Cultural Night at St. Louis Cathedral

Cultural night on Tuesday, July 19, 2016, will be a night of New Orleans music in the beautiful St. Louis Cathedral in the Heart of the French Quarter. You will hear a selection of the music that makes New Orleans so famous. The Cathedral is a 7-block walk from the Marriott Hotel.

There can hardly be a more iconic view of New Orleans that that of the St. Louis Cathedral with its three steeples reaching heavenward, facing beautiful Jackson Square and flanked by the equally historic Cabildo on one side and the Presbytrye on the other. The inside of the Cathedral is just as beautiful.

Officially called the Cathedral-Basilica of St. Louis King of France, it is the oldest Catholic cathedral in continual use in the United States.

As early as 1728, a small wooden church originally stood where the cathedral now stands. A larger church, built by the French engineer, Adrien De Pauger, was completed in 1727. At that time it was called the Church of St. Louis. On March 21, 1788, sixty years after its completion, a raging fire destroyed the church and many other buildings. Although the cornerstone of the new church was laid in 1789, the new church was not completed until 1794. The new church was dedicated as a Cathedral and had its first service on Christmas Eve 1794. In 1819, the City Council approved the public expense of buying a clock and the church bell. The New Orleans clockmaker, Jean Delachaux bought a bell and clock in Paris and installed them in the middle tower, which was built to accommodate them, also at public expense. The bell was baptized by the name of Victoire, the name embossed on it by the French founder. This same bell still rings out the hours.

By 1849, the cathedral was showing structural damage and it had become too small for its growing congregation. Besides, it was felt that its scale was much too small for the magnificent buildings around it. Although the original plan was to restore and enlarge the church, it soon became evident that most of the walls of the structure needed to be demolished, which caused the collapse of the central tower. The church was rebuilt again in 1851 to its current form.

This historic building has seen its share of calamities, but has always managed to survive. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina tore a hole in the roof, causing severe water damage to the Holtkamp pipe organ. The organ was restored and reinstalled in 2008.