St. Mary's Catholic Church has a long history in New Orleans as part of the Ursuline Convent. The current building dates from 1845 when it was utilized as the Chapel of the Archbishops. It has since welcomed French, Spanish, Irish,German, Slovenian, Italian, Native American, African American and Creole populations of New Orleans for religious services. Note worthy also for its musical history, St. Mary's is home to an historic pipe organ. Originally it was builtby New Orleans based members of the Pilcher family, a dynasty of American pipeorgan builders, for the Second Ursuline Convent. Due to the organ's long history and wear-and-tear from various moves and rescue in the 20th Century, it is now in need of significant repairin order to resume its musical role in the 21st Century.
Restoration work for the pipe organ is planned by the Catholic Cultural Heritage Center and Very Rev. Philip G. Landry, aided by a committee of volunteers. However, the musical history of the Ursuline Convent also spans three centuries. In the eighteenth-century sources reveal how the nuns taught the music of the finest French and Italian composers. Samuel Snaer, a significant New Orleans African-American composer, was choir master/organist of St. Mary's Chapel in the second half of the 19th Century. St. Mary's has continued a long tradition of offering a site for weddings as well as for public concerts featuring classical music (most recently French Quarter Festival, Lyrica Baroque, Opera Creole, The Annual Lenten Recital Series and others).
The purchase of a suitable grand piano will facilitate the continuing and greater use of St. Mary's for religious and musical occasions. It is estimated that $ 150,000 is needed to restore the Pilcher organ and purchase an appropriate grand piano.
Please consider helping St. Mary’s Catholic Church continue it’s musical heritage into the 300th anniversary of New Orleans and beyond by making a donation. Thank you for your consideration.
Donations at any level are appreciated and may be sent to:
Catholic Cultural Heritage Center - 615 Pere Antoine Alley, New Orleans, LA 70116
For donation questions, call 504-503-0241
Donor Gift Levels:
- $10,000 - Instrumental Donors
- $5,000 - Pilcher Organ Partners
- $1,500 - Steinway Octaves
- $500 - Keys to the Keyboard
Musical Instruments Committee:
- Very Rev. Philip G. Landry
- Barbara Turner Windhorst, Chair
- Terry Cardwell
- Barbara B. Mollere
- Maureen Sheuermann