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Exploring Historic Churches in New Orleans at Christmas Time

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Historic Churches in New Orleans

The city of New Orleans, with its rich culture and historical allure, takes on an even more enchanting ambiance as the Christmas season unfolds. Amidst the glow of festive lights and the harmonious melodies of carolers, the Crescent City’s iconic churches stand out as enduring symbols of faith and tradition. Join us in this blog post as we delve into the stories of three historic churches in New Orleans — Christ Church Cathedral, St. Augustine Church, and St. Louis Cathedral — each infused with its own distinctive history and special Christmas events.

3. Christ Church Cathedral

Historic Churches in New Orleans Christ Church Cathedral interior
Photographer: Eric Plutz

Christ Church Cathedral, located just a block away from the historic Lafayette Cemetery in the Garden District, is a gem among New Orleans’ historic landmarks. Founded in the early 19th century, this Episcopal church boasts stunning Gothic Revival architecture, featuring pointed arches and intricate stained-glass windows. During Christmas in New Orleans, the cathedral becomes a haven of worship and festivity for members and visitors alike.

About Christ Church Cathedral:

  • Christ Church Cathedral is the oldest Episcopal congregation in the Deep South. The church was established in 1805, just two years after the historic Louisiana Purchase.
  • The original church building was completed in 1816; the current and fourth church building was completed in 1886.

Christmas Services and Events:

  • Holy Eucharist service at 5:00pm on Christmas Eve provides a serene and reflective experience. 
  • Christmas Day Morning Prayer will take place both at the chapel and streamed live at 7:30am, with Holy Eucharist service later on at 12:15pm.

2. St. Augustine Church

Interior of St. Augustine Church in New Orleans
Source: neworleans.com

Situated in the Treme neighborhood, St. Augustine Church holds a significant place in New Orleans’ history. Founded in 1841, this Catholic church is known for its vibrant community and spiritual influence on the city’s African American population.

About St. Augustine Church:

  • Saint Augustine Church was founded by Catholic free people of color and hosted one of the most racially diverse congregations of its time upon opening. 
  • St. Augustine is the oldest African American Catholic parish in Louisiana. 
  • The church played a crucial role in the local Civil Rights Movement, with its leaders advocating for social justice. 

Christmas Services and Events:

  • St. Augustine Church will host a church cleanup volunteer event starting at 9am on Saturday, December 16th, embodying the spirit of generosity and service. 
  • Christmas Eve mass is a celebrated tradition, featuring soulful choir performances and a jubilant congregation. Service will take place from 10:00am-12:00pm.

1. St. Louis Cathedral

Dominating Jackson Square and perhaps the most iconic structure in the New Orleans skyline, St. Louis Cathedral is a visual masterpiece and a symbol of the city’s enduring faith. This iconic Catholic cathedral, the mother church of the Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans, has displayed remarkable resilience over its centuries-long history.

About St. Louis Cathedral:

  • The original St. Louis Cathedral was built in 1727, making it one of the oldest continuously active Roman Catholic cathedrals in the United States. 
  • The Great New Orleans Fire on March 21, 1788, claimed the original cathedral structure and several neighboring buildings. 
  • The current structure, completed in 1850, showcases a blend of French and Spanish Colonial architecture.

Christmas Services and Events:

  • The St. Louis Cathedral Choir Christmas Concert will take place on Sunday, Dec. 17th at 5:30pm. 
  • St. Louis Cathedral will serve as the backdrop for the annual Caroling in Jackson Square event, also taking place on Sunday Dec. 17th at 7:00pm, which gathers the New Orleans community for a night of song and merriment. 
  • On Christmas Eve, Vigil will be held at 5pm. Doors open for Midnight Mass at 11:15pm, and service begins at 12am. Christmas Day services will take place at 9am and 11am, respectively.

See More Historic Charm with French Quarter Walking Tours

As we conclude our exploration of historic churches in New Orleans, consider extending your journey through the city’s rich history by joining one of our captivating French Quarter walking tours this holiday season! Uncover the hidden gems, architectural marvels, and intriguing tales that make New Orleans truly unique.

Whether you’ve admired the Gothic beauty of Christ Church Cathedral, surrounded yourself in the cultural heritage of St. Augustine Church, or stood in awe of the grandeur of St. Louis Cathedral, the French Quarter has more wonders to unveil. Embrace the spirit of the season as you meander through the cobbled streets and discover the city’s charm anew. This Christmas in New Orleans, make memories that blend the magic of the holidays with the captivating history of the city on a French Quarter walking tour. Your next adventure awaits!

New Orleans Legendary Walking Tours

New Orleans Legendary Walking Tours
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