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Tricentennial Exhibit Opening - by Sue Stachan NOLA.com

Archbishop Gregory Aymond, Barbara Turner Windhorst and Rev. Philip Landry at the opening gala for "The Church in the Crescent: Three Hundred Years of Catholicism in New Orleans," at the Old Ursuline Convent Museum, Oct. 13, 2017, New Orleans, La. (Photo: Amy L. Diaz/courtesy of Archdiocese of New Orleans)

As the New Orleans tricentennial approaches in 2018, one of the first in what will be no doubt be a multitude of events kicked off on Oct. 13. The Archdiocese of New Orleans and its Catholic Cultural Heritage Center hosted the exhibition opening gala for "The Church in the Crescent: Three Hundred Years of Catholicism in New Orleans." Also hosted by Archbishop Gregory Aymond and the Very Rev. Philip G. Landry, Rector of St. Louis Cathedral, this black-tie soiree was set in the Old Ursuline Convent, the oldest building in the Mississippi River Valley, erected in 1745 as a home for nuns, orphans and young ladies. It is where the exhibition is, as well. 

With photographs, portraits, letters and artifacts, the exhibition explores the history of the Catholic Church's three centuries in the Crescent City, focusing on the story of St. Louis Church, from its beginnings as a small wooden church to St. Louis Cathedral, an iconic city landmark.

"There is no other entity in the city, no government, no business, nothing, that has been in New Orleans its entire 300 years, and for 300 years the faithful have worshipped where St. Louis Cathedral stands today," said Dr. Emilie Gagnet Leumas, archdiocesan archivist and historian, and curator of the exhibit. "Anyone visiting [the exhibition] will get a unique aspect and real history of the church and the city." 

While taking in the exhibition and the building's historical ambiance, partygoers could sample food and beverages provided by Acme Oyster House, Angelo Brocato's, Antoine's, Brennan's, Broussard's, Domenica, Irene's, Joel's Catering, Marche, Robert's Fresh Market, Sazerac, and Ye Olde College Inn.

In addition to Archbishop Aymond and Rev. Landry, attendees included Most Rev. Fernand J. Cheri, OFM, Janice and Dr. Edward Foulks, Sr. Beth Fitzpatrick, O.Carm, Sr. Mary Ellen Wheelahan, O. Carm, Ann and Dr. Tony Fuselier, Ann and Gordon Stevens, Doris and John Bruno, Ann and Greg Hoffman, Rocio Mora, Allison Jeandron, Greg Domingue, Jesse Hartley, Rev. Rodney Bourg, Fr. Jacob Dumont, LC, Christin and Chris Merrifield, M Sharon and Mark Rodi, Jane Nalty, Kieran and Ralph Aucoin, Fr. Colm Cahill, Fr. Travis Clark, Rev. Msgr. Frank Giroir, Laura and Smestad, Sr. Marjorie Hebert, Erin and John Bolles, Dickie Brennan, Christine and Price LeBlanc, Mike and Hope and Mike Read with daughter Helen Young, Susan and Doug Johnson, and Gerry Schoen.

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Rev. Rodney Bourg, Ann Fuselier, Dr. Tony Fuselier and Archbishop Alfred Hughes at the opening gala for "The Church in the Crescent: Three Hundred Years of Catholicism in New Orleans," at the Old Ursuline Convent Museum, Oct. 13, 2017, New Orleans, La. (Photo: Amy L. Diaz/courtesy of Archdiocese of New Orleans)

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