Magnificent St. Louis Cathedral presides over Jackson Square as the oldest Catholic cathedral in the United States. Established as a place of worship in 1716, the structure was completed on this site in 1727 then destroyed by fire in 1788.
A generous benefactor, Don Andres Almonester y Roxas, enabled the church to be rebuilt and it reopened its doors in 1794. A sketch shows that it was smaller in scale than the church you see today and had three rounded towers, rather than outright spires.
The present-day church was built and enlarged over the Spanish foundations in 1851. This massive cathedral is crowned with three dramatic spires which point heavenward and bears a clock beneath its tallest spire.
Inside, an atmosphere of sanctity envelopes the visitor. At the front of the sanctuary, a gilded work entitled Sacrifice of the Lamb of God hangs over the altar; throughout the sanctuary statues of the saints peer down from their pedestals (pics # 2 & 3)
Flags representing the countries once dominant in New Orleans hang high overhead on the right side; you'll see the Papal flag, the coat of arms of the Basilica and coat of arms of the dioceses of the Metropolitan Province of New Orleans...creating a dramatic effect!
Perhaps the most recognized landmark in New Orleans, St. Louis Cathedral is the centerpiece of Jackson Square. This cathedral is unique as a focal point of an ultra-Catholic city, as its interior is somewhat sparsely decorated. But in spite of that, it does have a great deal of historical significance: Andrew Jackson supposedly laid down his sword on the altar in thanks for his victory in the battle of New Orleans. It is also the oldest continually operating cathedral in the US. Pope John Paul II also has made a visit here. The cathedral is open to visitors.
If you visit Saint Louis Cathedral in the morning, when all the rest of the French Quarter is still nursing their hangovers, you'll find the beautiful interior of the church quiet and contemplative. Your eyes will be delighted by the ornate Catholic iconography that surrounds you and your ears will welcome the silence that can be difficult to find outside. Sitting in the pews will afford you time to reflect on your experiences so far and plan those ahead.
I find Catholic churches to be great places for self reflection. There is something about the organic chaos of saints and symbols and the 1700 year history that resonates with me and deepens my thought. Not an adherent of any church, I still find great solace in those moments when I contemplate my life, give thanks and ask for guidance from the great mystery.
As the oldest continuously active cathedral in the United States, this structure was originally established as a small basilica back in 1720, under French control. After a catastrophic fire left it in ruins, it was rebuilt and re-dedicated in 1851, and remains the seat of the Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans.
Since New Orleans is largely and historically a Catholic city, there's usually a long waiting list for marriages to be performed here...a very popular place. For visitors, it's free to enter - though a small donation is appreciated. It's lovely inside.
In more sociologically relevant terms and bearing my personal witness, the St. Louis Cathedral is also the scene of many a slouched over and slowly shuffling local reveler doing penance on Ash Wednesday, as is the New Orleans custom after the culmination of all excess the previous day (Mardi Gras).
Saint Louis Cathedral, situated at the base of Jackson Park, is the focal point of The French Quarter. This very Catholic city has had a church at this location since 1727 making this the oldest continually active Roman Catholic cathedral in America. The original building burnt down in the fire of 1788. Another was built in 1794 but collapsed after a renovation project in 1849. The current building dates to 1851. The cathedral is built of wood as stone is pretty scarce in the Mississippi delta. The windows are built much smaller than other European churches in order to weather the occasional hurricane. But the overall effect is still lovely, making this a must see while you're in New Orleans.
The Cathedral is open to visitors from 7 am to 5 pm and is well worth the visit. As you step from the busy street life on Jackson to the quiet interior of the church you'll feel yourself transported to an alternate reality, one of the many you can experience in the French Quarter.
If you want to orient yourself when in the French Quarter, St. Louis Cathedral is about as good a landmark as any. Reportedly, the longest continually operating cathedral in the United States it is the crowning jewel in a catholic city brimming with churches. Set on Jackson Square, it has a very regal quality to it and the interior is welcoming in its simplistic beauty.
St Louis Cathedral is a Catholic church currently serving masses on Saturdays and Sundays,it is also the oldest continuously active cathedral in the U.S.
Originally built in 1724, and designed by a French engineer named Adrien de Pauger. The church was clearly intended to be the dominant element of New Orleans’ baroque city plan. Pauger, who died in 1726 before it was completed, requested that he be buried under the unfinished building at his request. The cathedral was later rebuilt in 1789-94 and again 1850.
Upon entering the Cathedral, you are immediately struck by the dramatic effect of its numerous murals and symbolic decorations. Primarily Renaissance in style. There are many ornately stained glass windows that depict the life of King Louis IX, King of France later cannonized into sainthood.
According to the legends of New Orleans, on certain rainy nights, in the hours before dawn, the crisp, clear voice of a man can be heard singing the "Kyrie" in the air between the St. Louis Cathedral and St. Louis Cemetery No. 1.
Saturday 6:00P vigil mass
Sunday 7:30A, 9:00A, 10:30A, and 12 noon
Sacrament of Penance Saturday 5:00-5:45 pm
I really wasn't expecting this to be as enjoyable as I found it. I'm sure you'll see the church while in New Orleans but I would recommend going inside. It is very beautiful. I would especially recommend at least a short stop for the decorated ceilings. See picture...
In the middle of July (when I went) it really was a safe-haven from the heat. Definitely take the time to stop in and "say a little prayer for you!"
It is a Catholic church. There is a gift shop here which is great for those devoted grandmothers and such. Come Sunday and catch a mass :)
St.Louis Cathedral is beautiful! We visited 2 times actually, one during the mass and another day to take pictures of the interior (like the altar, the ceiling, some paintings etc) It was very calming comparing to the bustle outside in the general area of French Quarter. It’s so easy to visit it as it is centrally located right on Jackson square which is the center of French Quarter. We spent some time checking at the windows, you can find St.Louis at some of the lower ones. There’s a small gift shop too.
The cathedral is the oldest catholic cathedral in continual use in USA, it’s there since 1718 although it was destroyed by the fire (1784) and was rebuilt 10 years later. Have in mind that it was much smaller than the one we see today though.
It’s with no doubt a landmark for the area, I loved it looking at it from many different spots in the city as it dominates the skyline in French Quarter. Even at night its beautiful to see, check how the backside of the church looks like at pic, I loved the reflection of the statue on the cathedral’s wall.
The Cathedral of St. Louis is the oldest continuously active Roman Catholic Cathedral in the U.S. (re-dedicated in 1794, following the fire of 1724).
The cathedral is the most outstanding building around the Jackson square.
Overlooking Jackson Square and flanked by the magnificient Cabildo and Presbystere, St. Louis Cathedral has become one of the city's most cherished landmarks thanks to its elegant white facade and high steeples. It's actually the third church to be built on the same site, the first (built in 1718) having been destroyed by a hurricane in 1722 and the second (built in 1725) having been destroyed by the Great Fire in 1788. The current building dates back to 1789, and it officially became a cathedral in 1793, making it one of the oldest cathedrals in the United States. Not much remains of the original structure since the cathedral had to be significantly enlarged in 1850 to meet the needs of a growing parish. Unfortunately, due to some errors made when drawing up the plans, practically everything that was part of the old building collapsed and had to be replaced. Although I can't compare it with the original church, I think it's safe to say that the architects did a remarkable job with the new cathedral, both inside and out. It's definitely worth going inside (admission is free) to see the main altar, stained glass windows, and painted ceiling.
located on jackson square saint louis cathedral is the most recognizable land mark in new orleans. the first church of st. louis was built on this site in 1718. in the great fire of 1784 the church of st. louis was destroyed. a new church was built between 1789 and 1794. in 1850 the cathedral of saint louis was extensively remodeled to the form that you see today. the saint louis cathedral also known as the basilica of st. john king of france and is one of the top historic attractions of new orleans.