Tombstone in New OrleansAlthough we’ve delved through the churches of New Orleans once before, the state of Louisiana is home to many other beautiful and historical religious sites. In Louisiana’s early history, when it was under French rule in 1724, the law required slave owners to provide religious education for slaves. Sundays were to be a day of rest. Louisiana did not treat slaves well, but the culture of the state is highly influenced by Africans. Here are some of the religious sites in Louisiana that have contributed to its traditions.

St. James Episcopal Church, Baton Rouge

One of the founders of this church was Margaret Taylor, wife of President Zachary Taylor. The current building was completed in 1895. It’s a Gothic Revival style building made of locally sourced pink brick and brownstone. It’s an awesome piece of architecture that is currently undergoing a major renovation.

St. Joseph’s Catholic Cathedral, Baton Rouge

This congregation was founded in 1792, and the history of this church is intertwined with the city’s. The current building’s cornerstone was laid in 1853. The church is designed in Gothic Revival style, and its architect was a priest in the church. During the Civil War, it was partially destroyed by cannon fire, but the congregation rebuilt it.

Poverty Point Mounds, Epps

Poverty Point is located in northeast Louisiana, about 15 kilometers from the Mississippi River. It’s a prehistoric site that has been deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It consists of mounds and earthworks, built between 1650 and 700 BC. Although archaeologists do not know the actual purpose of the center, it’s suspected that it might have been a ceremonial/religious complex or trading center.

Marie Laveau’s Tomb, New Orleans

Louisiana Voodoo has its roots in Roman Catholicism and African folk religions. Marie Laveau was probably the most prominent “Voodoo Queen” in 19th-century Louisiana. One of her rituals drew a crowd of more than 12,000 people. Tourists flock to her tomb in hopes that her spirit will grant their wishes.

St. Charles Borromeo Roman Catholic Church, Destrehan

This congregation was founded in 1723, making it the second-oldest ecclesiastical parish in the New Orleans district. The first chapel was built by German settlers, which was an oddity, because most Germans followed Martin Luther in the Reformation. The current church building is stunning with its white façade and Spanish tile roof. It was dedicated in 1922, but the altar stone rests on a walnut tree trunk that is reported to be more than 400 years old.

Grace Episcopal Church, St. Francisville

This congregation was organized in 1827, making this church one of the oldest Protestant churches in the state. The current building dates back to 1860, but it was heavily damaged during the war. The building was repaired, and the congregation managed to save the organ. It’s built in the Gothic Revival style.

St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, Shreveport

St. Mark’s is also built in the Gothic Revival style. Although the church was organized in 1839, the current building was finished in 1954. The designer was a local architect, but it’s a stunning example of 14th-century Gothic architecture. The bell tower was actually modelled after one in Oxford, England, but the rest of the design is original.

St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, Lafayette

St. John’s Cathedral is a beautiful example of Romanesque Revival architecture. The congregation was founded in 1821, but the current building was not completed until 1916. It is on the National Registry of Historic Places. The altar is composed of Italian marble. The church houses many beautiful oil paintings and other pieces of religious art. Outside the church, there is an oak tree that is said to be more than 500 years old. It, too, is a beautiful piece of Louisiana history.

Category: Religion

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