

Kiwanis International brings the world together – one community at a time and ensures kids have what they need to be secure and successful in any community. Each community has different needs and Kiwanis empowers members to pursue creative ways to serve the needs of children through local service projects and fundraising. Kiwanis hosts nearly 150,000 service projects each year and raise nearly $100 million every year for communities, families and projects.

Milestones that have helped shape Kiwanis International:

  • 1916 - Cleveland:  First Kiwanis convention and elected the first president, George F. Hixson, as well as the other officers, and adopted first constitution. 
  • 1920 - Portland Convention: the motto of "We Build" was adopted. 
  • 1924- Denver Convention: constitution and the six Objects of Kiwanis International were adopted and have remained unchanged
  • 1962 - First Kiwanis club outside of the U.S. and Canada was organized in Mexico, in Tijuana, Baja California. 
  • 1963 - First Kiwanis club was organized off the North American continent in Vienna, Austria. 
  • 1987 - Washington DC Convention:  membership was opened up to females. 
  • 2005 - Honolulu Convnetion: motto was changed to “Serving the Children of the World!” 
  • 2017 - Today we stand with more than 600,000 members in more than 80 countries.

The Great & Historic Louisiana-Mississippi-West Tennessee (LAMISSTENN) District!

The Louisiana-Mississippi District was organized on January 9, 1920, in New Orleans. There were five clubs in the area at that time: New Orleans, the oldest, organized in March, 1919; Jackson, Miss., organized on April 21, 1919; Baton Rouge, La., three days later on the 24th; Alexandria, La., in June, 1919; and Lake Charles, organized in October.
It was not until November 4, 1938, that the West Tennessee territory was added, and the name of the district was changed to Louisiana-Mississippi-West Tennessee. The Kiwanis Club of Memphis, the oldest club of the district Organized on June 20, 1918, was the only club in the West Tennessee area in 1938. With stronger business and social ties to the Mississippi Delta than to the rest of the state of Tennessee, the Memphis Club petitioned Kiwanis International to become a part of the Louisiana-Mississippi district.

Currently, there are 123 Kiwanis clubs in our district, comprised of approximately 4,100 service-minded citizens. Over 14,000 Kiwanians, Circle K'er's, Key Clubbers, and Builders Clubbers perform meaningful service to their communities through their Kiwanis-family membership in the La.-Miss.-W.Tenn. District.


LAMISSTENN Leadership at the international Level

The La.-Miss.-W.Tenn. District has had a number of dedicated leaders to be elected to the Kiwanis International Board of Trustees, including 2 International Presidents. John T. Roberts, representing the Audubon Kiwanis Club in Baton Rouge, served as International President in 1982-83. L. Nettles Brown of the Natchitoches, La. Club, served as President in 1999-2000.  The LAMISSTENN District has had the honor of our very own Kiwanis members to serve on the International level.  The roster of International Board Members follows:

  • W. D. Cotton (Rayville) - Trustee,1941-48 
  • A. V. Zimmermann (Alexandria) - Trustee,1950-52; Vice President,1952-53 
  •  Steve A. Alford, Jr. (Baton Rouge) - Trustee, 1966-69; Vice President,1969-70 
  • John T. Roberts (Audubon, Baton Rouge) - Trustee, 1975-79; Vice President,1979-80; Treasurer,1980-81; President-Elect,1981-82; International President, 1982-83 
  • Robert E. Wales (Capital City, Baton Rouge) - Trustee,1988-91 
  • Nettles Brown (Natchitoches) - Trustee, 1993-96; Vice President,1996-97; Treasurer,1997-98; President-Elect,1998-99; International President,1999-00 
  • Leonard D. Simmons, Jr. (New Orleans) - Trustee, 2002-05 
  • Bascom L. Allen, Sr. (Starkville) - Trustee, 2007-10
  • Dennis M. Oliver (Gulfport) - Trustee, 2012-15
  • Greg Beard (Alexandria) - Trustee, 2017-20


Division 4B of the LAMISSTENN District

Our division consists of eight Kiwanis clubs in Houma, Thibodaux, South Lafourche, Metairie and Kenner with the specfic clubs listed below: