The Church in the Crescent: 300 Years of Catholicism in New Orleans

This tricentennial celebration explores the founding of New Orleans as well as the Cathedral Church—the “Mother Church” for all churches spanning the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes. The stunning landmark Cathedral is on the same space where a priest planted the Cross of Christ in 1718. Explore the exhibit that describes the St. Louis Church story from its humble beginnings as a small wooden church to the impressive edifice it’s become today.

Visitors are greeted with letters, preserved artifacts, portraits, photographs, and much more as an introduction to three centuries of Catholicism in the Crescent City. How has the church grown and changed since 1718? Learn about the history of Old Ursuline Convent. It’s the oldest Mississippi Valley building with roots dating to 1745.


A Look Back in Time


Explore the beginning of St. Mary’s Chapel, erected in 1845 for Archbishop Antoine Blanc. From early sacramental baptism and marriage records circa the French Colonial era to documents describing enslaved Blacks to Native Americans and Free Persons of Colors, the rich and varied history of New Orleans is unraveled in this exhibition.


See the drawing of the St. Louis Church from 1745, the 1788 General Census records that highlight the city before it became a diocese, and get a peek at historic drawings of church renovations. Visit 1100 Chartres Street and get whisked back in time. It’s the perfect outing for history buffs, New Orleans lovers, and anyone looking for a unique experience.