Tricentennial Celebrations

  Celebrating 300 Years of Catholicism in New Orleans 

As the City of New Orleans prepares to celebration its Tricentennial the local Catholic Church is celebrating its contributions and legacy in a city where the histories of church and state cannot be separated. As the city was founded in 1718, New Orleans became the cradle of Catholicism in what would become the United States of America. For 300 years the Catholic Church has witnessed the Gospel in its ministry to the people of New Orleans in word and in deed. Today, despite the challenges the city and church have faced for three centuries, the Catholic Church remains steadfast in her commitment to bring the love of God to New Orleans. As we celebrate our history and look forward to the future, the Archdiocese of New Orleans will observe this Tricentennial with a series of special events and offerings.

Tricentennial Hymn Competition - look for the formal announcement of the winner December 1

A winner of the Tricentennial Hymn Competition has been selected. Check back on December 1 for the official announcement.

The Church in the Crescent: 300 Years of Catholicism in New Orleans - opening now through 2018

A new exhibit at the Old Ursuline Convent Museum will focus on the history of St. Louis Cathedral from small wooden chapel to Minor Basilica, it will celebrate the first Catholic Church in the city and share the history of the seat of the Archdiocese of New Orleans. 

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 including:

  • 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 
  • 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 

Tricentennial Mass - Sunday, January 7, 2018

As the city begins the observance of the Tricentennial Year, St. Louis Cathedral will host the opening Mass at 11 am on January 7, 2018. Faith leaders as well as civic and community officials are expected to attend.

Tricentennial Lecture Series - Spring and Fall 2018

The Archdiocese of New Orleans will host a series of lectures focusing on Catholicism's rich history in the City of New Orleans. From the saints that have walked the streets ministering to the people to the iconic buildings and monuments that grace the skylines and avenues to the cultural influences that make Catholicsim truly universal, the archdiocse has brought together speakers from varying backgrounds and experiences to share their knowledge and witness their faith in a way that is uniquely Catholic New Orleans.

All lectures will take place at Schulte Hall of Notre Dame Seminary and will being with a social at 6:30 pm followed by the presentation at 7 pm. The dates for the lectures are:

Tuesday, January 16, 2018; Wednesday, February 28, 2018; Friday, September 7, 2018; and Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Tricentennial Interfaith Prayer Service - Tuesday, April 17, 2018 at 7 pm

Once again, St. Louis Cathedral will host civic, community and faith leaders to celebrate the rich history and diversity of New Orleans by bringing together peoples of different religious traditions. The service will celebrate the faith traditions Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Eastern peoples as well as those of the indigenous peoples of Louisiana.

A Celebration of Faith - Transforming the World - Witnessing to Jesus

Archbishop Gregory Aymond is calling the people of the local Catholic Church together at Xavier University of Louisiana for a day of celebration, sharing and learning to observe the Tricentennial Year for the local Catholic Church. John L. Allen, Jr. editor at Crux Now online will headline the event which will include Mass, breakout sessions and fellowship opportunities. More info and registration TBA. Save the date: Nov 3, 2018

To stay up-to-date on all NOLACatholic Tricentennial Celebrations, "like" us on Facebook, follow us at @ArchdioceseofNO on Twitter and Instagram, and use #NOLACatholic300 to find listings, photos and other info online. 

To connect to the City of New Orleans' official Tricentennial website, go to