St. Patrick Church 1845 is an engraving of the first “Irish” parish church in New Orleans.
St. Patrick Church 1845
From Norman’s New Orleans and Environs, this engraving of St. Patrick Church 1845 shows the church at 724 Camp Street five years after its completion. Bishop Leo-Raymond de Neckere approved the creation of the parish in 1833. The Faubourg Ste. Marie neighborhood raised funds to build a proper church almost immediately. St. Patrick Church 1845 rivaled St. Louis Cathedral.
NEW ORLEANS AND ENVIRONS:
CONTAINING A BRIEF HISTORICAL SKETCH OF THE
TERRITORY AND STATE OF LOUISIANA,
CITY OF NEW ORLEANS,
FROM THE EARLIEST PERIOD TO THE PRESENT TIME:
A COMPLETE GUIDE
TO ALL SUBJECTS OF GENERAL INTEREST IN THE SOUTHERN METROPOLIS;
CORRECT AND IMPROVED PLAN OF THE CITY, PICTORIAL ILLUSTRATIONS OF PUBLIC BUILDINGS, ETC.
B.M. Norman authored this guide. Here’s his entry for St. Patrick’s.
ST. PATRICK’S CHURCH
Is situated in Camp street, near Lafayette square. The design is a triumph worthy of the genius of Gothic architecture, whether the dimensions, or the splendor of the structure be considered.
The measurement is 93 feet by 164 on the ground; and from the side walk to the summit of the tower, 190. The style is taken from the famous York Minster Cathedral, and executed agreeably to the designs of Messrs. Dakin & Dakin, which were adopted by the trustees of the church. It surpasses every attempt at a similar order on this side of the Atlantic, and when completed, may proudly challenge comparison with any modern parochial edifice in Europe. It cost about $100,000.
So, the Creoles focused on St. Louis Cathedral, hearing Mass in French, and the Anglo-Irish Catholics used St. Patrick Church 1845, with English services. (Note that most of the Mass was in Latin at both locations.) When the cathedral closed for renovations in 1849-1851, the bishop shifted his seat to St. Patrick’s as pro-cathedral.
Irish in New Orleans
The Irish community in New Orleans grew in the 1820s. This period pre-dates the Great Famine. Many British merchant ship captains operated from Liverpool to New Orleans. They brought raw materials, cotton, indigo, and tobacco, from America back to Britain. To get back to American ports, the captains loaded their ships with stones, granite, slate, etc. This ballast stabilized the ships for the crossing. As more Irish desired passage to America, the ship captains were all for ballast that walked on and off their ships without assistance.
The Irish settled near the riverfront, on the “American” side of Canal Street. The community continued to grew in the 1840s. By the 1850s, a second “Irish” parish developed further upriver. St. Alphonsus Liguori Parish focused the community in the “Irish Channel” neighborhood.
St. Patrick’s today
St. Patrick Church 1845 continues its mission in the Central Business District. While Covid-19 restricts parish activities, the church plans to resume full service soon.