|Interior, St. Mary's Assumption Church
1876, S. T. Blessing, photographer
|Images of Old New Orleans Churches:
St. Mary's Assumption Catholic Church
|St. Mary's Assumption Church was the first Catholic Church for Germans in the state of Louisiana. Initially renting meeting space in Kaiser's Hall in 1842, a temporary frame church was constructed on Josephine Street shortly thereafter. In 1847, the parish was turned over to the Redemptorists and, in 1858, the cornerstone was laid for the present building on Constance Street.
In the 1990's, a group of parishioners located the original frame building of St. Mary's, constructed in 1844. It had been rebuilt as a mortuary chapel in St. Joseph's Cemetery on Washington Avenue. Permission was obtained and the little church was dismantled, brought back to its original parish and re-assembled on Jackson Avenue. St. Mary's Chapel offered its first service in 1997, as part of the Sesquicentennial Celebration of the Redemptorist Parish.
Father Francis X. Seelos served St. Mary's Assumption Church during the time of the yellow fever epidemics. Because of this danger, the Redemptorists only sent volunteers to serve in the city. From St. Mary's History: "Fr. Seelos labored cheerfully and tirelessly in St. Mary's Church...visiting the sick, bringing them comfort and consolation, and some believe, obtaining for them God's healing with his powerful prayers. He died of yellow fever in 1867." The Seelos Museum in St. Mary's Assumption Church contains relics and memorabilia of Fr. Seelos.