The Church in the Crescent:
Three Hundred Years of Catholicism in New Orleans

Tricentennial Exhibit

Open Through Fall 2020

In this three hundredth year of foundation of the city of New Orleans, we celebrate not only the history of our beloved city, but also of our Cathedral Church, the Mother Church of all the churches from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes, from the West of the Mississippi to the Rocky Mountains, and the cradle of Christianity within the vast extent of the Mississippi Valley. The Cathedral stands on the site which Bienville traced out for it and upon which the Catholic priest planted the Cross of Christ on February 9, 1718. This exhibit shares the story of the St. Louis Church from its beginnings as a small wooden church to its present day iconic edifice. With photographs, portraits, letters, and incredibly preserved artifacts, the exhibit explores the rich history of the Catholic Church’s three centuries in the Crescent City. 

Watch our documentary featured in the new exhibit at The Old Ursuline Convent Museum

Highlight History

  • History of Catholicism in New Orleans from 1718 to 2018 with special emphasis on the St. Louis Cathedral Church

  • History of the Old Ursuline Convent – Oldest building in the Mississippi Valley – built in 1745

  • History of the landing of the Ursulines Sisters in New Orleans and their contribution to New Orleans education

  • St. Mary’s Chapel built in 1845 for Archbishop Antoine Blanc

Saint Louis Cathedral 1950

highlighted documents & artifacts

  • Earliest surviving sacramental records of baptisms and marriages from the St. Louis Cathedral (French Colonials, Enslaved African Americans, Free Persons of Color, and Native Americans)

  • 1745 drawing of the St. Louis Church

  • 1788 General Census records of the Providence of New Orleans (prior to becoming a diocese)

  • Architectural and historic drawings of the church and its renovations

  • Artifacts from archeological digs at the Old Ursuline Convent and the St. Louis Cathedral Garden


Our mission is to support a vibrant spiritual life within the New Orleans Catholic community by recognizing and displaying the contributions of our multicultural and multi-ethnic past.  

Historic French Quarter  -  1100 Chartres Street

For large group tours, please contact Rosalie Serio 504-503-0361

The museum is opened for self-guided tours

Monday through Friday 10am-4pm, the last admission is at 3:15pm

Saturday 9am-3pm, the last admission is at 2:15pm.