|FIELD TRIP: Sacred Spaces. Our first stop is the Old Ursuline Convent in the French Quarter, oldest building in the Mississippi Valley and the oldest example of French colonial architecture. The first 12 Ursulines arrived here from France in 1727, known as “casket girls” for the wooden cases containing their possessions.|
Cathedral-Basilica of Saint Louis, King of France: This grand title identifies the oldest Catholic cathedral in continual use in the U.S. -- established as a parish in 1720 -- and one of the city’s most notable landmarks, a cultural and architectural treasure.
Touro Synagogue is named for Judah Touro, a wealthy merchant-trader and son of Isaac Touro who founded America’s oldest synagogue in Newport, RI. Touro in New Orleans is the oldest Jewish house of worship outside the original 13 colonies, dating back to the 1820s.
St. Mary’s Assumption Church, the first German Catholic Church in Louisiana, houses the National Shrine of Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos, beatified in 2000. Fr. Seelos came to New Orleans in 1866, but the very next year contracted yellow fever and died. During that short time, he took on the hardest tasks and did the most penance, with miracles attributed to his intercession both during his life and after his death.
The Old Mortuary Chapel is the city’s oldest original church still standing, built as a place to bury victims of the annual Yellow Fever season (July-December), epidemic in New Orleans through much of the 19th Century. It is now the official chapel of the New Orleans Police and Fire Departments.