Thespectacular St. Louis Cathedral is one of the tallest buildings in the French Quarterand is known far and wide as a symbol of New Orleans.
The 18th-centurychurch provides a picturesque backdrop to bustling Jackson Square. Spot itfrom across the square on the River Walk. Rest here after visiting the museumexhibits at the Cabildo, the former townhall, adjacent to the cathedral. This is a rewarding stop for anyone interestedin history, architecture, or an inspiring place of worship.
St. Louis Cathedralis the oldest continually active Roman Catholic Church in the United States. Itwas completed in 1727 and dedicated to King Louis IX, the devout French kingwho was canonized shortly after his death. The original building burned down inthe late 1700s, after which many years of rebuilding and remodeling took place.The structure you see today was completed in 1850.
Theinterior of the cathedral is open to visitors if there’s no service, funeral orwedding in progress. Pick up a brochure from the entrance for a small donationand take a self-guided tour. Docent-led tours are also available, but there’sno regular schedule.
Asyou walk through the church, listen out to the organ playing and admire themany works of art. The stained-glass windows, telling the story of St. Louis,are remarkable and well preserved, as is the ornate, rococo-style altar at thefront of the church. Pay a visit to the church’s small gift store, which sellssouvenirs and religious items. All proceeds go toward maintenance.
Stop to see thestreet performers, tarot card readers and artists’ displays on the plazadirectly outside the cathedral.
Take a walk to nearbyRoyal Street for a lesser-known view from behind the cathedral, where you cansee the impressive marble statue of Christ with arms outstretched.
Theclosest public transport to the cathedral is the streetcar running along theriverbank. Parking in New Orleans can be a challenge there are metered spaceson the street and public parking lots in the French Quarter, but alwaysremember to check the hourly rate.