Vacations - Lgood

January 21, 2012

An interior shot of the St. Louis Catherdral overlooking Jackson Square in New Orleans. The Cathedral-Basilica of St. Louis King of France is the oldest Catholic cathedral in continual use in the United States. Since 1727 the citizens of New Orleans have worshipped at churches on this same site. In 1788 a devasting fire occured and burned the original church to the ground. The new church was completed in 1794. In 1844, the Baroness Pontalba (famous for the Pontalba Apartments - the first in America) convinced the Council for the First Municipality a project to construct a two-story arcaded facade in front of the old buildings bordering both sides of the Place d'Armes, buildings she had inherited from her father, Don Andres Almonester. Two years later, this remarkable woman again submitted and had approved by the Council elaborate plans, prepared under her personal supervision, which called for remodeling her buildings with arcades similar to those of the Cabildo and Presbytere, and also for extensive improvements to the square itself, to create a bit of Paris for her native city. By 1849, the Cathedral was pretty much what you see today.

It has been the scene of many historic events: On January 8, 1840, Andrew Jackson returned to the scene of his triumph against the British twenty-five years earlier. He went to the St. Louis Cathedral where an oration was given in his honor. After this ceremony, he conducted a military review in the Place d'Armes. After a week of continual entertainment, Jackson returned to the Plac d'Armes on January 14 to lay the cornerstone of the monument which the square today. And then in December, 1847, of a hero of the Mexican War, Zachary Taylor, whose victory at Monterey would send him to the White House. After the service, the crowds cheered with joy as the old General rode his battle horse Old Whitey, through the city to the St. Charles Hotel.

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I've been inside this cathedral many times over the years, and I'm never ceased to be amazed by it's simple beauty.



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