New Orleans, LA

Visit The Oldest Catholic Cathedral in the US, New Orleans' St. Louis Cathedral

Pierre St-Jean

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St. Louis Cathedral - Cathedral-Basilica of St. Louis King of France/Facebook.com

NEW ORLEANS, LA – St. Louis Cathedral is one of the most-known landmarks in New Orleans. It has been featured in numerous movies, TV shows, and other visual presentations. With a history dated back to 1727, it is now the oldest cathedral with continuous use in the United States. Located facing Jackson Square, it towers above the historic Cabildo and Presbytere surrounding it. It is one of the tallest and most imposing structures in the French Quarter.

In 1727, the church was built and dedicated to Louis IX, who was then sainted by the King of France. It is possibly the first building in New Orleans with “brick between posts” construction, a method used in Louisiana until the mid-nineteenth century. The engineer, Adrien de Pauger, unfortunately, died before the building was finished. He requested to be buried within the unfinished building, and his request was granted.

Decades the church stood, it was the witness of the children of the colonists and the slaves being baptized, the marriage of people from different classes, and it also became the burial rites of Holy Mother Church.

An unfortunate event occurred when the drapes of an altar caught fire from a candle. It burned down the small Church of St. Louis, the priests’ residence, and the Casa Principal. The new church building was finally completed few years in December of 1794. In 1793, the diocese of Louisiana and the Floridas was created by Pope Pius VI, with Don Luis Ignacio Maria de Pefialver y Cardenas of Havana appointed as the first bishop.

The long history of the cathedral continues in hundreds of years with many improvements. One of the most notable reconstructions was completed in the 1850s, as the previous church was seen as unfit to serve the growing number of people in New Orleans. This structure eventually became the cathedral that we know today.

St. Louis Cathedral is known for its perfectly symmetrical façade that opens to a pedestrians-only plaza. It is a favorite subject for painters, filmmakers, and photographers. The view from Jackson Square with the statue of Andrew Jackson in the frame is probably the picture most closely associated with New Orleans.

Although the cathedral is a Catholic house of worship, the history and the grandeur of St. Louis Cathedral attracts visitor of various faiths and backgrounds. It is open for self-guided tours whenever there is no mass or other function such as a wedding or funeral. Visitors are also able to purchase religious items in the church’s gift shop, with all sales going to the maintenance of the cathedral.

No visit to New Orleans is complete without visiting St. Louis Cathedral, also known as Cathedral-Basilica of Saint Louis Kind of France. Stay connected with the church even though you are miles away by following the Facebook and Instagram page.

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New Orleans, LA
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