Mapping Georgetown: Cherishing St. John’s

What do Francis Scott Key, Reverand Gini Gerbasi, Ann Laporta and Katie Remedios all have in common? Their cherishing of  Georgetown’s historic St. John’s Episcopal Church at 3240 O St. NW, a contributing property of the Georgetown Historic District built in 1804.

A memory is forever. And these recollections stir up another place in time. Thank you to Reverend Gini for her enthusiasm for our Mapping Georgetown project and for your storytelling. She taught me that people are storytellers by nature. Looking back, recreating and telling these stories has more impact than one can imagine.

Francis Scott Key

St. John’s “Episcopal Dictionary of the Church,” describes not only Francis Scott Key’s significance in American history, but his close ties to St. John’s Church:

(Aug. 1, 1779 – Jan. 11, 1843). Episcopal layman and author of “The Star Spangled Banner.” He was born in Frederick, now Carroll, County, Maryland. Key studied at St. John’s College, Annapolis, 1789-1796. After graduation he studied law in Annapolis. On Sept. 13-14, 1814, the British were firing on Fort McHenry in the Chesapeake Bay. Key was watching the fight in suspense during the night bombardment. At daybreak he was overjoyed to see the “Stars and Stripes” still flying over the fort. He wrote the poem, “The Star Spangled Banner.” He also wrote a hymn, “Lord, with Glowing Heart I’d Praise Thee.” Key was a religious person, and at one time he considered entering the ordained ministry. For many years he was a lay reader at St. John’s Church, Georgetown. He was a deputy to six General Conventions from 1814 until 1826. Key died in Baltimore.

Al La Porta’s Mapping Georgetown Story

You may recall the very interesting Mapping Georgetown Story about St. John’s “Keeper of the Keys” Al La Porta at Thank you to his spouse, Ann La Porta for this charming story taking us all back to the time when there were no holds barred when it came to entertaining!

Ann La Porta’s Mapping Georgetown Story

Ann La Porta is a long time resident of D.C., having moved here in 1964 after college to work as an analyst at the National Security Agency (NSA). She shared a house in Georgetown with three other young women. She married her husband, Foreign Service Officer Al La Porta at St. Johns Episcopal Church in Georgetown in 1966 and they have been parishioners there ever since.

With her husband, Ann La Porta has been posted to Indonesia (twice), Malaysia, Turkey, New Zealand, Mongolia and Naples, Italy.

Although her home is in Chevy Chase, D.C., her daughter was married at St. Johns and her four grandchildren were baptized there.

A retired lawyer, she practiced mainly in the area of family law both in DC and abroad.

When I graduated from college, I rented a house on O Street one block from G-town U. I shared the house with 3 other young women. We decided to have a pig roast. 1789 said we could use their oven. We carried the pig from O St. to the 1789 and then carried the roasted pig back again for the party. Later, when I was married, we had a small apartment on 30th Street right near Oak Hill Cemetary. 

Katie Remedios’s Mapping Georgetown Story

Katie Remedios also cherishes St. John’s Church and we loved receiving her Mapping Georgetown story!

1979: Rocky Horror Picture Show had just let out from the Wisconsin [Ave.] Theater. The Street was closed to traffic and filled with people in Goth costumes. I navigated my way through the crown and took refuge with a beer at the famous “Third Edition.” What a night! 

Thank you, Katie, for your time and effort in to your fun little story!

These Mapping Georgetown stories can be viewed in full at

We invite you to add your story to our Mapping Georgetown collection. Blank templates can be printed from the home page of or picked up from The Georgetown Public Library.

To learn more about the Mapping Georgetown project see Marilyn Butler can be reached at



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