The St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans prides itself on being the oldest active cathedral in the United States. The cathedral architecture is attractive, but the main draw is the significant and rather dramatic history of the building.
History of St. Louis Cathedral
The cathedral formed the center of the original settlement and it is still the major landmark of the French Quarter. This is the third building to stand on this spot. A hurricane destroyed the first in 1722.
On Good Friday 1788, the bells of the second cathedral were kept silent for religious reasons rather than ringing out the alarm for a fire – which eventually went out of control and burned down more than 850 buildings, including the cathedral.
Rebuilt in 1794, the structure was remodeled and enlarged between 1845 and 1851 by J. N. B. de Pouilly. The brick used in its construction was taken from the original town cemetery and was covered with stucco to protect the mortar from dampness.
What to See at St. Louis Cathedral
It's worth going inside the cathedral to catch one of the free docent tours; the knowledgeable guides are full of fun facts about the windows and murals and how the building nearly collapsed once from water table sinkage.
Be sure to note the slope of the floor; clever architectural design somehow keeps the building upright even as it continues to sink.
Quick Facts on St. Louis Cathedral
|Names:||St. Louis Cathedral|
|Visitor and Contact Information|
|Coordinates:||29.958049° N, 90.063772° W|
|Address:||615 Pere Antoine Alley|
New Orleans, Louisiana
|Lodging:||View hotels near St. Louis Cathedral|
Map of St. Louis Cathedral
Below is a location map and aerial view of St. Louis Cathedral. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.