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St. Louis Cathedral, New Orleans

Photo © Anthony Posey. View all images in our St. Louis Cathedral Photo Gallery.
Photo © Jim Nix.
Photo © Jimmy Smith.
Photo © Anthony Posey.
Photo © Troy & Kelli.
Photo © Shubert Ciencia.

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.


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

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

Site Information
Names:St. Louis Cathedral; St. Louis Cathedral, New Orleans
City:New Orleans
Visitor and Contact Information
Location:New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Coordinates:29.958049° N, 90.063772° W  (view on Google Maps)
Lodging:View hotels near this location
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.

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.


  1. Frommer's New Orleans 2005.

More Information

Article Info

Title:St. Louis Cathedral, New Orleans
Author:Holly Hayes
Last updated:06/19/2009
Link code:<a href="http://www.sacred-destinations.com/usa/new-orleans-st-louis-cathedral/usa/new-orleans-st-louis-cathedral">St. Louis Cathedral, New Orleans</a>