Destrehan, LA

The history of the St. Charles Borromeo Church

Curtis Macken

DESTREHAN, LA - St. Charles Borromeo is the oldest German church in the South. The cemetery has tombs from the 16th century, including the Destrehan Family Tomb. In 1772, a little chapel near the river bank. The chapel was built by the first German settlers as a symbol of their faith and being grateful for their arrival at the land. The Little Red Church then replaced the chapel in 1860 and became a landmark for steamboat pilots who cruised the Mississippi River.

The school and convent were built later in 1929, and ever since the building has been expanded and added with more facilities. A childhood development center with eight classes for kids aged three to kindergarten was completed in 1994.

In 1978, the church was completed with pews that can accommodate up to 500 worshipers and an altar. In front of the church, an asphalt parking lot, lighting, and landscaping were added as well. The Adoration Chapel began on December 10, 1995, as the parishioners of St. Charles Borromeo committed to the Lord. Hundreds of congregations come every week to praise God at any time.

In 1997, the meeting and auditorium rooms were renovated. More office spaces were added as well. Two years later, in 1999 a two-story building for the classroom was constructed to provide and improve the facilities for the students. The education center, which is dedicated to Monsignor John N. Phuc was inaugurated on May 22, 2005.

A big renovation of the church was started in 2001. The church’s interior is painted with different colors, the ceiling tiles are replaced with the brighter ones, and replacing the old, broken pews.

St. Charles Borromeo provides a positive, faith nurturing environment for all people to grow through the ministries of spirituality, community, education, and administration to be an example of Word by God.

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